Introducing Non-Geeks to Your Fandom

"Forced" | Art by OtisFrampton. Used with permission.

One of the best parts of having a fandom is introducing new people to your favourite characters and worlds. Having someone to share your enthusiasm is great, but take the wrong approach and you’ll ruin it for them. Here are a few things to avoid when recruiting new fans.

Never introduce them to the wrong point in the story—especially if it’s a series.

You’re not a Harry Potter fan? Oh! Here, let me read you the best scene in book six. You’ll cry buckets!

You’re going to love Doctor Who! We’ll start with the first Doctor—William Hartnell—and his granddaughter Susan. The show doesn’t really pick up until the third Doctor, but if you don’t watch the later episodes first you’ll never get all the nuances.

Pro-tip: Any episode of The Starlost is the wrong episode to start with—that’s why you’ve never heard of it.

Never assume that they’ll love a fandom just because it features actors they like in other properties.

You like Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone, right? You’re going to love Demolition Man!

If you think Han Solo was a great character, wait until you meet Rick Deckard.

Yeah, John de Lancie was great in Next Gen, but he was completely awesome as Discord.

Pro-tip: Don’t try to sell someone on Interstellar just because Elyes Gable from Scorpion has a bit part in it.

Never use their non-geek interests to introduce them to your fandom.

You like weddings? You’re going to love season three of Game of Thrones.

Politics is your thing? You’ve got to see the senate scenes in Attack of the Clones.

Pro-Tip: Don’t try to sell them on the Saw movies based on their interest in anatomy.

Never tell them they’ll like a fandom because they remind you of one of the characters.

You’d like Sherlock. He’s a high-functioning sociopath too!

You remind me of Baltar in Battlestar Galactica. He can’t be trusted either.

You’re smart and ambitious. You’re going to go places—just like Kahn in Star Trek!

Pro-tip: Never compare their family to the Starks.

Never, ever try to convince them by showing off your superior knowledge.

Lord of the Rings? Well, the books are better of course. I suppose, though, the films are a good introduction for most average people.

Well, Star Trek is really just Horatio Hornblower in space. I guess if you need flashy special effects and goofy sci-fi stuff you can start there. If you really want good stories, though, you should read the novels by C.S. Forester or Patrick O’Brian.

Pro-tip: No matter what you think, your in-depth knowledge of fan fiction won’t help you convince someone to love your fandom.

Kevin Cummings

Kevin Cummings

Contributing Writer at Area of Effect
Kevin grew up reading the ABCs—Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke. Since then he's expanded his fandoms to include films, television, web series and any other geek property he can find.

He has been married to an extraordinarily patient woman for more than three decades and they have two adult sons. Kevin also has entirely too many DVD boxes with the words "Complete Series" on the cover. He enjoys exploring themes of faith through his fandoms.
Kevin Cummings

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