Manual Tim OBrien: A Critical Companion (Critical Companions to Popular Contemporary Writers)

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Harold Pinter : Poetics of Silence. Author s : James R. Hollis; Harry T. Thanks for putting this concept into concrete form! The Internet saves starving artists and keeps them off the street at the same time! Great post Kevin. You made a very interesting point. My question is how easy is to fin those people that will be waiting to buy your next thing, spend a wage per year on you, etc. Either financial poverty or worse: the poverty of a talent unfulfilled. Moving towards developing financial relationships with is certainly not a difficult task, but a observable goal; thanks for the clarity.

One rich True Fan is worth infinitely many True Fans who have no money to give you patronage. So appeal to the rich. Make your art a luxury good. Also, this strategy is more likely to succeed for certain types of art than for others. Hard to imagine it working well for something like music, since the appreciation of music is almost inherently social. Going to concerts is a social thing. Furthermore, music has strong ethnic and subcultural affiliations.

So, what music you listen to depends on what other people are listening to. This creates a sort of positive feedback effect that makes big bands bigger and small bands smaller. Thus, bands usually wind up hitting it fairly big at least regionally or within a certain subculture or staying pretty small maybe they play gigs covering popular music at local bars, but nobody buys their CDs or cares much for their original stuff. For authors, though, the same reason why the idea fails miserably for music make it more practical for literature.

Reading is almost inherently anti-social — you have to do it alone. True, people do like to read the same things as other people, so that they can talk about what they read, or also to look smart or cool by reading certain books, but the effect is not nearly as strong as it is for music.

So for writers, having a small base of isolated fans is a tenable strategy. I am a small business owner. We do marketing for a niche industry. Typically I would print and mail 10, catalogs in a year. I would travel and do five trade shows across the country. While we could expand to I wanted to communicate how important our most active customers were. I communicated this in a letter sent with the catalog.

I included a special incentive offer to them. I promised more benefits such as e-mails — information based, not just sales notices -. I created events in their markets for free seminars. I find the key is to give more than you get. In essence I will share information on how they can be more successful whether they work with our company or not, even to the extent of teaching them how to do things they typically pay us to do. For the most part they still decide to have us do the heavy lifting, but I feel it is a stronger relationship.

My goal is to focus our efforts on increasing our average dollar per account. I have long advised our clients to do the same thing. I do think it has practical applications no matter how big or small the company. Your observations are insightful and, it seems to me, mostly accurate. Not everyone will be able, or want to do all these things, and the variables, e.

Though I am not a designer, every year I design on my computer and have printed in China! And every year the True Fans come out of the woodwork to purchase them. I have been working in a creative field for over ten years, and have had around ten thousand customers. A friend of mine shared this post, and I am absolutely encouraged by the ideas presented. I am a woodturner. I turn exotic bowls, wine stoppers, and make small items for wedding favors.

I think you are right in that 1, true fans is something to shoot for and should make an artist sustainable. I also believe that 1, true fans will obviously lead to more than 1, true fans due to just sheer mass. I would say, online I have between 50 and fans. However, I did do a social media experiment where as by I needed to make a last ring payment for my girlfriends ring to ask her to Marry me the night before Podcamp Toronto. I sold more than I needed in bowls and it was the busiest 4 days of my life.

I went to an art show and wrote my name on every mailing list sheet I could get a hold of. I was never contacted once by any of them. Seth was interviewed by Mitch Joel at Tedd, and I listened to the podcast. The gist was that the barrier to entry has been dropped. You could have an obscure craft that was in demand by people 50 years ago, but these people were located all over the world.

That artist would probably have starved. These days with the barriers broken, those 5, Fans people, purchasers of your product can keep an artist thriving! I guess, I see my self as that obscure artist who does beautiful work, but not always in the mainstream eye. I am very committed, and I work smart. Thank you for the post Keith Burtis.

