Andrew J Brandt
1000 True Fans
I met with a friend and fellow creative in my city, Derek Porterfield (Petrichor Company), over coffee the other day and we got on the topic of content creation and the internet.
The way the internet has democratized not only content creation, but content distribution has completely changed the way we are able to promote ourselves. That we are able to reach an endless amount of people who show an interest in the things we do, the things we make (for instance, thriller novels in my case) is a testament to the power of a connected world.
Just twenty years ago, if you were a person in a city of 120,000 who had an interest in fly fishing, you may be the only person in that city with that specific interest. It would be hard for you to not only acquire the goods and devices to facilitate that hobby, but you wouldn't have anyone else to discuss your hobby with. You were alone.
Today, however, the most obscure interest online is just one click away from the most popular. Anything is available for purchase and it could be on your front stoop in two days. My books are one click away from King's. Or Brown's. Or Flynn's. The internet and the democratization of content distribution have completely changed the way indie creators like myself can reach our audience. We are able to directly communicate with and converse with our fans and, more importantly, reach out to potential future fans.
The music industry has already seen this, to dramatic affect. Due to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music, musicians now make very little money from actual album sales. Instead, their income is from touring. Shows. Merchandise. But, social media has also allowed those bands and musicians to communicate directly with their fanbase, to reach out to and capture their True Fans.
And there's the conceit of the idea of the True Fan for indie creators. All it takes is 1,000 True Fans to invest $100/year in your content, whether that's tickets to a concert, streaming your album, buying your artwork, or, in my case, purchasing your books. $100 over the course of 12 months. That's a couple of book releases. Maybe a short story. The audiobooks. The True Fan will invest in what you're doing, what you're creating because they're who you're catering to. Something about your content, your art, your creation, speaks to them.
You don't have to be mega-famous to find 1000 True Fans, either. Due to the wide reach of the internet, you can find those people who are interested in what you're creating and cater to them. Communication is key here. To be able to have a personal relationship with every True Fan is important but also easily doable. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have made it incredibly easy for fans to reach out to their favorite artists/musicians/writers and for those creators to engage directly with those fans.
I know I already have a few True Fans already. If that's you—if you've taken your hard-earned money and spent it on my books, if you follow me on Facebook/Instagram and you wait for each release, you're the True Fan, and I am eternally indebted to you. Thank you.