I’ll never forget discovering Blind Melon. It was a bootlegged cassette passed from a friend in Raleigh to another friend in my small North Carolina hometown. I wore that cassette out, let me tell you. I got my best friend hooked. I got my brother hooked. It didn’t come out of my car for weeks and weeks. And then we heard they were coming to town.
They played in some club in Charlotte. I feel like the word “elevator” or the number “13” was in the title. My brother would remember. Anyway, this place is the size of two living rooms. The stage was about eighteen inches off the ground. And there were probably 100-150 of us packed in there. My brother and I staked out positions right in front of the stage. Shannon Hoon, a ridiculous talent who died much too young, was screaming and jamming out a foot away from us. I’m pretty sure I touched him. I was that creepy dude. I knew every lyric and sang them all.
It was the only time I’d ever body surfed a crowd. At one point, my brother and I were both riding the crowd, which was going absolutely nuts, and we bumped into each other, and my brother and I embraced as much as two crowd-surfing dudes can awkwardly embrace, and we were screaming out how much we loved each other and what a righteous fucking night it was and how glorious to be alive and all that heady bullshit that comes from drink and loud music and the madness of a small riot.
And life rarely gets better than this. We witnessed greatness that we had discovered on our own. We saw it up close and personal. And then we sat back on our couches and tuned in as that talent exploded. The next time I saw Blind Melon in concert, it was in a massive stadium from a thousand rows back as they opened for Lenny Kravitz. It wasn’t even close to the same concert, but I loved seeing “my band” up there.
Let’s be straight: I’m no Shannon Hoon. Which is fine. I’ll take my lesser talents and longer life any day. I doubt I could handle half of what that man went through. The only comparison I want to make is the rabid fanbase one acquires from being independent. From being discovered and re-discovered via word of mouth. My readers are fucking awesome. I’ve blogged about this repeatedly (here’s where a less lazy blogger would include links. All I have is a search bar up there. Which someone else installed, because I’m a lazy blogger).
I’m approaching my point, hang in there.
A few weeks ago, my FB friends started a discussion. The number of followers was approaching 1,000, and they began to warn me of the FB limit of 5,000, and that I would soon be bumping up against this. Several readers wanted to point out that they had been on the Wool bandwagon from the beginning (even better: on the Molly bandwagon long before that). So the concept of The One Thousand arose. My first 1,000 fans. The people who told people who told people, which made Wool a success at all.
I’ve already let slip the fact that the next Wool book (or perhaps I, Zombie) will be dedicated to The One Thousand. It doesn’t mean I don’t love the next thousand readers, but it’s a nod to how important the grassroots beginnings have been, and that these readers will always be near and dear to me. I owe everything to their enthusiasm and efforts.
The same goes for all the Amazon reviewers (and Goodreads and B&N and LibraryThing, etc.) The call for more Wool began with Amazon reviews. There would be no Omnibus, no Juliette, without that feedback and encouragement. And so, as I sit on 999 reviews for the Wool Omnibus, with only a handful of those from people who have never read the book (looking at you, Pink Prose and Trashy Romance), I wanted to take a moment and thank each and every one of you. Yeah, I’ve read them all. I have refrained from commenting on every single one (how creepy can I get?), but I have said hello to many. Thank you for taking the time to tell me and others what you thought of this series. Thank you even to those who took umbrage with some decisions and spelled out their dislikes with specifics. I get up in the morning and I write because there are signs out there that I’m being read. I can’t state strongly enough what a huge influence this is on me, and how much it means to my fragile ego.
To The One Thousand. I give you all six stars. Don’t spend them all at once.