So let's talk about the deliberately gender-vague names used by many MM fiction authors on the cover. Some authors, like Laura Baumbach, Ally Blue, Emily Veinglory, Anne Cain, and Barbara Sheridan, aren't hiding the fact that they are female but there are many more authors who use deliberately vague pen names like TA Chase, AM Riley, and KA Mitchell. Some names on the cover, like Rowan McBride and Sean Michael, could go either way when it comes to the gender of the author.
Oh, I know why an author will opt for a pseudonym. But why a masculine pseudonym? My question for authors is: does having a masculine pseudonym or one that allows the reader to believe that the author is a man have any effect on sales of the MM stories? If not, why does an author choose a masculine/vaguely masculine pseudonym instead of an obviously feminine one? To avoid uncomfortable questions from readers? Publisher policy? A belief that a male pseudonym lends more credibility to the male romance in the story? Or, conversely, why don't you use a masculine pseudonym?
I thought it is open secret that nearly all the MM fiction authors are women even if the pseudonym used is Big Hairy Tom, but I still come across readers on a weekly basis who express surprise when they realize that their favorite MM fiction author is actually a woman. I had had a few opportunities to ask them whether these readers feel "betrayed" in any way when they realize that the author is female, but so far none of the few readers whom I talked to felt this way. Any readers out there who will feel betrayed if they realize that a woman is writing those love scenes? Will this realization somehow make the romance feel less believable?
I wonder just how much effect does the power of perception have on a reader's enjoyment of MM stories.