Saturday, September 19, 2009

1,000 True Fans

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 derivitive 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?


  1. yeah, I was going to say, I don't have $100 worth of stuff to sell!! when my book comes out in a year, I suppose they could each buy it 7 times...that would be about $100...

  2. Unless you're Stephanie Meyer or Dan Brown with LOADS of fans, it's pretty hard to make a decent living as a writer, imo. But if you expanded yourself with a website that also included something else, something that mirrored the theme of your book(s), you could set up a spot for people to donate or purchase that. Blogs are like newsletters and provide a service (especially your WD-40 tip :).

  3. You and Kevin Kelly give us a lot to think about. And since a writer's royalty isn't 100%, the profit isn't even as high as the stats here. If I made $1 on each book sold, I'd have to sell 100,000 copies to make $100,000. Whew-ee!

  4. Anonymous6:37 PM

    Hey Marsha,

    This is probably the first time I checked your blog to see what it was all about. Low and behold, the first person commenting, was my niece, Tamara Hart Heiner. Wow, I wonder if she knows you're my good friend just down the street and in my branch at church.


  5. Interesting, hmmm.

  6. Anonymous10:39 AM

    Well, I check you out every time you post a new post, but hadn't realized I was not a fan. Now I are! Are you ready for that? I never sat down and counted how many books had to be sold to reach a goal of l,000 or l00,000. Help me! That old saying is: it is not the arrival but the journey that is important. Once you reach your goal you have to make another one.
    lol Barbara B - hopeandme.


I welcome your comments.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...