The idea of true fans comes from Kevin Kelly1’s essay entitled ”1,000 True Fans”; I first became aware of the idea while reading Tribes by Seth Godin.
A true fan is someone who cares deeply about you and your work, and is willing to put in effort to support you. If the goal is to generate a livable wage off of your creative work, then the average person needs, at the time of writing, about $100,000 per year coming in to do so2.
Kelly outlines a few required criteria for 1,000 true fans to be enough:
- You need to create enough that you can make $100 in profit from each person. What you create has to be good enough that they’re willing to part with their money to support you.
- The connection must be direct; they must pay you, not another company. A music label will keep most of the profit.