Wednesday, August 09, 2006


This blog is an adjunct to my as yet unfinshed web site, which will be (when done) a modest attempt at self-promotion. In case you don’t recognize my name, I am a science fiction and fantasy writer who has published five novels and thirty plus short stories, beginning in 1972 when I sold my first story to New Worlds.

Most of what I’ve written has sold, which tells you I am darn slow. That slowness is not continual. I wrote my fifth novel, Ring of Swords, in eighteen months. But taken all in all, I have averaged a hundred pages of publishable material a year. This speed does not make for a dynamic writing career. But, after thirty plus years, it results in a noticeable body of work and an audience -- not huge, but noticeable.

The purpose of the web site is to collect information about me and my writing in one place. Thanks to the Internet, a lot of my work is still easily available, which means the Arnason completist need no longer haunt the dealer rooms at science fiction conventions, looking for paperback books with yellow pages in plastic bags or beat up copies of Orbit and Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. A small collection of my work came out from Aqueduct in 2005; and I working -- slowly -- on three more short story collections.

I want people to know what I have done and am planning to do and where they can find my writing.

What does this have to do with a blog?

I checked the web sites of a lot of science fiction writers. All are competent; and a fair number are handsome; but many -- possibly most -- are out of date.

It’s obvious what has happened. The author got excited by the idea of a web site. Maybe a new novel was coming out. Maybe the author decided that the Internet was a fabulous new form of marketing, which might make up for the fact that publishers do almost nothing for most of the books they publish.

(Publishers reserve their marketing money for the handful of books they think will do really well. The rest are left to sink or swim on their own. If a book manages to swim, if its sales figures are good enough, the publisher will buy another book from the same author and treat it the same way. Over the side you go with no life jacket, while the sharks of indifference circle.)

So authors put up web sites, and then lose interest. What is left to do, after they post their biography and bibliography and list the conventions they are planning to attend? Maybe the Internet is a fabulous new marketing tool, but most of us can’t figure out how to use it.

If they are full-time writers, they are under pressure to meet deadlines and finish books. If they are not full-time writers, they are trying to write in addition to working a day job and maybe having a family or a personal life.

So the web site is not updated; and people like me notice this and do not come back a second time.

I want people to return to my web site and find new and exciting news about Eleanor Arnason and her writing. But I am, as I pointed out above, amazingly slow. This means new and exciting news will not come often. So how do I keep people interested in checking up on me?

The obvious answer is a blog.

Here it is. I am going to try to post pretty often, while leaving myself time to write my fiction; and I will try not to talk too much about the stories I’m working on.


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