Harlen Campbell

"A writer of fiction has just one obligation -- to entertain the reader.
Only if he has done that superbly can he deal with his personal concerns in a story."


You've come across one of the few dinosaurs still lumbering around the internet.

I started this website under another name back in 1995 to draw attention to my first novel, Monkey on a Chain. I think it was the very first author site on the brand new internet, and it seemed like a terrific idea at the time—innovative, exciting, and sure to make a great success, not only for my book but for all authors searching for an easier way to find an audience. Unfortunately, I'd overlooked one simple fact: there was no audience on the internet. Back in those days, when the reading audience wanted to purchase a book, it ambled down to Borders, B. Dalton, Barnes and Noble, Brentano's, or one of the thousands of independent bookstores that dotted the country. There it shuffled contentedly among the racks, pulling the occasional title for a closer look at the cover or lifting a hardcover whose publisher had purchased a favored table display near the cash registers.

In addition to the basics of network tech and scripting in HTML 1.0, that early site taught me a few lessons. Don't get too far ahead of the pack, you aren't a leader until you've got followers, and follow the pack from in front. In other words, don't get too smart.

My book performed about as well as my website: sales were respectable for a first time author, particularly if the author wasn't a celebrity, but then my publisher, Doubleday, was purchased by the German conglomerate, Bertelsmann. My hopeful series fell away with the rest of the freshly trimmed deadwood, and I returned to my day job for ten years.

But I didn't give up the web site and I didn't quit writing. The site felt too much like a baby and writing had become a pernicious habit.

My pernicious habit eventually resulted in three more books—they can be found by clicking on the "Works" menu option over there on your left—a journal that would be called a Blog today, some questionable poetry, and a few essays, most of them written, as is my wont, from either well ahead of the pack or somewhere way off in the next county. The jury is still out on that question.

So read. Wonder at my insight or my naiveté. Follow a few of those links. Buy a book. Above all, enjoy yourself!

© 2004-2015 Red Hand Productions

Copyright ©1995-2015 Harlen Campbell — Last updated August 21, 2015.