Monthly Archives: June 2014

These Pretzels…

I use Spotify’s discover feature a lot. A week ago I took its suggestion and listened to a lo-fi techno band. So it started only giving me lo-fi techno bands. I checked them out, decided they weren’t my thing and moved on. Now it is giving me suggestions based on me listening to those suggestions. I am trapped in a never-ending spiral of lo-fi techno. Somebody send electrolytes – this Molly is making me thirsty.

This Molly…is making me THIRSTY.

THIS Molly is MAKING ME thirsty?

THIS MOLLY IS MAKING ME THIRSTY!

Help me understand fandom

I don’t really¬†understand fandom.

I don’t mean that in any sort of insulting way to fans of anything. I love my fans (as surreal as it is to think that I have any), I have just never had that gene in my own personal life. I have favorite writers, bands, games, TV shows, etc. — but I know nothing about them, the people that make them and the process they use. I know very little beyond the fact that I enjoy these things. It never occurs to me get more involved.

I don’t know the names of the writers, or the directors, or even most of the actors in my favorite movies. I don’t know which band worked with which producer, or anything about the success of their singles and chart positions. I don’t know who writes my favorite TV show (does Supernatural even have writers these days, or is it all just improv between instances of Sam and Dean slamming each other against identical motel room walls?) I don’t know what other projects my favorite authors have, beyond their books. For example: I love Murakami. Read every single one of his fiction novels. Read absolutely none of his essays, interviews, or experimental screenplays. I have no idea if he’s doing a reading in my town, or if he collaborated on some anthology. I just never had it in me to delve deeper than the surface, and in an odd way, I was always a bit envious of the people that do it.

I have many friends who will sit there and reel off six pages of facts about what went on behind the scenes of their favorite action movie. The anecdotes, the commentary, the on-set spats and original drafts. And all I can contribute to the conversation is “I liked the part where the guy’s balls exploded.” It must be nice to be a fan, but I just fundamentally don’t get how people go about it.

And yet it is vital to my job and everything else that I want to do with my creative life that I understand fans, what they want and how to cultivate more of them.

Admittedly, pretending like this is a problem I have to worry about right now is, at best, naively optimistic. We’re at the early stages here. This site does maybe 30k uniques a month, and that’s when I’m updating it. But I am supposed to head off next year for promotion of my first big book series, so with any luck, that number will grow. If you’re reading this, consider yourself an early adopter. You’re a beta tester for Brockway Industries, and I could use your advice: As a fan, what do you want see more of in an author? What makes you stay, makes you get involved or spread the word? I’m very grateful and appreciative every day that you’re here, but I just don’t know what I can do for you, beyond try to write stupid books about phallus-obsessed ghetto kings and math angels. And I’m already doing that. And you won’t ever stop me. So what else do you want to see?

State of Brockway

State of Decay is one of my favorite games in recent memory. It is quite possibly the best zombie apocalypse game ever made, which is saying something these days, since every genre from point-and-click adventure to Puzzle Bobble are now set in the post-zombie-apocalypse. I have kind of a history with the team, Undead Labs. They saw this article that I wrote about brilliant games we all want, but will likely never have, and they wanted to invite me to an event in Seattle to check out an early build of their game, just to see if they came close. I was interested, but could not attend. Then they released the game, and offered me a free copy, but I had sold my Xbox and could not accept their offer. I apparently hate sweet, free stuff with a passion bordering on mania.

Time passed, the game released on Steam, and I bought a copy. I just kind of figured the offer wasn’t a standing one. Between it and the first DLC, Breakdown, I put about fifty hours into the game. I’ve had nothing but glowing things to say about them, even though I always paid them for the privilege.¬†I even wrote a piece about the game on Cracked. Again, with nothing on the line for me – I was just honestly really impressed by their efforts. Then, last week when their latest DLC, Lifeline, released, I took my first kickback. They gave me a free copy of the game. Because in a way, I was in it:

brockwaygame

As a little nod to my seeming steadfast refusal to stop throwing my money at them, the folks at Undead labs named one of the survivors after me. This may even beat the time Even Skjervold named a bull after me (and apparently ate it. Th…thanks?) I would love to tell you where to find the Brockway survivor in State of Decay: Lifeline, but so far every rescue I’ve attempted has ended with everybody being mauled to death in the streets while a disappointed man yells at me over the radio. But if you find me, do me a favor and use my preferred loadout: No guns, no melee weapons. Just firebombs and morphine. Your favored conveyance is the dark green muscle car. It is mandatory that you take every sweet-ass jump you see, even though the consequences will almost certainly kill you.

Oh, and tell me “hi” for me.