Mine is an evil laugh . . . Actually it's just a nervous throat spasm.
Okay, what am I doing? Well, as the name suggests, this is an experiment. And it fills me with terror, which is why I'm calling it "an experiment." So I can flee like a jackrabbit if I decide I can't handle the prospect of putting everything I've got out here on cyberspace. Run! Run! The horror! The horror!
Okay, I'm a little more calm now.
Why a blog? For a couple reasons:
1. Writers have blogs. Successful writers use them to share news about their work. And to talk about whatever's on their minds. The blog I've linked to on my front page right now is, in fact, named "Whatever," by John Scalzi, one of my favorite science fiction writers (University of Chicago graduate!). Yesterday he won a Hugo* award.
2. Publishers these days expect writers to take an active role in marketing their work. Having a blog that showcases my stories and gets some serious attention on the Internet could help me attract a publisher.
3. I want to be able to share some of my stories with a wider audience. I'm planning to post some stories I wrote that didn't get published anywhere (although I admit that I could/should have been more persistent about submitting them to magazines, online and virtual, but that's another topic and possibly a subject for psychoanalysis). I'll post those that I still like, after editing them again, and maybe they'll attract some attention. But even if they never show up in Analog or Asimov's, I'll know that they're out there and people might read and enjoy them. Which is what every writer wants.
What else is going on here? Well . . .
1. For right now, my name on the blog is "John Grantson," although my email address with my name is clearly displayed with my name at the top. My father's name was Edward Grant Cowan, and for much of his life he was known as Grant, and I'm happy to use that as a nom de plume for now. It will change (along with my email address) as I make the change to a blog I'm going to use as a tool to publicize my work. The name "Experiment in Terror" will probably change too as I overcome my fears.
2. I spent some time today learning how to post pictures, links, and pages that link to stories I want to post. I've posted the beginning of a story called "Oracle," which won a contest in 2009, as a test. I'll put the rest of the story on the site soon. And others.
3. I'm using the Google tool Blogger right now. That may change as I explore other platforms, and if anyone has recommendations for different platforms, great. Please tell me what's easy and what tricks I need to know.
4. I don't know what I don't know. I spent an hour today trying to figure out why new items didn't show up under the "Stories" bar, until I finally tried changing templates—the display image that shows up behind the actual blog. And then everything looked fine. I'm sure I'm in for a lot of frustration here.
5. Comments? That sort of scares me, because once you put your stuff out on the Internet any troll can come in and savage you. I'm still figuring out how they work on this platform, so that will take some time. But please feel free to share any feedback you have on the blog as it exists now, or any stories I post when I put them up. Once I switch to a "pro" blog, I hope I'll be able to deal with anything that comes through.
I'm trying to be as honest as possible here about my hopes and fears and plans for this new stage of my attempt to become the next John Scalzi/Jim Butcher/George R. R. Martin, or just the first John Cowan. So what's next? I don't know. Maybe I'll chicken out. But I know I have to keep trying.
* Hugos are awarded by fan votes at the World Science Fiction each year.