A couple of days ago I received this letter from the founder of Elfwood.
When I started Elfwood fifteen years ago, I could never dream of what
a success it would be and how I would affect the lives of thousands of
young artists and writers. I have received many emails over the years,
thanking me for everything from career paths chosen in the art world
thanks to Elfwood, to married couples who found each other in the
What started out as a tiny, script based web site running at a
computer club server at the university is now a full professional
site, with over a hundred thousand registered members and half a
million pieces of SciFi and Fantasy art and writings.
Lets say you spend all your time awake (Like 16 hour a day) constantly
browsing Elfwood – stopping by just quickly to look at each picture
for 15 seconds and each story for two minutes, then you would spend
over 200 days at the site!
However, after fifteen years as head of Elfwood I slowly become to
realize that Elfwood might need a new warden to further tend to it and
make it grow in a good way. Although we started a new company around
Elfwood some years ago, the income from the adveristments and the
patron donations isn’t enough to make me work with Elfwood as a
paid job. Sure, It does cover the running costs, the administration,
…and some more, but this isn’t a long term roadmap.
In order to stay up to date with the development on the Internet,
adding new functions and make Elfwood into something unique; more time
(and money) would be needed. The competition for the attention on
Internet is fierce today, with Facebook, Twitter and other sites
continuously expanding and growing. (Just to be clear, I don’t want
Elfwood to go there, we should stick to our roots and remain a niche
community for lovers of SciFi and Fantasy – not become a new
Facebook). In addition to this, being responsible for this and running
the site for fifteen years in my spare time at evenings and weekends
sure takes its toll – and I believe now is a good time to starting
thinking of how Elfwood could be managed differently…
One solution for Elfwood would be to find new investors, another to
sell the website to some company that could appreciate and leverage
the unique value of Elfwoods long term existence and extremely good
reputation and brand. Thanks to input from you, our users, we have
tons of great ideas on how to improve the site, and also new
commercial concepts that could be realized to add new revenue streams
(for example by creating an Elfwood yearbook or adding
merchandise). However – to realize these plans also need time and
Anyways, the reason I write to you is NOT to announce that I’ve sold
Elfwood (far from), but I wanted to share my ideas and plans with you.
I’d like to ask you for a favour – do you know some wealthy person
interested in SciFi / Fantasy who’d like to invest in Elfwood, or of
some nice company/orgnisation that could be a good candidate for
simply purchasing the entire site? – Just let me know… All ideas are
appreciated! I can be emailed at: thomas AT elfwood DOT com
Thomas Abrahamsson, Elfwood founder
I appreciate the hard work he has put in, I have had a page there for about ten years. The site is well presented and despite persistent technical issues, I appreciate that he and his team have put in a lot of hard work. It would be a shame if Thomas decided to shut the place down through exasperation and financial difficulties.
It still has the best format for writers and artists but the method of getting around is better suited to the artists than the writers. I rarely get comments now despite making a renewed effort to read and comment on the work of others. There is some superb work on there and when I signed up for writing.com at the beginning of the year it made me realise just how well Elfwood’s insistence on quality has worked.
In some ways Elfwood has moved with the times; in some way it has not. Though Thomas says that he had no desire to turn it into a social media site, I personally think he is missing a trick. There exists the potential for Elfwood to become a great network for budding sci fi and fantasy writers. I feel that Wyvern (the library) has been left to its own devices and has stagnated because of it. I revamp is certainly in order here.
I hope this gets resolved soon. Though I will probably not submit any more work to Elfwood, I will keep my library there for now.
L. Ron Hubbard “Writer’s of the Future” Competition
As much as I would like to say that I won, I didn’t. I’m not disheartened as I found the target of writing such a long short story for the purpose of a competition a reward in itself considering it had been so long since I’d written anything. I’m pleased with the finished result. I might put it up on the web somewhere, perhaps even Elfwood but I want to explore other avenues for sale / competitions yet.
There’s still the James White Award though due to studying GIS at the moment (I may take a second module) I’m worried I may not make the 2012 deadline. Updates – as ever – will be here in due course.