As a writer, we’re all aware of the need for readers–readers that review for story, for grammar and punctuation, and for readability. But we tend to forget about our geek reader. In any particular genre (fantasy genre being not the least of these), there are geeks. Readers who not only live, eat and sweat their geekery for a particular genre, but they consider themselves the geek gate keepers. They’re the first to cry, “there are no sparkly vampires!”, and the ones to remind you that “zombies could not walk on the ocean floor because their dead, bloated mass keeps them afloat(actually, the arguments still out on that).” Now, some of you writers are getting squeamish already, I know. I feel ya. Seriously, put MY beautiful manuscript in the hands of a raving geek?? I remember the first time I sent off a manuscript and concept art (drawn by Carlyle McCullough) to a geek friend of mine and he absolutely tore it a part. I cried like a man-child, wondering where it all went wrong. I realized something though, he was my benchmark. Geeks are the heart of fandom. Instinctively, they just know when something’s “awesome!!!!!” (I left off about five exclamation points for readability). They’re thee word of mouth. Frankly, for all the readership out there, it’s your geek reader that tells you if this is commercially viable – and that my friends, is a must. Let’s put the egos aside and realize that if we (or a publishing house) are going to put big money behind something, then your book should have the courtesy to make the money back.
And so I pulled myself up from my cheap carpet, stood up, reworked the manuscript and sent the concept art to Carlyle with suggestions. I then sent subsequent manuscripts and concept art to my geek friends. It was only when I got the veritable geek stamp of approval, “Awesome!”, that I knew it was time to ship.
Who’s your geek reader?