S. E. Hinton published The Outsiders in 1967. On the advice of her publisher, she used her initials instead of her full name, Susan Eloise, to forestall the inevitable criticism that female writers cannot write convincingly from the perspective of males. After it became known that S. E. Hinton was female, she continued to use S. E. Hinton as her professional name to draw a line between her public and private lives. Hinton has said in interviews and on her website that she values her privacy, and by publishing as "S. E." she can maintain separate identities as a public writer and private citizen.
Hinton's publisher in 1967 perhaps continued the nineteenth-century tradition of female writers masking their gender, apparently as a way to broaden their readership. J. K. Rowling's publisher is said to have given her the same advice upon publishing the Harry Potter novels. Mary Ann Evans published under the name George Eliot. Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin wrote under the name George Sand. Emily Brontë published as Ellis Bell, Charlotte Brontë as Currer Bell, and Anne Brontë as Acton Bell.