I believe it is reasonable to assert that most writers started out as readers.
The serious kind. The wallet-draining kind.
It is a state of bliss, reading, and one that is always as accessible as the nearest good book. Some novels deliver a new friendship to the reader in the form of a beloved character. Others introduce new worlds, ideas, or ways of living.
Often, hope is found in the pages of a novel. Inspiration might be there, too. Even renewal of a long ago dream might arise in the reader as the chapters progress.
For those of us who have cut a path from a simple idea to a completed book, appreciation of the elements that went into writing a full novel—perfect or not—takes on an entirely new significance.
The experience of becoming an author invites enlightenment in the best possible sense. It is a camaraderie that transcends genre, location, and even the means by which a novel was published.
For, if you love to read, it’s all about getting caught up in the characters and finding yourself swept away on a swelling tide of plot lines and ripe phrases.
In honor of this shared knowledge, this path that is somehow well worn yet completely wild, I’d like to propose a special day, a Twitter day, to open the social media doors and invite readers and authors inside to celebrate our shared love of books.
Let’s call it Fan Celebration Day.
This isn’t about us as writers; it’s about us as readers.
I propose we invite our favorite authors to join in the Twitter fun. This community gathering isn’t about how an author was published, so include names from your book shelf and your e-book shelf alike as you make a list of authors to invite.
Whose novels do you curl up with at night? Whose books do you eagerly reach for during your lunch break, or on a quiet, rainy afternoon?
Reach out to those authors, to their representatives, their agents, and encourage them to participate in Fan Celebration Day.
Notice I don’t refer to this adventure as “reader appreciation.” It has the potential to be so much more than the image that rather bland description conjures up.
This is an online party, a fiesta, an open invitation to all things, and all people, literary. It’s a day to say—to shout—THANK YOU to the authors who have brought us enjoyment and tears and hope and new worlds and brainteasers and happy endings.
Let #FanCelDay become the gathering place.
When spoken, the above sounds like “fan sell day.” That’s intentional. Devoted readers of a particular author want other readers to buy those same books in order to support that author, and to keep him or her in a position to write more novels to feed the appetites of hungry fans.
For my list, I started with the stack of books on my nightstand. Yes, printed books.
If you’re planning to join in, consider adding a post about #FanCelDay to your blog. Include links to the websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter handles (if they exist) for your favorite authors. Invite your readers to add their own suggestions in the comment section.
What’s nice about establishing a single day to appreciate the work of other authors, and to interact with them, is that a lifetime commitment is not required. For established authors who haven’t yet created a Twitter presence, Fan Celebration Day may be the perfect opportunity to join in the fun—and to gain new readers.
Some of the names on my list are Marisa de los Santos, Melissa Foster, Pat Conroy, J.A. Konrath, Nora Roberts, R.S. Guthrie, Jeff Shaara, E. Van Lowe, Ruth Cardello, Carla Neggers, Suzan Tisdale, James Patterson, Chicki Brown, Stephen King, Deborah Batterman, David Baldacci, Carl Purdon, Adriana Trigiani, and more.
Since I live here in reality, I can’t add the obvious dream invitee, Jane Austen, to the list.
But if, say, Charles Frazier attends, I would have the chance to ask him if he knew how many hearts he would break with the closing pages of ‘Cold Mountain,’ and if he shed tears while deciding the fates of his characters.
If she attended, I’d ask Nora Roberts if she has ever seen a ghost (I’ll bet Pat Conroy and Jeff Shaara have), and I’d ask James Patterson if he plans to write a romance novel someday. I’d also like to know the funniest joke David Baldacci has ever heard, and who Adriana Trigiani will be casting in the Big Stone Gap movie.
So many questions. So many authors.
The holidays are coming and, with them, the biggest sales week of the year for e-books. Fan Celebration Day would present a good opportunity for authors to raise their online profiles just in time for all the new Kindles, Nooks, Kobos, and iPads that will be entering the book buying market ten short weeks from now.
Which authors would you like to see join in the fun on Fan Celebration Day? What would you ask them? What questions would you hope they ask you?
#FanCelDay, December 1, 2012. Let the fun (and sales) begin.