The Joss Whedon Fan Club has faced a few challenges over the last 10 years.
When I started it, the people I was listening to were all about monetizing. This was in 2006, and using the internet as a money-making machine was a thing. I guess it still is, but it doesn’t seem quite as ‘stake-your-claim-and-make-your-fortuney’ as it did then.
To be fair, the idea of making money from home doing something I was passionate about sounded pretty good to me. I like money, and entrepreneurship appeals to my creative, control-freaky nature. So it’s not like I was resisting the monetization train.
I imagined having all manner of time to write and teach and wave my geek flag like a madman. It sounded rather glorious.
I started the club with paid memberships (which came with goodies), and I opened an eBay store where I sold collectibles, t-shirts, autographs, posters, props, costume items, and other things people were willing to spend money on. I learned a lot about what sells and what doesn’t (Buffy action figures have seen their day).
I spent a lot of time packaging things up and printing shipping labels and taking armfulls of boxes to the post office.
The thing was, I didn’t particularly enjoy doing those things. Those things were tedious, and by the time I covered expenses, I wasn’t making any money anyway.
After a few years, I started wondering what the heck I was doing all that work for (I think I started wondering that right away, but I felt like I’d made a commitment, so I kept at it). And, I wasn’t writing and teaching and flag waving because I was kind of tired and unenthused all the time.
So I donated the remainder of my inventory to the Austin Browncoats, and I closed the eBay store, and I just let the fan club sit there for a while. Which broke my heart. Because I was no less a fan of Whedon’s work. I still talked about Joss nonstop to anyone who would listen. I still kept up with Joss and Joss-alum news. I still attended DragonCon every year and geeked out at Buffy and Firefly panels.
But the fan club was just idling.
Every once in a while, I’d get an email from someone asking me a question or sharing a fan tribute he or she had created and asking if I’d be interested in posting it on the website. And I was interested. Because I still wanted to do the fandom stuff. I just didn’t want to “run a business.”
And finally it hit me. The whole reason for the fan club was celebration. Not money. Not membership gathering. Celebrating.
If the Joss Whedon Fan Club had started out with a mission statement, it would have had the word “celebrate” front and center. Selling stuff is not celebrating. Celebrating is celebrating.
The thing I had been mourning wasn’t dead. It was just on the wrong path. Once I realized what I’d missed back in the beginning, I was energized. I was pumped. I was ready to make the fan club exactly what it was supposed to be.
The Joss Whedon Fan Club is a celebration.
Everyone who loves Joss’s work is a member.
So. These are the Lessons I’ve learned. It’s Showtime. It’s time to Get It Done. I’ve been Touched with this epiphany and Chosen to discover the fan club’s Potential.
Here’s what’s in the works.
- Updated website (set up, but still needing some designy love)
- Transfer of older blog posts (in progress)
- New blog posts (also in progress)
- A call to all creative people to share your fan tributes, so I can post them and let everyone enjoy them.
- A convention directory listing Joss alum appearances (coming soon)
- More stuff as I think of it
About the fan tributes: Drawings, videos, songs, stories . . . if you made it, I’l post it (unless it’s, like, super obscene or something – kids are Whedon fans, too, so let’s keep it closer to the PG spectrum than the NC-17, ‘kay, thanks).
Thanks to those who have patiently waited for me to get my act together.
Let’s celebrate, shall we?