Building A Fan Base

I wasn’t going to post today because I’m feeling a bit blah, but then I came across an excellent article on Boing Boing and had to share it with all you creative types.

The article, titled 1,000 True Fans, is written by Kevin Kelly and speaks to the importance of building a fan base to writers and artists and other creative type.

Rather than me try to explain what is in the article, here is an excerpt:

A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans…

It all makes a tremendous amount of sense and is one of the reasons why I keep a blog in the first place. I figure by me writing here every day, sharing my work and making friends with all of you, maybe someday when the impossible happens, you all might be interested in picking up what I create. Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen.

Kevin Kelly says if you add one “True Fan” a day, that would take three years, which isn’t that long really.  The key is that the art you produce needs to be good, to earn those “True Fans”, but I think something like a blog goes a long way in keeping those “True Fans” interested, and maybe earning a few more.

What do you all think?

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11 thoughts on “Building A Fan Base

  1. I’ve bought 5 books from 3 different authors just because I read their blogs and became somewhat friends with them.

    I’ve also written reviews of most of that which may have lead somebody else to their blog to potentially become fans and readers of their books.

    I just read about some musician the other day that instead of going through the normal production channels is making a CD herself and asking the fans to precontribute. She has received something like $50,000+ in contributions without even making the album yet just because she managed to build those real fans.

  2. I think it’s the dream of having ‘true fans’ in that respect that keeps a lot of artists going…it certainly encourages me to keep striving in the direction of betterness anyway.

    I could go on for hours about how really it’s all about the art…but in all honesty I’d really like to make a living at it…I’d never even dream of making huge amounts of money, or being massively successful, but 1000 fans is an idea that’s attainable, plus you get the feeling of actually connecting with people, which I reckon might just be one of the best feelings on the planet.

    It could certainly happen, I’m not giving up hope just yet anyway. 🙂

  3. Hmm….I don’t know.
    I see the making connections thing, and agree it is good to build a base of people, who are interested in you and your work.
    And yes if you did get published, I mean WHEN you get published, I do plan on buying the book (that is assuming I can buy it and still afford groceries for the week. I may wait, as I often do, for paperback).
    So a fan yes, but not of the caliber the article suggests having. I will not be buying the mug, and the t-shirt, and/or the whatever else. Nothing personal about that, I don’t buy anyone else’s mugs and t-shirts either. No person or cause celebrity. I don’t consider myself to be a mega-fan of anyone (though I did stand in line waiting for midnight to buy JK Rowlings books).
    While logically it is easy to see the value in having Mega Fans, I do not understand how one could actively create such die hard adoration?
    I mean establishing interest, and getting people to like you, that I can see (and that your blog is certainly doing), I mean you offer up information about who you are, and what you are doing, and people either gravitate toward that or they don’t. But mega fans, people who just can’t get enough of you, want any information, any little snippet of thought the second it is uttered, what process would that be? That seems to me to be something “other” not something that one can intentionally create, but something that just happens. But I don’t know a thing about it, so maybe there are strategies.
    I don’t know, I certainly hope to one day be published and to have fans, but I think mega fans, might make me mega-uneasy. of course then again, depends on the age group, YA mega-fans, which I think it your market, wouldn’t make me uneasy at all. Does that mean you should develop another blog that appeals to that age group, to try to get them interested in your characters and ideas now?

  4. I am a true fan of many authors who I will religiously buy all their books, even the no good ones. I think that any author must establish a loyal base of true fans if they are to succeed in the business. All you need is that one book that really speaks to the right reader to make them a fan for life – as long as what you write afterwards still makes them have faith in you, then you have won a true fan.

  5. I do think blogs, when well-written, entertaining and/or informative, can go a long way to winning fans even before you’re published. My marketing guy at my publishing house has commented a couple of times how happy he is I already have a web presence in place. Do I expect everyone who reads my blog to become a die hard fan and buy everything I write? I wish, but no. The best I can hope for is that the investment I’ve put into networking, blogging and posting my fiction online will make people more willing to take a chance on my first novel. Whether they buy the second novel, I suspect, will depend on whether or not they like the first. I guess my point in this ramble is that building a fan base is the result of a cumulative effort. Blogging will help, but there’s a lot more to gaining and keeping true fans than that.

  6. A blog can be a real connection between author and readers.
    I’m not as supportive as Ello – I read into the book and if it’s not to my liking I’m not buying it. Or perhaps, I am not that ‘true fan’ type.

  7. Thanks for the comments everybody. They all make sense. I certainly don’t think people should blindly buy things because someone has a blog, but a good book combined with a blog can make a strong connection between an author and a fan.

  8. I would be scared if someone set a Google Alert for my name! There is this “media figure”, who shall remain nameless, who has set up something like that for her own name. I happened to mention her in my blog in a *slightly* negative context last year and she left an angry comment! Whoa……….! Actually, I found it quite funny, but who does that?!

    Most of the time I find myself hoping that only a few people read my blog, you know, nice people who like writing, nobody who’s going to get heavy or critical. I even worry sometimes that blogging will reduce my chances of getting published. What if a publisher googled my name, found my blog, didn’t like it and decided not to publish my book?! (Yeah, like they have that time!) I suppose what is most important is the blog is fun to write, and I agree with what you say above that a good book + good blog makes a strong connection with readers. I need to stop worrying.

    Oh, and I’ll buy your book too!

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