It is the accepted and conventional wisdom among the various authors that I hang out with on line, that if you are putting your books out there, either through independent publishing or through the established Literary Industrial Complex, as long as you have a minimum of 25 devoted and dedicated fans who will instantly go out and buy any books, stories, collections or whatever that you make available the moment that it drops – then you absolutely have it made as a writer. Those 25 dedicated and devoted fans are the ones who make it all happen, because not only will they buy your stuff, but they will also buy the books as gifts and give to other readers, they will sing your praises to anyone who will hold still and listen, they’ll post reviews, send encouraging messages, even support you in times of crisis … and they aren’t relatives by blood or marriage, either.

Some dedicated fans will make themselves known to you, although many don’t and never will – but they are out there. I know for certain that I have about ten or a dozen such diehard fans; three or four of whom I have actually met, face to face. There’s Robin, who set up a blogger meeting at a picnic pavilion in McAllister Park a good few years ago, and Mary, who donated her accumulated airline miles so that I could go home to California and support Mom when my father died rather suddenly in 2010. Then there was Ken in Fredericksburg, who alas has passed on, who deeply adored the Adelsverein Trilogy, once he had been pestered to read and vet the manuscript as a local historical expert; also Mike and his wife and her book club circle in that same town. Then there is Leslie in New Braunfels – also a fan of the Trilogy. Then there was the first Alice, one of two; my late business partner in the Teeny Publishing Bidness. Alice G. marveled at how very polished my first couple of books were; and she had read enough as a publisher and editor to know all about first novels, or second novels and the pitfalls awaiting the unwary. Alice the second in California loves the Luna City books and hangs breathlessly on every installment.

Among the fans which I have never met face to face with is Kathy, who showed the movie treatment for the project that eventually became my first novel to a professional writer friend of hers, who very kindly coached me through writing that first historical fiction and gave me solid tips to writing what became the Adelsverein Trilogy. Like Barbara, on the east coast, Kathy was also a fan when I was just a part-time mil-blogger and worked a regular full-time job in an office.

And so was the earliest and still most dedicated fan of all, Woody, from east Texas. Sometime during the first couple of years after I began blogging, I began writing about my somewhat eccentric family – and when those posts became a book, my mother commented rather wistfully that she thought I had made us all sound ever so much more eccentric and interesting than she thought we really were. But even before I had the idea to put all those entries together for conventional publication, Woody emailed me to say that he loved those posts – about Mom and Dad, growing up at mid-last-century – and that he only had internet access at home. If he bought and sent to me a box of CD media, could I copy the posts about my family to one, and mail it back to him so that he could read the posts when he was at home? (And use the rest of the CD media for anyone else who wanted a copy of those posts.) Well, I knew that the readers of that long-ago milblog loved my posts – but this was the very first time that I realized on a significant level that readers really liked the things that I wrote! Hey, they would even pay to read it! Wow … I wonder if I could make a living out of this writing thing? To this day, Woody signs himself as my biggest fan – the one who came first, almost before all the others, and the one who, almost inadvertently, sent me off on a journey as a writer who did a little office work on the side, instead of a office worker who did a little writing on the side.

Merry Christmas, Woody – and Alice, Leslie, Robin, Barbara, Mary and all, especially the ones that I haven’t ever heard from – and the best and most prosperous of new years in 2023!

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much, and a merry Christmas to you!