Friday, May 17, 2013

1,000 True Fans

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.

Nice!

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.

17 comments:

  1. Ooh! I love this post, Marsha! You've given me a great deal to think about, not only for myself, but for a couple of my clients. I will have to go read that piece! hugs~

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Kari. There is a lot to think about in this arena.

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  2. Replies
    1. Those 1,000 fans need to be nurtured. I have to do more, but it's very hard to do everything, and choices must be made. Do I network, or do I write?

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  3. Now we see why it is important to start your fan base before you get published, though many don't start that way. It just helps get the numbers quicker.
    And aint WD40 great! Thanks.

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    1. Yes, Renae, it really helps to get a head start with potential readers. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I realy appreciate this blog, Marsha. Now I need to finish my books, get about 500 children fans to ask their parents to spend at least $20.00 on my books, and I'd have about $10,000 a year to suplement my hubbys income. But another 500 would let me get my teeth fixed. Oh and if they each spent $40 I could go see my grandkids in Utah more often......No, I like your idea of 1000 fans spending $100 each a lot better!! I need to get busy writing!! Thank you sincerely for all you do, Marsha. You are such an inspiration to so many.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Carol. It's so important to have products to sell, so get busy!

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  5. Oh that last post was me, Carol Rainbolt.

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  6. It's an interesting thought, although I don't know that I agree with it for authors. Other artists can charge more for their work as they get better, but books cost pretty much the same whether you're producing amazing works of art or drivel. The difference is in how many you can sell, not how much you can charge for them. And very few, if any, authors, are coming out with $100 worth of new books every year. Even those who put out four books a year would only have the opportunity for a True Fan to spend about $60 a year, before subtracting the majority, which goes to the publishing house, etc.

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    1. Of course a quantity of work is necessary for the whole concept to work. I don't expect many authors can do four books a year--and no traditional publisher will put out that many books by one author per year--although I know some super-producers who can produce that many books annually.

      Don't stress about the maths. Just keep writing, and networking as much as you can.

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  7. Interesting Marsha, but I have to agree with Jenn Wilks in the comment just above this one of mine. I published 2 books in 2012 and will have 2 out-of-print books republished in 2013. No way can I manage four books in a year.

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  8. Thanks for this post, Marsha. It's certainly food for thought.

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  9. I think an author needs more than 1,000 true fans to make a living--but every fan helps.

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  10. Interesting . . . now to create writings true fans will truly be fans of--or something like that.

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