As both an independant luthier guitar builder and a long time digital marketer I find this post to be an outstanding perspective with far reaching implications. Wow…quite thought provoking. Definitely going to be on my mind for a bit while I try to figure out how to work it into my business. As entrepreneurs we are exhibiting Self-Leadership and the goal of true fans is believable and an important step in our development and evolution.

Thanks so much for sharing! Debra Jarvis. I think this is te most compelling factor on the long tail… we don;t have to reside in the infinite to benefit. I shared this article with a friend , who then proceeded to pre-finance his next album with the Fundable approach. So it works. For music, at least. Comics have quite a low per-unit cost. This is absolutely brilliant — bang on. As an artist myself, I always wondered exactly how I would fit into the Long Tail.

Thanks so much for sharing this. My website is about overcoming addiction. I currently have 40 true fans RSS subscribers…. But because my particular niche is so young in the online world, it is prime real estate. Having a 1, true fans represents a turning point with a blog such as mine.

It starts building on itself, and creates leverage for other projects and monetization options. Awesome ideas here, thanks for the excellent post! My space has been very good for me to get interest and alot of love of my music…but turning that interest into true fans, well I could do with help on that! However, I wonder if more thought could be paid to this note of caution:. Even if they have a manager to help be the front person for their fan-cultivation needs, there are still more marketing responsibilities required of artists even indie ones than in the past. And this weirds out many introverted, yet ingenious, creators.

Will nearly every artist of the future have to be a little bit more marketing-minded, a little more in touch with their fans? And, if so, what will that do to art? Will the world simply miss out more often on the next Salingers, Jandeks and Pynchons? Great quality over for me everytime, the high yield hi ya type of client. Seth Godins calls it the tribe, think the long tail is something everyone should have. John by hammer and hand great works do stand by pen and thought best words are wrought by cam and light he shoots it right. You mention fundable. Their site is really well put together, community-driven, and is effortlessly integrated with a lot of social networking stuff to make it easier to spread the word.

I want 1, True Fans too, that sounds like a big number, but i will try my best to achive that aim! I have some websites, but no one reached. I think my discount wedding dresses will reach that aim soon! Great post, Kevin! And as you mentioned, too, the chances of getting there are slim to none. Kevin, Thanks for the great post. It gave me a new approach on how I really should be tailoring my marketing campaigns as an independent filmmaker. However, I will go over it again later this weekend. You have many comments — both good and not so good. If nothing else, your approach to the marketing of this is quite unique and has generated a great deal of interest and traffic.

Good for you! Selling out at its apex. Needs to be done? Kevin, thanks for verbalizing what I was trying to tell my business partner for some months now. Since true fans are now hidden somewhere in between the massive amount of free downloaders of music that are scattered around the Internet world. We know first hand that artists struggle with day jobs in order to perfect their craft and continually feed the habit of music.

This requires a second read and is achievable at any level and can have many applications. It allows someone to target, start small and build a network of true fans. Very possibly every guitar lick Jerry Garcia played live both the good ones and the horrible ones are available somewhere for free, but all that did was encourage fans to go out and participate in the live shows, which is where most bands make their money anyway. This comment also applies to the other post you linked about Robert Rich. Marketing is still important in this. The internet makes it easier for people to self-identify as part of your target audience for being a true fan.

Another story: a business owner noticed most of his owners had a crew cut and were generally conservative, so he went around to the barbers and bought names and addresses of people who get crew cuts and advertised to them successfully. Very interesting post. I was thinking about how to get out of the trap of having to hit it big and this is a pretty good answer. Great article. This is an approach that often gets overlooked, but it is probably the most rewarding for creators who value their work and its results over their own personal fame.

That being said, 1, true fans will last you a lot longer than the standard 15 minutes from 10, bandwagon jumpers…. This is excellent, thank you. I have been meaning to do some more research on understanding the long tail and this is an informative place to begin. This is right on. Most bands dream of getting signed, as an end in itself, not realizing that label money is an extremely expensive loan.

