Bob Baker's Book Promotion Blog

1,000 True Fans to Make a Living as an Author

When Seth calls something the "best riff of the year," people notice. And lots have.

I'm talking about Kevin Kelly's two-day-old blog post titled "1,000 True Fans," which has struck a powerful nerve online. He puts his own spin on what I and many others have been saying for years about succeeding in the arts in this modern era.

I've talked about this in my live workshops and touched on it recently when I wrote about tapping music fans for funding and the benefit of having 10,000 people on your mailing list.

But this concept of attracting what Kelly calls True Fans (a diehard subset of a larger group of Lesser Fans) is very intriguing. Here's an excerpt:

Assume conservatively that your True Fans will each spend one day's wages per year in support of what you do. That "one-day wage" is an average, because of course your truest fans will spend a lot more than that. Let's peg that per diem each True Fan spends at $100 per year. If you have 1,000 fans that sums up to $100,000 per year, which minus some modest expenses, is a living for most folks.

One thousand is a feasible number. You could count to 1,000. If you added one fan a day, it would take only three years. True Fanship is doable. Pleasing a True Fan is pleasurable, and invigorating. It rewards the artist to remain true, to focus on the unique aspects of their work, the qualities that True Fans appreciate.

The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. They are giving you their support directly. Maybe they come to your house concerts, or they are buying your DVDs from your website, or they order your prints from Pictopia. As much as possible you retain the full amount of their support. You also benefit from the direct feedback and love.

Again, this all dovetails with the indie message I've been hammering home for years. You don't have to be a household name to be successful. Thousands of authors, musicians, artists, photographers, filmmakers, bloggers and more make a nice living serving their unique slice of the population. I proudly count myself among their ranks.

These self-empowered creative people work outside the traditional structure and usually make smart use of the Internet to bypass middleman roadblocks and take their craft directly to the end user: the fan. Reach enough fans this way and serve them well ... and you will eventually have a solid list of True Fans -- people who will reward you often with their time, attention and money.

Read Kelly's entire blog post and the reaction to it around the Net. Then get busy building your fan base ... and serving them well!

-Bob

Guerrilla Music Marketing HandbookCheck out Guerrilla Music Marketing Handbook, the classic guide to indie music promotion. Now revised and updated, with four new chapters on Internet and Web 2.0 music marketing.

Derek Sivers, president of CD Baby, calls it "The most directly applicable, start-tomorrow, creatively inspiring book I've ever seen on promoting your music!" Get more details here.

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