I’ll start at the beginning.
I love my fans. I mean…I. LOVE. My fans. I’m pretty sure a fan could message and say “boo” and my day would transform into unicorn puppies and mango ice cream clouds. I always try to make extra time to interact one on one with them. And since I write a lot of YA, I truly think some of those fans will end up being better authors than me someday. If I can help that along, I absolutely will.
Make that connection last. For me, I have a few local girls (and some not so local) that I keep up with. One of my girls, ViVi, is the sweetest middle schooler who graciously volunteers to babysit for me once a week so I can get in a little writing time. In exchange, she gets to hear a lot of my writing secrets and read some draft work. I also give my opinions on ViVi’s writing work. She does some killer fan fiction!
Some things happen without you trying. Like you leaving a chapter from your draft on the table after your editor drops it off. And then ViVi asking to see it. And then you realizing that’s the chapter where something…”uncool”…happens to one of your well-liked characters. ***I’m already giggling remembering this***
Keep a safe distance while your fan loses her sh** (no other way to describe it) and starts flailing around your kitchen. Between the red-faced screams and the waves of intensely serious “You cannot do that! You cannot do that to me!” you realize that your toddler thinks it’s hilarious and he has never liked ViVi more. Meanwhile you fear for your life.
Enjoy it–in quite a sadistic manner–as your fan spends another hour wondering out loud in a half-panic, how the story ends, and whether her other favorite characters are safe from “uncool” things. She promises to bake you a cookie for every page you write that ends with her characters in favorable circumstances. Then she ups it to a pie every chapter. And as she gets into her mom’s car at the end of the day, she threatens to murder you, hisses, and starts texting her best friend all about it.
That, my friends, is how to get your fans to lose their minds.
Oh, and obviously, buy my books and give me fan love by commenting!