They will be dropped as soon as their sales start to decline. Better to be small, to grow slowly and to have as few middlemen as possible. Plus, given the way music is currently marketed, for those in the genre gaps, directly connecting with core fans is the only way to make a living anyway. Thanks for the blog. Thank you for your thoughts about fans. Great article! Those of us who understand the marketing concept have been saying it all the time.

What you need is a list of people who respond to you and spend money. First time reading your stuff, you can be sure that I will return. Thank you Kevin for this enlightening write-up — for those who like me and my readers who strive to become independent of the existing work system, your ability to have articulated this out is absolutely fantastic. I believe that the greatest outcome of this may go actually well beyond the economic benefit that such people could gain.

It is in fact in our newly conquered ability to do what we really want and what we are inspired to that in my humble opinion will create the biggest impact and the most positive consequences. Identifying and articulating so clearly how those who have something to share can indeed not only survive but also create more wealth and opportunity for themselves and for others is certainly the greatest news you could ever bring here for me. This is a fascinating combination of post and comments.

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I am a visual artist-craftsman working is a very old-fashioned and specialised field. I live by commissions.


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    Most creative artists I know would rather create things than market them, but I think this is because of two main reasons. Firstly you need to learn marketing the same as you need to learn to compose music, paint, perform etc. Secondly most creative people cannot distinguish between the mendacious hype of wall to wall, bad advertising and true marketing, i. I am certain that no matter how shy your are there is a marketing style that will be concomitant with your personality. We all know about the private lives of many singers and seen provocative photographs of them.

    Yet there are also people like Enya who has kept her private life almost entirely to herself. This shows that many different ways work within the same business. You linked Tipjoy as as tip-jar that is an exception to the most common blogger route to monetization: Ads. Links are an interesting micro currency because they are really all about building notoriety to increase the fan base.

    A good example is Instapundit, a lone power blogger. To use your parlance, the blogger network is a recommendation system to bring new lesser fans and hopefully True Fans to a blog. Services that nurture and grow a fan base, connecting fans to content creators in new ways, will grow. MySpace exploded because the connection between musicians and fans scaled perfectly from high school punk bands to major musicians. The former use it as a forum for friends with the latter as a news and information dispersion system.

    A well designed mechanism to allow connections between creators and patrons online needs to scale well across fans categories. A very small number of True Fans can give significant support, some will use tools like Tipjoy to give micro-support, and a great many will simply discover the artist with their work available, distributed, and promoted through the system. Really great post. I doubt that most artists would take the time to gather and manage 1, true fans. You know what happened to cause that? He built himself a home studio!

    Hey, just a correction to the info above regarding Jill Sobule.

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    She was interviewed recently by the Associated Press about her fan-financed CD project www. I started to play music in In those days you could only enter a recording studio when you had a contract. And those were almost impossible to get, especially in Germany, where I live. The music I play instrumental guitar with feel, melody and vocal like expression was never something for the companies.

    They wanted the hits. With the upcoming of home recording, for the first time I was able to make the music audible that I was carrying inside. My first self produced debut Western Skies was released Of course we had no chance to get a wider audience, although there was some airplay and brilliant reviews in the magazines.

    Since then we have released 10 albums, and it is only now that we get fans all over the world, from asia to scandinavia. But today I know it is possible to get in contact with our future fans, and they can be much more than , as instrumental music is beyond anylanguage. Even if at times, the next step is not clear or there is a block somewhere. I like this model in thinking about creating business. As a consultant, the smaller bite-sized products are often easier for a prospective client to consider than the year -long transformation package.

    That is true. But everybody dreams big. That is why nobody will go for a true fan policy. I view with wonder both the adulation and controversy created by your article. I love how it quantifies and places a finite although slightly arbitary on the concept. So many times wonderful ideas fall short in their ability to convert to practical application without work by the user. Will let you know when I have successfully used this model! A mix of the two is an interesting concept, though. Simply a great post! This is a fantastic idea, but it occurs to me that this idea has particular challenges when it comes to musicians.

