I have to give credit to Sarah Allen for the idea to do this blog post. Originally I intended to today's blog to be brief as I am almost finished with the first draft of Guardian. I have about 5k words left to go by wrapping up the final chapter and epilogue. So if I disappear from the blog world for a week, it will be from being out of town editing.
So lets talk about connecting with your fans for a minute. I have not made it a secret that I am a gamer. I play World of Warcraft, I watch the GSL and decades of pen and paper games have influenced my taste in books and movies. This last weekend was Blizzcon. I watched the convention online and it was awesome on a whole new level. Attending Blizzcon is now one of my goals. As cool as the announcement of the new World of Warcraft expansion was, or what changes Heart of the Swarm for Starcraft 2 is bringing and even better than Diablo 3. None of these were as epic as the October GSL finals held at the end of the first day. HOLY CRAP!
First off Blizzard is an anomaly in the video game world. Every game they have made is pure gold and they are making bank from it. They are not the gold standard, they are far past that, the Hope Diamond standard in the industry. One of the main reasons for this is their connection with their fans. I have been to CES in Vegas. The hacker con DefCon for 6 years and seen the Star Trek conventions and others. What I saw that Friday night was pure insanity.
The GSL or Global Starcraft 2 League is based out of South Korea. Starcraft has been their national sport for more than a decade. These kids play for prizes of up to $85,000 for first place each month. I can hear some of the snickering stop after that. Yes, some punk kid in Korea just won more money than you make in a year or two years from a single video game tournament. Blizzcon this year was the first time that the GSL finals were played outside of Korea. This is big, huge, and insane. What if the Superbowl was played in Ireland this year? And what if, more people from Ireland went to watch the Superbowl than any other Superbowl in history. You will have to watch it, there is just no other way to describe it.
Back on topic, Blizzard has gone out of their way to connect with their fans. As authors we try to spread the word about our books. Most of us use social media like Blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Its simple numbers as these mediums allow us to reach the most people possible with the smallest and cheapest efforts. The downside to this is that even though you can interact with your fans, it's distant, and impersonal. It becomes like a TV commercial. I am not suggesting that we abandon these, but you need to connect with your fans. I have seen comments of mine deleted from peoples blogs. Other blogs only allow comments after their approval. This really bugs me and I have stopped following blogs and forums because of it. It's hard to explain why, but as my own career moves forward, my time becomes more valuable and scarce and I have no choice but to spend it where I feel welcome and appreciated.
So with that, I encourage you to watch the GSL October finals, even if it's only the first ten minutes when they introduce the players, or the last ten minutes when John the Translator almost breaks down and cries because of the crowd reactions. This is connecting with your fans. What have you done to connect with your fans?