Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Connecting with your fans.

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?


  1. This is for Sarah and my example of how I fill in the lulls between action and adventure. This little scene is right after the heroes find out what they need to do, and before they arrive.

    “Like this?” Suki asked Angela holding one of the red head’s war blades in front of her.

    “Yes, but tighter so you don’t let go of it,” Angela swung its twin down on top of the blade knocking it from Suki’s hand. The clattering of the blade hitting the metal floor in the cargo hold echoed loudly around them. “Are you sure you want to learn this? You cannot master the blade before we arrive in Cahir. It can take one’s lifetime.”

    Suki shook the stinging from her hand as she retrieved the blade. “I am being silly,” she said moving to sit on a piece of cargo. She examined the runes etched into the blade as it lay in her lap. Forever sharp and indestructible, everything she wasn’t.

    “What is bothering you?”

    “I don’t know,” she said without looking up. “I have this feeling that everything is going to go horribly wrong. No, more like it already has but we just haven’t noticed yet.”

    Angela took a seat next to her before and waited a few moments before talking. “I remember when I was young, before the Time Walker brought me here. There was a girl who doubted. Every day when we were learning to become warriors she would let it be known to anyone who would hear, that she was no good at the tasks assigned. Sword play, archery, even flying. When she did fail at these things, she was satisfied with the fact that she failed.”

    “What are you saying?”

    “The girl failed because she believed she would.”

    “I don’t go around hoping we fail so I can gloat,” Suki countered.

    “No, but you are already looking for it,” Angela continued. “There is a saying among my people. Do not step quietly through life only to arrive safely at death.”

    Suki looked at Angela’s face. “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “It means that you have to take chances in life. Not reckless and stupid, but you can end up letting everything worth living for pass you buy if you are too afraid to go after it.”

    “That is an interesting idea,” She said feeling a little better. “I don’t think this is for me,” she said handing over the war blade.

    Angela took the blade and held it in front of them. “Stepping quietly is something I have never done,” she said. Both women started to laugh. Neither of them saw Kail quietly step away from the entrance to the cargo area.

  2. We watched this and it was just an amzing atmosphere - I'll admit to having a teeny lump in my throat when John the Translator got emotional :-) (In fact, I just clicked on your link and watched it again).

  3. @Sarah- Yeah, it was pretty cool. I liked how the crowd wanted MMA, the underdog, to win. And he did with some crazy crazy games.

  4. Fantastic example! Seeing the way other people do it really does help. And thank you so much for the shout-out :) It made me so happy. Blizzcon really does look completely awesome...

    Thanks again! You're welcome at my blog anytime ;)

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  5. Great post, SBJ. You are close to finishing the first draft of Guardian. That's great news.

  6. @Sarah- You're welcome.

    @Rachna- I finished the first draft of Guardian on Tuesday, about six hours after this blog post. I've been applying edits now. I am very glad I had been giving my manuscript to my editor as I created. This let me go strait into editing without having to wait weeks or a month or more before I got it back. Planning can save a ton of time.

  7. Must be a wonderful feeling to be writing the epilogue of your own book. Hopefully, one day I shall know what that feels like!