    Primarily among them, to make enough product to sell every year. But also that most musicians are in bands, rather than singular, which makes the numbers difficult to reach. So, my question is: do you focus on getting your fans to buy more, or do you focus on getting more fans? I have never been shooting for stardom, but living above the poverty level is my main goal.

    I have accomplished this [living above the poverty line from my work] but it has taken 10 years to get there. With this model, I know it could work a lot faster. Lots to think about, thanks for that. It was great reading the article and comments. You can use your True Fans not only for support but for new innovations. Thank you for sharing this. I appreciate it. Smiles to you, Yvonne. Kevin: My brother sent me this post and I loved it.

    Kevin- Great post! Setting goals for numbers of fans at each level and then customizing a set of money-making offerings for each level can help the artists build a sustainable following without selling their souls to the record companies. The direct connection tools of the Web 2. Mine too of course. I think your principles sound good on paper, but the economics in your first example are off.

    It is VERY hard for a musician to get even his truest fans to spend a hundred dollars a year. Those ARE true fans. Obsessed fans may spend a hundred on merchandise a year, but even the most established indie bands with twenty or forty year careers have a limited number of those.

    I should point out that getting three or five thousand good fans is extremely difficult without financial backing loans from somewhere — like a bank or a record company. In the meantime he had contracts and promotion from great, big, eveil and greedy companies. Publishing is still one of the areas in art where the contracts are actually OK. VERY interesting thought. My wife and I are looking at starting a landscape photography business and I see a lot of wisdom in the True Fans.

    Used to work near a Thomas Kincaid gallery and you are most right about how much True Fans are willing to spend. Their devotion is aweinspiring. Seth pointed me in your direction. I love the idea that seems like a doable number. The obscurity associated with the publishing industry coupled with my recent arrival in my fan niche left me feeling doubtful about potential success. Thanks for moving me forward. Regards, Joe. The fans idea would be a great model for us to get money from donations.

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    I think you have hit the nail on the head here. This is a really fascinating report. I am an artist and journalist and have for three years been out on my own as a sole proprietor running an indie music label company, a consultancy that takes me around the world and the founder of a non-profit charity. Maybe I have 1, true fans but not in any single one of these jobs I perform. So it is interesting to also consider running multiple solo ventures as a business model.

    I started the non-profit to give back to students and pays me nothing. The one thing you need to have is a lot of patience and remain nimble if this is your calling. Things change fast. The proverbial nail has been hit on the head. A small group of artists here in Chicago have been talking around this belief for some time. The trick is: how can part-time artists find enough avenues to reach the true fans. For a songwriter, live shows provides the greatest potential to capture true fans. In my experience, live shows yield about a ratio.

    So, if you believe this formula, after playing to about k people will you find true fans. Great post again Kevin. Fundable is a good tip. Create relationships directly with the fans. Talk to them, listen to them, and offer them products, directly. Produce quality stuff that I can be proud of.

    Think long term. I try to make things that I can hopefully be proud of years from now. And have probably made a good return on that effort. Thanks for this. The other is not. And, as your argument so expertly outlines, is unnecessary as well. This is EXACTLY what pharmaceutical marketers do when we work to connect with patients who will tell other patients about our products.

    I wrote a lengthy post about Advocates on my blog. On this one, I seem to agree with you. I have my own thoughts on this, which I am writing online. What you described as true fans seems related to what I call success 2. We are entering the longtail world, where we will have so much variety in everything. But we still want the fame and fortune of mass production age — the billionaire, the world star.

    In the world of longtail, especially in the mass niche kind of longtail, we will have more of smaller successes. Rather than a company of 10, generating M dollars of profits, we will have a one-person business earning K a year. This is a brilliant piece of work. I just printed it out for my teenage daughter who wants to be an artist. BTW, your post made Boing Boing. Superb article. Kevin, I was referred to your article by Tim Ferriss from his video blog, who made it clear this was all I needed to read.

    I am very glad I did, and will enjoy creating True Fans. Personal coaches, who are creative entrepreneurs, use this approach. Actually the number of True Fans needed for a coach to prosper is probably much less than , because coaching clients pay a pretty high fee to work one-on-one with their coach.

