October 2006

 

Avon Fan Lit

I’m loving the Avon FanLit site.  As I write this (mid-September), they have over 3,000 people signed up. The judging on the first chapter has finished and nearly 50,000 votes were logged for over 500 entries. There are a number of lively discussion threads, many of which have clocked up over 1,000 responses. Reading the daily blog by Avon authors and editors has become a fixture in my day and I’m really enjoying checking out everybody’s comments. I must confess I haven’t read any of the chapters yet, partly because I’m trying to turn the first draft of my second book for Avon into the second draft of my second book for Avon (confused yet?). If I get lost in the chapters, I’ll never come out again. It’s hard enough staying away from the forum!

These figures are really mind-boggling. What do they tell me? Apart from what I already know – that Avon books have a huge number of fans out there and also that a lot of people who read romance want to write it. Why not? I think if you asked any author, nearly all would say they started as fans. I personally have a theory that romance is brutally cruel to people who aren’t sincere about what they’re writing and part of that sincerity is loving the genre. You can tell if a writer has a patronizing attitude towards what they’re doing within the first couple of words.

I think, though, that the main thing I’ve learned from FanLit is that there is a massive hunger amongst readers to communicate with other romance fans and with romance writers. Avon FanLit is establishing a real community and it’s a great privilege to be part of it.  Check it out! The event continues until the end of October when they’ll announce the winners of the wonderful prizes.