Did anyone else participate in summer reading programs as a kid? Sitting down with an engaging book was enough of a reward then (and still is), but I remember feeling excited and incentivized by earning points for stickers, bookmarks, and the best prize of all — free pizza. Nothing could keep me from burning through stories when there was pizza on the line. Del Rey’s Star Wars Action Team (SWAT) has brought those feelings back with their Fancorps Community. I might not get pizza, but I can earn neat Star Wars loot and connect with fellow fans while I’m racking up points. I call that a win.
SWAT was announced last summer and has been up and running for about eight months; they’ve recruited over 1,500 fans. Programs like this are one of the reasons Star Wars fandom is terrific. Sure, Del Rey gets word-of-mouth advertising from those participating, but it’s also another way to build and reinforce the community. I talked with some fans enrolled in SWAT to get their feelings about the project.