    Perhaps we could call these Ultra True Fans. Fortunately for coaches, most of us love nurturing our fans. As a former choreographer, I must say that for me, co-creating with my clients is much more fun than being an artist! These Superfriends are probably companies. They buy a song, they hire you to score something…you get the idea. Beach balls are bright, seen everywhere and require a tremendous amount of air to keep them afloat. One major prick, and they run into trouble…. Ball bearings are small, continually polished and while they are hard to find but leave a huge impression.

    What a world. And despite the parallel of interests and ideas, I just found this post! Goes to show how hard it is to connect with people. Anyway, hello! Let me add a link to my most recent idea, an application to help true fans track their sponsorships. Cash Making Opportunities — The Beginning The working life is already tough enough, but the worries of being out of work was even tougher.

    The unsecured working environment have prompted me to search the internet for an alternative source of extra income so that I could learn how to Make Money Work for me and be Financially Independent. I listed down a number of Free Internet Business Opportunity Ideas while researching ways how people earn money online while working-from-home……. The catch, though, is to have a remarkable product that people will get excited about.

    I really really enjoyed this. As someone who is trying to think outside of the box when it comes to making my creative mark in my world it was insightful and fresh. Fabulous post. If nothing else, having a goal of 1, true fans gives a person a realistic, attainable goal. Thank you for such an insightful and logical post, it is truly appreciated. You put a lot of thought into this. Thanks for the clarity. This makes being a creator in the digital age a possibility, rather than a problem.

    I sell an average of 4, books collections of my online comic, Schlock Mercenary per year to pretty much the same two- to three-thousand people. I pre-sell the book, and with each release I pay the bills for about six months at a go. Very insightful article. I have sold hand made eps, and my main site has subscribers and I receive regular letters. In a few short months I can already see the concentric circles forming. This might be the secret to knowing how small I can stay and still make a living. This makes really good sense to me as it gives artists a tangible goal to work towards and lessens the fear of the unknown.

    Sales were unsuccessful, and he abandoned the project. Thanks to Swen for the data on Coulton. I am very eager to get more examples of those who are doing this. Maybe I can not speak English at least express myself more. Sesli Chat. One of this site led me here. Bearing in mind the shape of the long tail, the Digital Art Auction reveals the revenue available at all price points and the artist can pick the price they want, e. QuidMusic is a simpler variation, e. I may only have true fans. But I would guess I have several hundred average fans. With the prices of original art this has allowed me to do quite well the last few years.

    Ever year I gain some new fans, and every year I can expect certain customers to want to buy a painting again. Alot of my sales are to repeat customers who I would consider True Fans. My goal is always winning over peole who are just learning about me. And the best part is that I am able to continue painting the pictures I want to. Great Article.

    For a fee, I will create an album more like an EP, actually of music for someone, and then transfer all of the rights to the composition and recording to them. They can do whatever they want with it, including put their own name on it and sell it although I warn that doing so will lower the value. I charge on a sliding scale based upon income and yes, I request proof of income and political orientation.

    I started this experiment in and in that period, these commissions have been my best source of income as an artist. Kevin, thanks for putting your concept into words, and doing it brilliantly. Oh, wait—this might not actually prove that. Two years ago I decided to go directly to readers online, figuring that if enough people enjoyed my writing I would eventually earn a living from it—and probably make more money than I would have through the traditional publishing route.

    I write and post mystery novels on my website at a rate of two to three chapters per week. The most successful currently model for commercial photography appears to be microstock sales. The superficial purpose of compensating artists is so that they can make a living creating the art that is enjoyed by others. A more profound purpose is to encourage the continued production of valued art for the benefit of society as a whole. A problem with the patronage model is that support of a patron turns the artist into the servant of the patron.

    The creativity of patron supported artists has traditionally been manipulated and directed by the whims of their patrons. Look at the centuries of religious art produced while the church was the primary patron of artists. In an ideal world, the free market rewards creators to the extent they produce art that is valued by art consumers.

