I know what you're thinking: What sort of narcissistic attention-junkie runs their own fan club, anyway?

Gosh. That's pretty ungenerous of you.

Then again, it is Monday. So I understand.

Running one's own fan club is hardly something that anyone with a reasonable amount of pride wouldn't naturally be something near ashamed to do. But I'm stuck doing it. This is because I would very much like to continue being a book author. That means I need publishing houses to gamble that a book of mine will sell. But at present publishers are disinclined to take that gamble, because, alas, I'm pretty entirely a nobody. I don't have a radio or TV show. I don't speak to tens of thousands of people every year. I'm not an expert in any field.

I lack about the only thing publishers want anymore, which is a "platform."

I do, however, have a Facebook fan page with some 500-plus members. Yay. Publishers like this, because it helps them think that, writing-wise, it's just possible that I might know what I'm doing. (And that's especially important to me right now, insofar as I'm currently writing the sort of book in which publishers are least interested: a first novel.)

The weirdness about having a Facebook fan group is that I can't do anything for those who join it. Here people voluntarily do something that really means something to me---that actually helps me make a living---and there's virtually nothing I can do for them in return. I don't even friend my Facebook fans, because how often does anyone need to hear from me? So they remain to me utter strangers.

I think it's a sign of just how slow I am that it's just recently occurred to me that I could just physically give my fans stuff. Duhr. How it took me over a year to figure that out is something I prefer not to think about.

So here's the New Thing: From now on, at least once a month, I will send, from my Facebook fan page, a "Fan Update" to the members of my fan club. They will each receive that message in their Facebook inbox. I will give them a date by which to respond to it; from those responses, I will then select a winner for that month's giveaway.

I'm going to be giving away copies of my own books, copies of the books I've co-written, books from my personal library, CD's, DVD's, and gift cards from Starbucks and Target. I'll announce the first giveaway this week (a $20 Starbucks card), so that its recipient can get it by Christmas.

You can join my Facebook fan page here. That's not why I'm doing this, but if you're a fan of this blog or my books, of course I'd appreciate that love. (And---just in case you don't know---joining a Facebook page doesn't impinge on your life, or anything: You won't start getting a bunch of email from me, or whatever. Except for the giveaway notifications, you actually won't hear from me at all.)

Okay, thanks. I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas season. (My wife Cat and I are. She's going back to work today after her surgery! So I'm feeling morose and emotionally tweaky. But whatever.)

Your fan,

John