A fantasy trilogy written by M.K. Presson

Author’s Mugshots

If you’re a new author out there holding your baby manuscript in your hands as it cries for recognition, you’ve more than likely come across this one important question in your search to be noticed: Do I include an author photo on the back cover or not? If you haven’t yet pondered this quandary, then sit back and let me dispense some useful (or useless) advice.

First off, what kind of book did you spend hours slaving over a keyboard writing? if it’s a weight loss book, then you probably want your mugshot to say “Hey look-it! If I can loose a small panda in weight, so can you!” It’s an excellent marketing tool to perk up your readers to your ideas and let them see the results they could achieve from following your carefully devised diet plan. If you’re a chef, then the answer to showing off your happy smile over a skillet of sauteed veggies is a a lip-smackin’ mmmm-good. You’ll notice those two examples fall into the ‘self-help’ category.

If you’re like me, and you wrote an epic fantasy novel, more than likely the answer to this burning question is not as clear as an 80’s crystal plastic phone. Fantasy and Science Fiction novels are predominately populated by male authors –usually middle-aged, (although Christopher Paulini broke that vicious circle with “Eragon.” –and yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’ll write a post discussing the Paulini topic later.) The rare women such as Ann McCaffery, Tanya Huff, and J.K. Rowling stamped their permanent signitures in the Fiction Club for Men sign-in book. Because of this genre’s history, my mentor advised me to keep my visage away from my first novel and save it for the 2nd one. By that time, my reader will (hopefully) be hooked on the story enough to not care what M.K. Presson looks like, or if he/she has boobs or moobs.

Statistically, guys are less likely to pick up an epic fantasy written by a woman. It’s probably because they think girls don’t know how to write battle scenes, and will fill every page with hearts and romantic beach scenes staring Fabio’s gorgeous younger look-alike–like a harlequin novel. Let me be the first to call that assumption a great big pile of gantu stank. Not only can women write amazingly vivid battle scenes, but we also know how to write of wounded men missing limbs, or women lamenting over their dead husbands, and of children becoming orphans when their father is impaled by the enemy’s halberd and left to rot in a steaming pool of his own squishy eviscerated innards.

Nastyness aside, if you decide you want to put your photo on the cover of your book, it’s your choice. If you throw caution to the wind, make sure your photo is professional and matches the tone of your story. If you’re more paranoid or want to keep your story androgynous, then just make sure your bio on the back lets your readers know you’re serious. Either way, I wish you the best of luck, whether I see your smiling face staring back from a bookshelf or not.

Stay imaginative, my friends.


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