    The current dominance of the major record labels is a legacy of the limitations of the old brick and mortar technology. It took time for physical media to be manufactured, shipped, stocked, and purchased. The original justification for copyright monopolies was to provide time for creative works to reach consumers through the relatively slow production and distribution channels.

    The legacy record labels make a lot of noise about digital distribution depriving artists of fair compensation. The problem with this claim is that the legacy recording labels have exploited their control over the traditional brick and mortar distribution of physical media to largely eliminate the compensation of creators for their recordings.

    Only a tiny percentage of artists benefit financially from recordings of their performances. Most artists are obliged to sign over all rights to their recorded performances to the record label. The primary benefit for most creators of having a recording in retail store is the promotional value for selling tickets to live performances. One of the primary functions of free markets is to create alternatives to inefficient industries. The inherent costs and constraints of the traditional recording industry have created strong incentives for the market to find better alternatives.

    The legacy recording industry is attempting to frustrate the natural functions of a free market in order to preserve its ability to abuse that market. One of the problems that the Internet is quite capable of solving is the compensation of creators. Consumers bid what they would be willing to pay for an advance limited edition enhanced value copy of the work. A yield calculation determines the price point that will return the best total yield to the creator gross revenue vs number of copies. A successful auction in effect collectively purchases limited rights to copy and distribute the recording, for the public domain.

    Each successful bidder receives an enhanced value copy at the price point before the recording becomes available to anyone else — they have a short period of time to recover their bid investment by reselling copies of their copy. The creator gets compensated up-front, their some rights to their recording become public domain, and those who facilitated the transfer are able to recover their costs from secondary consumers. Since rights to copy and distribute the recording have been transferred to the public domain by the auction, music piracy is transformed into a highly effective distribution and publicity system.

    The current system provides little more than publicity for the vast majority of creators. A rights auction provides creators with greater direct earnings from their recordings, allows them to retain greater persistent rights to their work, and enables a far more effective means of publicity, than the legacy record labels. According to the Center Brooklyn has 22, creative self-employed workers -independent artists, writers, photogrpahers, jewewly makers, designers etc. I also think your point is broader than artists. Really great read Kevin and conceptually it sounds cool.

    Note that the budget is fictional only for the purposes of the argument, and in reality, no budget is set by the customers and instead they purchase primarily on impulse. I would guesstimate the participants buy based on where the greatest return comes from. The greatest return socially and the one that helps solidify their position in a group and that may help attract a potential partner.

    Whether we like it or not, our decisions are driven by more crude mechanisms than often recognised and the opportunity to identify with a group or fit within a certain convention play their part. Customers would buy based on music they want to identify with, that maximizes their social potential within a group — conversations about the latest album, or opportunities to see the act live and opportunities to interact with others who share similar tastes. The power of popularity through MTV, Youtube and promotion online is also obviously huge. For these reasons I reckon those that achieve true fans probably go on to acquire 10k, 20k, k plus true fans who spend a good amount of their fictional budget aligning with artists or groups.

    A thousand is a lot to shoot for. Right now I would be happy with just I can see how a thousand true fans would be the perfect number, but how to get that good? The buzzwords in marketing these days of selling a story or experience is overhyped, but applies here for the 1, True Fans. Part of reason I bought an Android phone over an iPhone is that I love its values and its story. These things are not to be found on his website, though. Right now I engage with a very few corporate types about four who value me very highly to get to that K — actually more than that, as expenses to find and satisfy them are pretty high.

    Am I the only one who finds fault in this plan based on the expectation that the artist live AND fund their own work on that annual income? It means multiple releases per year, at the very least. Sorry to be a downer, but this is not realistic. Perhaps someone who does it for several artists. This article is just perfect, it adds a piece to the puzzle on how to get things rolling.

