1,000 True Fans

In my research in marketing and crowdfunding, I came across an article that I’ve heard about in the past.

Written by Kevin Kelly, this is an article titled “1,000 True Fans”.  You can read the article in its entirety, but I think he makes a great point.

Some of us…okay, a lot of us out there aim to make a huge blockbuster hit.  We want to create the next Star Wars, the next Mickey Mouse, and so on.  

That can be hard or outright impossible for some.  So what can we do?  According to Kevin Kelly, there’s another way:

One solution is to find 1,000 True Fans. While some artists have discovered this path without calling it that, I think it is worth trying to formalize. The gist of 1,000 True Fans can be stated simply:

A creator, such as an artist, musician, photographer, craftsperson, performer, animator, designer, videomaker, or author – in other words, anyone producing works of art – needs to acquire only 1,000 True Fans to make a living.

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.

Some of you may laugh at that and think 1,000 true fans means nothing compared to the millions out there for licensed properties like Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and so on.  But let’s crunch some numbers…

Let’s say that a true fan spends US$100 a year on Sunnyville merchandise (comics, trade paperbacks, prints, t-shirts, etc).  What is 100 times 1,000?  That makes 100,000.  So under this formula, that could mean US$100,000 a year!

This has always been in the cards for me.  One of my big goals has been to cultivate more fans.  Stay tuned to the blog for more news and how I plan to do that.

Plus make sure you read Kevin Kelly’s article on 1,000 true fans – he knows what he’s talking about!

UPDATE: It has come to my attention via Steve Masseroni that Kevin Kelly’s principle of “1,000 true fans” works for sure.  How so?  Kevin Kelly and Steve Masseroni apparently used it to fund a graphic novel via Kickstarter!  The work in question is called Silver Cord and it’s worth checking out.

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About Max West

I am a freelance artist and the creator of Sunnyville Stories, an independent slice-of-life comics series.
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