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Intro to Editorials—12/11/2005 3:19:00 AM

by Bob Kruger

You may have noticed that the other columns bear the disclaimer that their views do not necessarily reflect those of ElectricStory.com. Not this column. I’m the president, and can pretty much set the tone, subject to the pleasure of the ES board. So far I haven't taken pains to articulate a vision for the site, because the site's been peripheral to our business. Our original website, launched in 2000, was a static catalog of eBooks we’d published, linking to BN.com, Amazon, and other online retailers. There wasn’t much to draw people, and I didn’t have the time or the technical expertise to set it up with community tools, so I asked Lucius Shepard to write us some articles – any articles – to drive traffic. He was already considering movie reviews, so for various reasons (and rationalizations), we started running those. I picked up Howard Waldrop’s “Crimea River” column when it became orphaned by the defunct Eidolon magazine, and now, years later, I've recently coded up a publishing tool for Mark Rose to run “Things I’ve Found” with minimal interference from me. Kathryn Haines has done a great job shaping our catalog since the launch of this new, database-driven site in late 2004, which has been a first step toward a more explicit editorial vision. This column is another.

Usually a company finds its focus through its bottom line, but after five years, the eBook industry still doesn’t have a decent bottom line to focus on. ElectricStory has realized my goal of publishing enough of my favorite fantasy and science fiction authors that we’d have a presence in the genre to build upon. Given the slight demand for eBooks, however, I’m changing tack somewhat. We’re going to try audiobooks, and maybe paid subscriptions to e-mail newsletters on technical topics (Lucius has some excellent essays on our desk, and I’m still considering the right way to market them), and I’m going to share information on Web and e-publishing here, for free. Maybe among all that we’ll find our way as a company, but at least I can indulge the impulse that led me to found ElectricStory in the first place: to write, edit, and publish work I’m interested in. And, for a change, to articulate the official company line. Thanks for reading.

--Bob Kruger