by Marsha Ward*
In my perusal of Twitter links, I ran across a reference to "1,000 True Friends", and decided to find out where it came from and what it could mean for me.
I tracked it down to an original post called "1,000 True Fans" on The Technium, written by Kevin Kelly, an "original thinker," blogger, and technology writer. I'm sure he is many other things, as we all are, but let's just call him what I already have, for the sack of brevity.
Kelly asserts that a creator--such as an artist, musician, or author, among others who create works of art--needs to acquire and maintain only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.
He defines a True Fan as one who will purchase anything and everything you produce. If your 1,000 True Fans each spend an average of $100 a year on your work, your income will amount to $100,000 a year. Minus your expenses and taxes, that's a living for most folks.
I probably spend $1,000 to $1,500 a year on books. I don't think the average person does that, but I hope some of my readers would spend some of their book money on my novels.
But do I have anywhere near 1,000 True Fans?
Let's see. As I write this** I have 559 Facebook friends, 161 Fans on my FB Fan Page, 223 Followers on Twitter, and 69 Friends on Goodreads (although I'm sure a lot of those are duplicates), so, in theory, I'm nearing the 1,000 goal. But here's a question: Are they True Fans by definition? Do they each buy $100 worth of my product each year?
Well, no. Not all the friends I've mentioned above care that I write novels. Some are chums from long-ago school days. Some are extended family members I barely know. Some are friends or relatives of my friends. Besides that, I don't have $100 worth of product to sell to my True Fans, even if they each paid into my wild fantasy of making a living from writing. I have much work to do to create product for fans, and to make alternative and
derivative works available to my True Fans.
Kelly mentions that once you've found your 1,000 True Fans, you need to nurture them. You have to maintain direct contact with them. Technology makes this possible. Tweets and blogs and emails and Facebook help a great deal.
I still have a long way to go to achieve a fandom of 1,000 True Fans, but I hope I'm on my way.
Oh, and did you know WD-40 can be used to untangle jewelry chains?
* first published on "The Ink Ladies" blog, 9-23-2009
** Updated figures: 1,179 Facebook friends, 728 Fans on my Facebook Author Page (plus 141 Fans on a Page for my novel series), 932 Twitter Followers, and 464 Goodreads Friends. Still not making a living from writing, though.