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?