I am a husband, writer, friend, and retired educator.
My current vocation is writing novels, and for diversion, I blog.
It is when I am working on a novel that I am most content; at present, that novel is Pinctada, and my enthusiasm for the story, its scope, and its characters has caused me to ignore my blogs.
I am “independently published” in that my novels are available in paperback or electronic formats via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP/Amazon) under the pseudonym, Jeff Lee, but I am no longer implementing most of the marketing expectations that come with self-publishing because I know I am not a marketing guru: I am a writer!
The fiction genre of my novels, especially the Myers/Benton Chronicles, is upmarket, historical noir. The plots are located in the past, and I pay attention to the social conditions and a myriad of other details typical of the period in which the novel is set, including the origin of words, (e.g. in 1956, did Aussie women refer to female friends as mates? When did the expression, "the most," make itself known in the parlance of American teenagers?) and verifiable details that impact the story (e.g. What was the approximate population of Atuona on Hiva Oa in 1956?) This observation from a San Francisco Book Review of The Innocents suggests my efforts to authenticate word usage and historical facts may be worthwhile: "There’s a distinct sense of time in the book, which works much to its overall advantage. 1955 comes to life in this novel in a profound way."
Why am I self-publishing and why haven't I made a concerted effort to seek representation for my work? What I have learned about the process from Peter Bart (my mentor in the 80s), and from grad level creative writing courses, workshops and conferences, and hours spent reading “how to submit” posts over the past 20 years, I have been reluctant to query hard-working and earnest literary reps who are inundated with queries from "emerging" writers like me. At some point, perhaps with the completion of Pinctada, I will leap into the fray and begin to seek representation for that manuscript.
My reluctance to do so in the past is not because I do not believe in my work; on the contrary, I wholeheartedly believe in it, but that belief is akin to the way a parent feels about his child’s brilliance. I have never felt comfortable shouting out via social media that my books are really, really good and that people should read them, which I have done figuratively speaking on occasion. I know it is what the cottage industry that exploits the dreams of wannabe authors says I should do; I'm just not comfortable doing it in the absence of third-party confirmation.
As someone who loves audiences and who has ample experience in front of them, I will work hard as a marketeer if a publisher someday decides my work is ready for prime time. If that never happens, so be it. I am already proud as hell of the novels, short stories, scripts, and poems I have produced; however, the validation that comes from a publisher's acceptance would be very nice (read: exciting and empowering!).
Thanks very much for reading this far! I would be very grateful should you decide to read one of my novels or my compilation of short stories, and when you have completed the read, I would love to hear from you using the Contact Jeff Lee Byrem section immediately below.