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1000 True Fans examples

Below are examples of how a wide variety of different artists have made the “1000 True Fans” concept work for them.  They can be a good inspiration for crafting your own Bookable offerings. Many of the examples listed below came from The Wall Street Journal article “The New Rock Star Paradigm.”

Hugh MacLeod’s “cartoons on business cards” don’t directly make him a lot of money, but he found “that the web, as we all know, is  a SUPERB way to sell relatively high-end products. In my case, private, client-based commissions are worth THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of times more than the advertising eyeballs that ultimately pay for the newspaper cartoonist’s mortgage. Of course they are. Not to mention, the commissions are fun and intellectually interesting to work on. Which is why my advice for anyone trying to succeed on the web is, make the highest-end product you can, and then target the tiny handful of people- the microaudience- who are likely to buy it.”

The unsigned and unmanaged Los Angeles band Killola toured last summer and offered deluxe USB packages that included full albums, live recordings and access to two future private online concerts for $40 per piece. Killola grossed $18,000 and wound up in the black for their tour.

Top-shelf studio drummer Josh Freese sold his album online with a suite of add-ons. For $250, fans could have lunch with him at P.F. Chang's; he says the 25 slots he offered sold out in a day. One fan sprung for the $20,000 option, which included a miniature golf outing with Mr. Freese and his friends.

Singer Amanda Palmer made over $6,000 in three hours—without leaving her apartment—by personally auctioning off souvenirs from tours and video shoots. She has fan art, she has her own store, she has a street team called The Reconnaissance with a bootcamp to teach one how to become part of the team, there is a forum on her page where fans can interact with her and with each other. Palmer uses Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Flickr to update and talk to her community and she gives away content as well as selling all manner of merch in her store. She famously went on Twitter one Friday evening and started talking with fans when she came up with the idea of selling tshirts about what losers they all were for being home on Twitter on a Friday night. She sold over $11,000 in merch within 2 hours that night! As she said, her record on a label to that point had made her $0.

The New Orleans trombone rock band Bonerama advertises online that they'll play a show in your home for $10,000.

Cory Doctorow has been working on a collection of stories called “With a Little Help”, around which he is offering a dizzying array of options:

  • ebook (free)
  • audiobook (free online, paid CDs via Lulu.com)
  • donations
  • print-on-demand book $16:  If you find a typo and send it to me, I'll correct it straightaway and give you a footnote on the page, so you can buy a copy with your name in it (I jokingly call this "monetising the typo"). It’s a good sign if the purchaser of a premium offering makes an Unboxing video.
  • premium hardcover: $250 each for limited run of 250 copies
  • commissioned new story: $10,000 (for 1 only) (this sold immediately!)
  • advertisements (in the non-premium objects)
  • donations of books (for libraries, hospitals, classrooms, etc.) (he asks fans to donate for the books to be sent)
  • aside: He’s publishing periodic financial numbers.
  • aside: Note that the book’s title comes from the fact that most of the non-writing elements are being developed by other people, typically for a share of the proceeds. That project-partnership model may be worth exploring for you.