Following the accumulated wisdom of How to Be a Writer in Public, I have developed all the things a writer is supposed to have: web site, at least two social media presences, newsletter, public Facebook page, and so on. But the common thread on all those is pushiness: I'm pushing info at folks. Even worse, sometimes I'm just pushing info out into the void, like "buy my book" pollution that nobody's ever going to pick up.
It's hard for authors to get a handle on the value of some of these one-way communication paths. We can count our followers or likes or whatever, but it still feels, to me, very bleak.
My goal in writing has never been to make money or get awards. It has always been to connect with other people, via a story. I can't even tell you how exciting it is to write a thing -- any thing -- when I know for certain that someone is going to read it. Even better when I know someone is looking forward to reading it. Those people make this sometimes dismal job worthwhile.
And I will never meet them by shoving out news items into email inboxes and swiftly flowing Twitter feeds. So I made a place where they could hang out, and I could hang out, and we can talk. People who might have an interest in my stories or worlds can tell me what they like, what they don't, what they would be interested in reading in the future. We exchange recipes and pet pics and memes and fandom and science info.
That place is Viv's Vortex of Readers and Space Vodka. It's not a fan group per se. It's more of a gathering of friends. I think we all know each other, and we welcome new members rarely enough that anybody joining is going to get a lot of attention.
The coolest part of the group so far is that I've noticed friends from one area of my life (for instance, my fandom friends from way back) meeting folks from another area (like my writing friends), and interacting and forming relationships that detach from me completely and grow into awesome things on their own.
I don't run contests in the group. I don't have rules about posting or reviewing or any of that. I make no demands on your time. We're small enough that we don't even have rules about members promoting their own work (though I wouldn't be against that... we should discuss). It's as close to a safe place on the internet as I've found.
You are cordially invited to join.