    So my biggest obstacle right now is a very fundamental, basic problem- exposure. I have set up online galleries at the usual artist promoting websites, but my work is lost amongst thousands of other artists. An interesting article but I think unrealistic for most starting and even established solo artists. Even though I have had a website since mid 90s and know the web tech well I enjoy programming almost as much as art making the process of promoting my work has been enormously difficult for me.

    Networking on social networks, social bookmarking, participating in blogs, forums, link building, SEO, adwords, etc. Artists, the majority of them, are introverts. They thrive living in their worlds writing, painting, composing, etc and get quickly overwhelmed by too much external input. And hiring a manger is not an option for most artists either. Yet, promotion through social interaction is essential for success.

    My guess is that the primary reason for that is the nature of most artists. They are not made for things like promoting their work, selling it, or maintaining and increasing their fan base through constant social interaction. Artists are made to create art — first and foremost. The purest, most introverted, most maniacally focused artist has to reach his audience somehow. Great artists will have patrons, or managers, who let them work and deal with the messy stuff.

    What a great article! I crowd-funded my debut album online and released it after over people in 25 countries bought it and I am now getting ready to record my next album and with my Future Owners and thousands more followers on Facebook etc I look forward to seeing if the process is a lot faster than last time took 3 years from start to finish.

    If other artists out there want to learn about how I did it and try it for themselves please visit my site www. I am so glad to see that this is a viable way forward for small businesses to grow and succeed without having to spend millions on marketting but rather just invest time in building relationships with the people who matter — our fans!!!

    Feh, superstardom has never been for me. My goal as an artist has always been simple: make a living from my creativity. My challenge is that my current True Fans by one of my products for one event — their wedding. My job has been trying to figure out how to convert these specialized Fans, into fans for all of my work. Take heart fellow artists and see the proof of true fans in action at your local coffee shop, pizza parlor or post office. Really enjoyed this article. I play in a Canadian based band just starting our career in music and the article has given me lots of new ideas about ways we could potentially generate income to keep our creative dreams alive.

    A Companion to the Works of Max Frisch - Boydell and Brewer

    Beyond Art and Music this theory has a lot of application to business as well. The Long Tail is alive and well in the mundane world of Dry Cleaners and gift shops too. A lot of people think that the long tail only is applicable to dispirsed geography. But thanks to the Web Old Joe can compete fair and square with the big box through blogging, email etc…. Very interesting article. I thought it was a neat bit of art and wanted to see the rest, and searched for the artist, and found that she only showed her work at a physical gallery in Tennessee.

    Might have bought something otherwise. I am an Australian Singer who has just launched an interesting concept to fund and promote my new EP. Each purchase gets to include a hover over message with their piece and they get a limited edition copy of the EP when it comes out! Until that essential fan base is established, most artists have to maintain other jobs. Another issue for book authors is that there is nothing like CDBaby for ebooks. I think your concepts are sound. An amazing resource.

    I came across this article through IndieGoGo. Thank you, Kevin. You build on that and pretty soon those 50 booksellers are accounting for solid, dependable backlist sales and an ever-growing frontlist success. I love this idea. Thanks, Kevin. The fans is presented more as the minimum threshold of viability. The Internet expands the effective marketplace for any performer far beyond his local area.

    As for cost overheads — how much does it cost to manufacture and distribute digital copies of a recorded performance? In a good way. Thank you for inspiring a new level of thought and promise. This is a great post and I shared it on my blog. The third year was the year I was in the black, and that was the year that my client base reached about 1, That was the year I quit the day job. Each client had a different rhythm.

    Some only saw me in crisis-mode. Some saw me weekly. Some only worked with me during birthdays or holidays. The exact number of clients was a bit fluid and many came and went. I guess the point is that in reference to your topic, the same concepts hold true for small service oriented business and freelancers like myself. Seems to work even in the service field as well. So if you got lucky once a year there would be a widget convention to go to, where you can expand your contacts base.

