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This article is taken from PN Review 145, Volume 28 Number 5, May - June 2002.

Self-publication without Tears? - Writers with their own Websites Edward Picot

The Yahoo search-engine currently lists a total of 12505 authors with their own websites, 4039 of them in the 'Literary Fiction' category, which is by far the most populous. Poetry sites are listed separately: there are 2272 of these, but no figures are available on how many are the personal sites of individual poets.

Writers' personal websites come in many different forms, and in some of them the emphasis on 'personal' is just as heavy as the emphasis on writing. Erin Elizabeth - a wellpublished American poet, founder of the online literary magazine Stirring, and co-founder of the Sundress organisation, which hosts various other literary e-zines - is an example of this. Her site, which used to be called 'Sick with the Hibiscus' and is now called 'Hush', opens with a blackand- white image of two women making love, one of them presumably Ms Elizabeth herself. Elsewhere on the site are numerous head-and-shoulders photographs of the author (who is a very pretty girl). Many of these pictures are included in a 'live journal' which also features new poems (presumably works in progress, or newly written) and some first-person reflections: 'i fear that i am becoming everything i promised to not be. callous. unyielding. tight and tired. frigid and formidable. a woman with glasses, balancing a checkbook. not a girl with green gloves...' This mixture of more formal writing with very intimate material is not untypical of a certain type of writer's website: many of the ones listed ...

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