Who is J Washburn?
First, you’re wondering about my name.
I knew it.
No, I’m not trying to copy J.R.R. Tolkien or J.K. Rowling. J really is my first name—my whole first name. Nope, not J-A-Y and not J with a period. (Abbreviating it makes it longer.) It starts and ends with J.
It's the perfect name for a minimalist like me. (Seriously, nice work, Mom! I don't know how you called that one. Must've been some strong foreshadowing or something.) Incidentally, if you throw a pen at a paper from at least five feet away, it nearly always spells my name.
“But what kind of a name is J?”—you’re still asking. Well, I’ll tell you. There was once a man named Melvin J. Ballard (whose middle name was Joseph, but he liked to abbreviate it). My grandpa was named J Ballard Washburn in honor of this man. But he just got the J (without the period). My parents named me after my grandpa, and I just got his J. Which is nice.
After all, brevity is the soul of wit.
Now, a few facts about me:
I'm the son of James Kirk. Not even kidding. More #scifi #foreshadowing, I guess. I was also born just days after the theatrical premiere of Return of the Jedi. Didn't quite make it on time.
The truth is, when I opened my eyes for the first time, I was in Arizona in the middle of skinwalker territory. I immediately started crying. After that, I hightailed it to suburban Idaho, where I grew up.
My grade-school neighborhood had some wild kids, a few good bike jumps, a hideout for sneaking video games, and open fields to the south, which back then looked like Prydain, littered with streams and trees and wildlife and magic. There my older brother taught me the ways of the Force while he and I and our younger siblings lived the adventures you’ve read in my books.
Then I accidentally grew up. On accident—I mean it.
Being a grownup meant I had to work, which included being a technical writer, software designer, English teacher, and corporate manager. I eventually decided that writing adventures would be the next best thing to living them, but I felt terrified to leave the safety of a traditional job. The future was unknown, and a number of dragons surely waited in the fog. I was pretty scared, but I somehow convinced myself to go for it anyway.
So in a way, this is my quest, my grand adventure.
Since that daring leap, I've written ECKSDOT, SONG OF LOCKE, and the acclaimed STARCHILD space opera series.
And I’m glad you could join me in this journey—we have some exciting things ahead of us.
How can someone contact J?
I'd love to help you out or answer your questions.
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If you're interested in any of the services below, please reach out via email, and we'll begin negotiating details of the contract. Also, if you're still on the fence, send me your questions, and I'll try to make it a clearer choice.
Lunch Pitch - $77
We'll spend an hour together: Usually this is a Google Meet call.
For 20 minutes, you'll pitch your story to me in outline form.
We'll spend the remaining 40 minutes discussing how to make your characters deeper, your plot more cohesive, your settings more rich, and so on.
Alternatively, if your story arc is not yet complete, we can spend the time in a brainstorming phase. The objective for this is to have a sense of what motivates your characters and how the plot will culminate.
Deep Developmental Editing - $0.013 / word
You'll send me your complete manuscript. I'll take time to read it carefully.
I'll offer suggestions throughout on mid-level issues. I'll also summarize the global issues. I'll give you ideas on how to fix the story, but often the solutions to the problems will be up to you. I'm a firm believer that the artist should maintain creative control over the project, so I will give you rhetorical options for where to go next. I happen to also be an excellent copyeditor, but giving copyediting feedback isn't within the scope of this project (unless your manuscript is already exceptionally clean, in which case I may catch and identify the last few holdouts for you). If you have questions, see my "Develop Good Writing Skills" video on the left.
After you've had a few days to let the feedback settle, we'll schedule a 45 minute call in which we'll discuss the feedback and give you a chance to ask follow up questions. We'll also brainstorm ideas together.
FYI, this amounts to about $650 for your NaNoWriMo project. Most complete novels will break $1000. A movie script will be closer to $500.
IS THIS WORTH IT? If your book is better than STARCHILD, I probably can't help you much. If your book hasn't been a success and you're serious about turning it into one, this could be very beneficial.
Reviews - product in exchange for publicity
I've written reviews for BestLeather.org, and this is basically the same offering but it will be posted on my own social media accounts. This service deals with physical products only (and doesn't include books).
We'll correspond and decide together whether your product sounds like a good fit. (It really does need to be a product that I might love and want to promote.) You can get a sense of my interests here.
SAFETY NET: If you send me a product that I don't like, I'll privately send you feedback on why I don't think it's yet worth promoting. This ensures that you have very little risk in sending me something--it won't turn into bad press for you.