Challenge,  publishing

Advertising and Building Fans…

Kris and I Went to An Aces’ Game Tonight…

Great fun, great game.

And then at the half, I was out in the huge lobby that circles the arena and every 100 paces or so was another booth selling swag. And a lot of them had long lines and a lot of stuff was sold out.

And then I really looked around and it seemed I was one of a very few people out of the 9,000 there that didn’t have an Aces’ shirt or hat or something. Kris even wore her Aces’ t-shirt.

And so I watched with that vision in mind starting the second half. Everything, and I do mean everything, was about entertaining the crowd, keeping all of us in the game completely, and paying the fans back in different ways.

Every game time-out on the floor, the big screens showed kids dancing or people showing their muscles or some other fan-involvement trick. And they were constantly throwing t-shirts into the crowd.

If someone from the other team missed two free-throws, everyone in the stadium got a free slice of pizza. Everyone. You ought to hear the noise during the other team trying to make free-throws.

And randomly, they picked a row in a section and gave them all in the row something nifty.

Fan Involvement!

Every person in that stadium felt involved with almost every play and they felt cared about and valued in hundreds of different ways.

And I realized that is something each indie writer needs to do. We get one fan at a time with our writing, but after we have the fan, we need to learn to keep care of them. This is why someone like Brandon Sanderson can have such a massive Kickstarter. He interacts with and cares about his fans.

And even if you get 20 people backing your campaign or on Patreon, make them feel welcome, give them stuff for supporting you, talk with them.

This is a lesson Kris and I and WMG have been learning slowly over the years because we came out of traditional publishing which does not sell to readers, but only down their trade channel.

While indie writers are direct to readers.

And once we get a reader, a fan, we need to treasure them as best we can.  Entertain them with new books and fun stuff and projects, ask their opinions at times, make them feel valued.

The Aces do this clearly, every minute of every game. And it fills their stadium every game.

And I am just starting to catch a clue as to why.


  • Sean McLachlan

    Any time a fan contacts me via my website, FB author page, or some other way, I always reply that same day. Often these turn into long conversations. It’s easy because I actually enjoy doing it. Since I write a lot of historical mystery, my readers share with me a love of history, so it’s easy to strike up a conversation.

  • Kate Pavelle

    I wish I wasn’t this “socially challenged.” Not sure if it’s a cultural thing or whether I just came that way, but even though I feel fine in person, trying to talk to the multitudes is weird. I’m OK with public speaking, and I can make a joke when pressed. Hell, I used to produce storytelling festivals, and I performed at those without any issues.
    But online engagement simply eludes me. Nothing I do is genuine enough, or shiny enough, or whatever I think it should be.
    Problem is, I don’t know my own communication style when it comes to interacting in writing, outside fiction. And fiction varies, too. When it comes to keeping people happy and making them valued, since I am asking them to buy my books in the end, it feels…fake? Maybe fake, or maybe there’s a fear it will be construed as such. I value my readers’ presence, but I don’t really know many of them in person.
    I don’t think this is just critical voice. I think this is my inability to see my communications objectively. And I am not going to follow “tried and true newsletter formulas,” because I’ve tried that and it just makes my skin crawl.
    Dean, if you could maybe talk about “how to be an approachable introvert,” that would help.
    And Kris, I wish you speed-healing!

    • dwsmith

      Oh, hell, I’m not talking about going out in public and all that. I am talking about our normal channels like newsletters, Patreon, Subsctack, Kickstarters, web sites, and most importantly coming up good stores. No need to go out into the actual public.