Years ago, back in the MySpace days, I used to email every single magazine, fan page, and record company. I spent hours per day printing letters, flyers, and CD’s. I traveled across 3 states every day trying to get coverage, purchases, networking, and making this idea work. It went nowhere, and I spent almost $15,000 on snail mail, gas, phone calls, and product.
A lot of composers and bands email me anymore asking me how I make this idea work, and it’s quite simple: I forget everyone else and I only care about my small community. That’s it.
I only have 5,000 Twitter followers, and a handful of Tumblr and Youtubers - some people think I have a lot more because the amount of activity in my posts. I’m not on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook much either, and I don’t mail merge (read: spam) my emails to 4,000 unsolicited people like I used to back in the MySpace days.
I have 3 website accounts, my small subscribers that I know them all by name, hobbies, and/or interests, and I block out all the other noise. I just have you, and I’m perfectly happy with it. In fact, this is the happiest I’ve been in my life. I feel like I finally belong to a secret club, and that’s all I ever wanted - to be understood.
So the answer to the question of “how do I make this work?” is simple: don’t overthink it. On a 12 hour day, I spend 7 hours answering hundreds of comments, asks, or emails. I listen to your song suggestions, reprint your cover art, fanmade videos, and whenever I’m in town I make a call to hang out and grab beers and talk about skydiving.
Think: How did you make friends at school? How did you get your first kiss? How did you find out art was your passion?
You invested in them and truthfully enjoyed everything about them. You blocked out everything that made worthless noise and wasn’t important, so you can laser-focus concentrate on what you cared about. That’s how you gain meaningful relationships and find where you belong. It’s not about having a large fanbase, it’s about having a small army.