Self-Publishing Supervillain

So Now I'm Considering a Pen Name

Submitted by C B Wright on

I like my name.

My full name is Christopher Brennan Wright. It's a good name. I've had it for 41 years and it works well for me. My wife likes the name. My friends like the name. All in all it's served me well.

That said, it's not a very distinctive name. There are currently no less than four people named "Chris" in my current job. We're all in two rows of cubes and whenever anyone calls out "Chris" we all stand up like prairie dogs, trying to figure out which one of us is being called. There's a guy on the floor above me named "Chris Wright," and I occasionally get his mail.

And this job isn't an outlier. I run into other guys named Chris at work all the time.

But I like my name. So when I started Help Desk back in '96 I signed it "Christopher B. Wright." When I send professional emails I sign them "Christopher B. Wright." When I published Pay Me, Bug!, I was going to put "Christopher B. Wright" under the title... but for some reason Bowker (the organization that lets you buy and assign ISBNs) doesn't let you use a middle name on its ISBN form. So... I just signed it "Christopher Wright" instead.

All of bigger online eBook publishing platforms -- Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords -- give you two fields for your name, First Name and Last Name (and some have a drop-down field for an honorific). So when I created those accounts, I used the name "Christopher Wright." Because, again, I like my name.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at the entry for Pay Me, Bug! on the Sony eBook store and saw in the bio that I wrote my first book while I was an aerial reconnaissance photographer for the Royal Air Force, serving mostly in Mali and Germany.

... looks like I got someone else's email again.

I Finally Found a Compelling Argument against Self-Publishing

Submitted by C B Wright on

In the tumultuous, vicious, and often petty warring between the Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing factions, I have, for the most part, managed to stay out of the back-and-forth. I self publish, so I'm part of that camp by default, but I haven't been interested in the overall war, and the criticisms levied against self-publishing have never really stung.

But today I finally found one that stings. Today I have to say "yes, well, you have a point there." I have found the argument I cannot refute... and I'm about to tell you what it is.

I'm Not Here To Pick A Fight

Submitted by C B Wright on

Updated, 2014: I'm putting this on the front page for a while because the Big Fight has returned. Comments for this post were turned off long, long ago to stop blogspam, but if you want to yell at me feel free to do so in the forums.

I’m not here to pick a fight, but it seems like a lot of self-publishers are.

Tactically, it makes sense. If you cast yourself in the role of the plucky underdog struggling against the oppressive overlords, well, that’s a good story. People love that kind of narrative, and if people like your narrative, they’ll look at you more closely. When you’re starting out, alone, unknown, ignored by humanity at large, anything you can possibly think of that will get the attention of anyone around you seems like a brilliant idea worth pursuing.

So taking part of a struggle, the new movement versus the old world order, huddling masses rising up against The Man… yeah, that has a poetry and sheen that will appeal to anyone entering into a new, scary chapter in life.

Success Requires Stupidity

Submitted by C B Wright on

OK, bear with me on this one.

For the last few days I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather—a cold, a sore throat, nothing particularly debilitating but enough of an impediment to make my work day miserable.

In a somewhat unrelated fact, I’ve needed to clean the basement for months. A while back one of my dogs, Pandora, died—she was a very, very old dog, and at one point near the end she stopped trying to make the effort to go outside when she needed to… well… go. The basement became her toilet, and I cleaned up after her as best I could, but there was… residue. And the basement has needed scrubbing ever since.

Yes, I know, that’s just lovely. But it’ll all tie together.

(Why I Have Problems With) Writing Women Well

Submitted by C B Wright on

A much earlier, less complete version of this essay can be found on my Google+ account, from about a year back. What’s funny is that the essay back then had pretty much the same opening—DC Comics manages to remain relevant. Poor bastards.

DC Comics has become something of a punching bag—deservedly so, in my opinion—because people have noticed that the way women are, on the whole, being portrayed in the DC Universe is… um… less than flattering to women in the real world. It’s as if the guys running DC hit their mid-life crisis at exactly the same time, and instead of buying a sports car and trying to pretend they’re 201 they figured it would be easier to make the entire outlook of the DC Universe resemble that of a 13 year old boy going through a particularly rough patch of puberty.

  • 1. This is what is known as “the sensible approach.”