Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Pen Names - A Brief History

Yesterday I started to add some of my other work to the site. I also have quite a few titles published under two different names - Fergie Boy and Tom Farrell - so I thought I'd take a few minutes to explain.
I drifted into writing rather than set out with a clear goal of being Jack Brighton, author of gay BDSM erotica. But I always had the urge to write a book, and having quit the London rat rate, I had the time to try my hand. When I started, I found that there were plenty of ideas in my head, but the writing was pretty poor. Two books were produced that not suprisingly were rejected by publishers.
It was during this rejection process that I was approached by a friend of a friend who was setting up an erotica website with a business partner. They wanted a gay section and I wrote some short stories that were so well recieved that they decided to make a dedicated site for my work. Very ambitious, but it was their money, not mine. All I had to do was produce some more stories. The site was named 'Gay Boy Books' and Fergie Boy was born.
Fergie Boy
I do regret that name now - but hey - too late to change it.
I produced enough work so that Gay Boy Books could be launched, but not surprisingly it fell flat on its face. Even the main erotica sites are suffering now under competition from the big ebook retailers, so I don't think it ever stood a chance.
What was interesting however from my point of view, was that as a marketing ploy, some of my work was offered to the two main UK erotica sites, and it sold pretty well. One book in particular - 'Keep It in the Family' made a big impression. On one site -
Adultebookshop - it quickly became the all time gay best seller, and still hold that position today, as you can see if you hit the link. So I decided to go independant and set up my own self-publishing company, which eventually was named 'Firm Hand Books'. Over the following year I produced quite a number of titles as Fergie Boy. But I felt limited in the genre and wanted to explore new themes. I wanted to try a darker side where my imagination could really run riot. Rather than confuse the readership, I created a new persona, and that's when Jack Brighton came along!

Jack BrightonJack went a bit wild to begin with... '007 - A Licence to Bondage' was the first book I penned under that name. It was littered with mistakes, and wasn't exactly an original story line (young lad lured by the boss he adores to audition to become his slave) but it had some good scenes, and these somehow saved it and found me some new readers.
Note the book cover! Happy days when I didn't worry about censorship. I was only releasing to erotica sites, so they wanted it strong for this genre. The material in the book reflected this, and the same applied to the subsequent books - 'The Wild Side' being a case in point.
But to really sell books you have to get onto the main retail sites, so that book cover got replaced, and some of the writing toned down. You have to do this, otherwise the books don't get accepted. It's a fact of life, and as I now saw the possibility of actually making a living out of my work, I had to toe the line.
When I did actually release my catalogue of work (Fergie Boy and Jack Brighton) onto Amazon and such like, it became clear which of the two had the greater following... Mr. Brighton of course. That's when I decided to put all my focus into this genre, and only wrote under that name. After a couple of years, I wanted to try something different. Going back to Fergie Boy somehow seemed wrong, so I elected for a new pen name and a new start. This was Tom Farrell.

Tom Farrell
Okay! Okay! So Tom's best selling book is 'B for Bondage' which sounds like a Jack Brighton book, and in a way it is - it's still me doing the writing. But B for Bondage came after a couple of non-BDSM books: 'Dr. Yes!' and 'Deeper'. The difference is in the mind set, and also the literary style. Almost all the Jack Brighton books up to this point had been writen in the third person, taking a birds eye view of the story. I decided with Tom to either write in the first person, or if in the third, then do so from one person's perspective. It's much more personal and you can get into really get into the mind of the main character. The stories were kept quite simple and realtively short. I found it easier to write, and my proof reader (yes thankfully I had enlisted one by this stage) preferred the style, so I produced quite a body of work to see how it faired.
Pretty well was the answer. But except for Barnes & Noble where Tom really took off, not as well as Jack Brighton. And the truth of the matter is - I feel much happier as Jack, so it was inevitable I returned there (I've never gone away since, but will do at some point - there's more to come from Tom Farrell).
Notice the banner that I elected for as a marketing ploy for Tom Farrell. I decided to rebrand all my work under the Flaming Hot banner, and whilst at it, made sure the quality of writing in the earlier books was up to scratch. On revisiting, I particularly enjoyed 'The Wild Side' and the spin off I had writen 'Fisted!' That's when I decided to try and create a series of stories based around the club mentioned in these books. That was the birth of 'Tales from The Wild Side... and that is blog in itself.


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