    But with social media, websites, blogs etc. You can be in contact with them all the time. With their blogs you can find out what they like, and hit the people who need to know about your widget with targeted marketing material e. RSS feeds from your blog. Except for me, because my widgets suck. Using your 1, True Fans concept we tried to get 1, true fans to donate 10 USD towards his cause. Thanks again for your post! Great article thanks. My only worry is getting true fans, which takes a hell of a long time when you are also spending every free hour on recording the music itself.

    I know that x that would be more than enough for me. Good article. Google Adsense is obviously not intended for strange little blogs about moustache wax and fixed gear bicycles. A tip-jar would probably work better. Out of the or so people who actually visit the blog every day maybe one can become a True Fan? I got to you through Seth, too. Thank you. The True Fans have always been out there acting as motivated evangelists, I hope that changing models in the arts and the online world means these die-hard enthusiasts get the thanks they deserve.

    Because the hobby game magazines that might have considered it were dead. Why free? Why ransom it? I put a greed premium on that and asked for it. It was all a process of making sausage out of scraps. The technology had to be at a certain, very unstable point: Advanced enough to make recorded music, but still so clumsy and fussy and primitive that professionals were required to operate it. That expertise allowed the record companies to exist, because releasing a record was too expensive or time-consuming to do on a lark.

    Why should the artist? Great stuff. This is such a powerful article. This should be required reading for every small business owner that is trying to make their way in this big, nasty world of commerce. There is no instant magic success. It is difficult to succeed as an artist, or in my case, a fan making the case of becoming an artist. So much talent has fallen into groupthink when there were so many that could have done the 1, True Fan model and managed to live comfortably.

    Since selling out to make a blockbuster is beyond my integrity or skills perhaps? I once heard someone say I think it was Dan Dennet at a TED conference that the secret to happiness is to give your life to a cause greater than your self…something along those lines… -A. Ive yet to get the true fan numbers up… I have one fan in USA who will buy my stuff, and odd lesser fans via facebook, and another 20 or so via other writing websites….

    Great article, i have been doing this style of thing for the last 4 years of the 13 years i have been running a label. Totally abandoning the distribution deal i had and going it completely alone. My own magic figure is lower than but i break even on a yearly basis and am free to create what the hell i want when i want it.

    A lot is given away for free, for example the whole of i worked on a project where each day i made and gave away audio for free online giving away over tracks in this time. That is an unprecidented project even now. Other releases are pre-sold directly to the people i know are interested totally bypassing traditional forms of distribution completely.

    I also achieve this with no press anymore because i send no promos out and people just find what i do via online search and links which build up from those who support what i do. Ultimate freedom is the way forward with no link to the dying industry and other social networking waste of times like myspace, facebook, iTunes and last fm. Also charging for MP3s is laughable certainly in the way iTunes run their business in a per track model.

    I can only write one book a year, but I have four in print. So how many people do I need to buy how many books to make a living? It would be an invaluable service. Thank you for the illuminating post. I disagree that 1, true fans are enough to support you as an artist. If you want to tour, other than a couple hours from your home base, it mostly likely will not be enough either. I would like to see this laid out as most companies do in their annual financial state. One person might be OK, but, a 4 or 5 piece band, no way. Our latest blog goes into a lot of random detail about Music World 1.

    Music Wolrd 2. We wanted to give artists a way to monetize that relationship, and the best way was to break down barriers to the digital shelves. Excellent post. In the last year and a half I started seriously pursuing a career as a visual artist and have already acquired several true fans. This post is a great encouragement to keep going personally and helpful for anyone else whose just starting out.

    As a commercial photographer specializing in food I am luckier that a lot of artists. There is a serious demand for my niche. I have been questioning lately whether I want to keep running on the same treadmill or use my photography for good. I really want to move into a direction where I control the content instead of working for a clients vision.

    Kevin: This is a great post. Thanks for writing it. I love the idea of 1, true fans. Your post has changed my thinking about how to build my career and life success on line coaching business. Well, I sure wish I had read this post in its entirety soon. I would definitely have included mention of it in my last book. I have been working as an independent teacher using this 1, true fans method for years.