Identifying, Finding, Connecting with, and Growing Your 1,000 True Fans
How to make the “1,000 True Fans” concept work for you.
In the previous part I described the 1,000 True Fans Concept in broad terms and talked about why it would be beneficial to you as a writer. We also talked about some of the objections that most authors make when they hear the concept.
I recognize that I haven’t fully overcome all those objections. The math, especially wen you first get started, is sketchy at best. “One Fan at a time? Great, that means I’ll make $5 per day!”
Focusing on Smaller Audiences is the Way to Go
When we think about successful books and authors, we imagine those that have sold millions of copies. We can’t help but dream. But we also can’t help but be overwhelmed by the size and scope of the work ahead of us. No matter how hard we try, we can’t ever sell 1,000,000 books by ourselves.
But if we start focusing on smaller audiences, we’re less intimidated, at least. Focusing on 1,000 True Fans is at least doable.
It’s possible to serve 1,000 fans in ways it’s not possible to serve 1 million.
Identifying a True Fan
So far I haven’t spent any time talking about what a True Fan actually is. The truth is it’s going to be different for everyone. I know it sounds like a cop-out, but a True Fan is someone kind of like you.
It’s going to be someone who likes what you like. It’s going to be someone who cares about what you care about. It’s going to be someone who answers the why question in the same way you do.
In this case, start with, “Why do you write what you write?” If you know that, then when someone gets to know you, reading your book should be a given since their why for reading is the same as yours for writing.
There are millions of ways we can define the why question, but it’s probably helpful to take a moment to say what it isn’t. It’s not genre. With very few exceptions (that really aren’t exceptions) people won’t become your fans because you write in a particular genre. Someone who loves mysteries might become a fan of yours, but it’s not because your stories are mysteries. That might be a happy accident, but you have to go deeper than that.
Take time to really answer the why question. Particularly, why do you write what you write, but be prepared to go deeper.
Connecting with True Fans
Connecting with fans has a lot of moving pieces. The first part of connecting is still part of the identifying process. Ask yourself, “Where do I hang out online?” “What groups am I a part of?” “What things do I love?” Engage on those things and see what happens.
Become active in groups on Social Media. See what sticks. See what resonates with others. See what you love and recognize what you don’t love so much (and be prepared to either stay away from this or suffer through it.)
Social Media is the first thing most authors think about when you think about connecting with fans, but, while it might come first to mind and even practice, it shouldn’t be your primary one.
Other Areas of Connection Besides Social Media
Your website should be the hub of your connection with your fans. This is your space, your house, your living room, so to speak, where you invite people you care about into relationship with you.
But it’s also a public space. You can’t control who comes here…but you can shape the conversation you have.
Building a website that creates deep connection with your 1000 True Fans is a bigger subject than we have time or space for here today, but it’s something you need to take time and care crafting. Build one that you know you’d love if you were a fan.
You website should invite people onto your newsletter. This is another level of distillation that improves the proof of your fans. Someone who joins your newsletter—especially in the early stages—is likely to be a True Fan, so create and cultivate this newsletter accordingly.
Craft your newsletter as if you were sharing your deepest thoughts and desires with your closest friends.
Other Systems and Communities
There are so many ways we can connect online (and even offline) these days that you’re limited only by your creativity and willingness to serve. I’ve heard of authors using apps like Zoom, Marco Polo, and Slack to connect with readers. Others have gotten groups together in person for retreats, parties, and tours.
Be creative and engage.
Nurturing Relationships with Your 1000 True Fans
Connecting and engaging with your 1,000 True fans is all about building relationships. At every step, the systems you create exist to draw your True Fans into a deeper relationship with you.
But this can’t be all there is. Communicating can’t be top down. Relationships between people aren’t just one on one. If you truly want to nurture these relationships, you want your 1,000 True Fans to connect with one another.
Your job is to create an environment that makes that possible.
Once your fans feel like they’re part of a community, they’re true fans for life.
1,000 True Fan Magic
The dream of a multi-million bestseller never leaves most authors, whether they’re just starting or if they’re grinding out a living. One of the things that the 1,000 True Fans makes possible is magic. Part of that magic is the relationships you build—those intangibles I’ve mentioned throughout.
But another part of the magic is that it gives you the chance of having one of those massive bestsellers. No, it’s not a guarantee. Nothing ever is. But when you’re doing the work, you never know who you might come in contact with. You never know who will read a post, subscribe to your newsletter. You never know what Social Media post will go viral.
What you do know is that if you don’t do the work, it CAN’T catch on. Moreover, you know that you created something meant to resonate for your 1,000 True Fans, and there’s a good chance it’ll resonate with others too.
Resonate is an interesting word. It means “resound.” But more than that, it means that by means of reflection, the original sound is prolonged or amplified. When something resonates with your audience, it’s amplified. It goes on long after you finish typing the words. And the smallest resonances have been known to topple the largest buildings and also create the most beautiful sounds.
Don’t discount the power, the magic of 1,000 True Fans resonating, vibrating in harmony to something you created.
To Be Continued:
Answering the Money Question
For many of you, you may already be on board. Most authors write for reasons other than making money and the idea that their 1000 True Fans make the author’s life more rewarding is enough for them.
Others still want an answer to the Money Question.