Why, after years of maintaining a relatively low-profile presence online, have I, anonymous, unremarkable Jamie Graham, suddenly decided to start broadcasting my internal meanderings here where they risk cluttering up the screen of your laptop or tablet or phone or amazing-future-device-I-don’t-yet-know-about-and-therefore-can’t-list-by-name? Why am I taking up valuable space on the internet that might otherwise be devoted to gifs of kittens frolicking, snarky memes about the latest celebrity gossip, or insidiously slanted articles portending the inevitable doom of civilization if the evil Other Side manages to win the next election? (That line was a lot funnier before November 2016, I promise.) Why, in the name of all that is good and holy, am I bothering you with this blog?
Er… the fact is that… I… uh… have written a novel. Actually two. And, um, I’m working on a third. (As of the time of this update.)
I know, I know – there are already tons of the darn things out there. Your bedside table is stacked high with a good dozen or so that you have been meaning to read since your last birthday, and every day publishers remainder boxes upon boxes more of those that didn’t even make it that far.
But well… these are mine.
I started writing them at first because I wanted to recapture some of the traditional epic feel that I felt had slowly begun to seep out of the fantasy genre over the last twenty or so years – and then I realized I had yet more stories to tell, and I continued on and on and on.
I wrote that first book knowing full well it had a lot going against it. The world I’d created was not dark or in any way dystopian; it was not steampunk or flintlock or urban or any other new sub-genre of my own devising. What it was, was good ol’ fashioned high fantasy epic, my humble effort at a new take on the archetype originally introduced by Tolkien, and later expanded upon by Le Guin, Williams, and others. And as a result, though it earned a lot of praise, and in at least one case came at least somewhat close to selling… in the end it did not.
And so, this blog, which I began, as so many do, thinking my book would be that shining star, a debut rising to the heavens to join the Earthsea Trilogy, the Belgariad and the Wheel of Time among others, now stands as a testament to my ongoing efforts – and in many ways, a placeholder for when I do finally sell my first manuscript. Originally, I populated its pixels with posts regarding writing, including my thoughts on both the craft and the business – as well as some in-the-moment soul-searching that this liberal did in the wake of the 2016 election. And while those posts were, I hope, genuinely authored from the point of view of someone who did not claim to have all the answers (indeed, I’ve always been suspicious of hard and fast rules, like “the road to hell is paved with adverbs”) and only hoped to offer hints I personally found helpful, I’ve taken them all down, as it I feel it’s disingenuous of me to share such thoughts, since my own long-term goal remains traditional publishing and I have yet to achieve that prize myself. (Though for the record, I still think some of those ideas are worthwhile, and will come back to them afresh once I can write from the perspective of one who has successfully sold a book.)
What you see before you now, therefore (if you’ve somehow managed to find this site despite the fact that I don’t currently promote it), is a collection of the few thoughts I do feel qualified to share, such as my experience on the querying process and why I resumed writing again after two decades away. (Also, as a little bit about who I am as a person.) If I find more such subjects I feel qualified to share, I will add them and promulgate them all individually.
When I do make it to the end of the long, dark road, I’ll add an update to let you all know. And at that point, I’ll resume my thoughts on the subject of writing, the industry of publishing, and all manner of other topics – humbled, no doubt, but no less desirous of offering useful suggestions.
Until then… it’s back to work.