I just finished my novella and want to choose a pen name that sounds oppressed. I don't want to use an Asian one since publishers may be on the lookout after the whole Yi-Fen Chou ordeal.
What kind of name should I choose? I was thinking of either one of those wacky African names, or just something with a lot of accent marks.
A nonwhite sounding name will make it harder for you to get published and become popular, you moron. You need to sound as intelligent and rich as possible in your description, so maybe like Jeremiah Solomon or something.
you should choose something that has to do with the story to cover your ass a bit
if you must, go with a spanish name, but real spanish, so nobody can accuse you of faking race
try for an argentine name
for anyone that doesn't know:
Yi-Fen Chou ordeal = white guy gets poem rejected by 40 journals, submits it as Yi-Fen Chou, it's published, eventually ends up in The Best American Poetry 2015 anthology
Use a regular English first name and an Arabic last name. Muslims are the "in" oppressed/controversial group right now. But make it phony-sounding so they don't think you're pretending to be a real person.
Publishing has next to nothing to do with quality writing though. It's all a hobnobbing game of knowing or meeting the right people under the right circumstances. Inventing a favorable persona for your work is a time-honored way of getting past the "filters" and it always shows that no one gives a shit about quality so much as who/what/where they think a piece is coming from.