I was thinking about fans, and how there are different ‘levels’ of fans. Thinking about it, I figured I’d break it down for myself and play with some numbers of my own.

So, in my view there are three type of fans that you can get. And I define a fan as someone who buys and reads all the books in a specific (X) thing. 

The three kinds are: 

– True Fans: will buy anything you write

Genre Fans: will buy anything in the genre that you write

Series Fans: will buy anything in that series (there’s an argument that you can cut it even finer to include series fans for the ‘main’ series and those who will buy anything for the series, but for our purposes, we’ll stick with my initial definition).

The ratios of those are all kinds of weird. Using my own bestselling series, the numbers I have (for myself!) is something like:

– True Fans – 1 in 600 (i.e. for every 600 readers you generate, you get 1 true fan who’ll buy everything you have. Using Technopath numbers)

– Genre Fans – 1 in 67 (I’m basing this off my Leveled Up Love numbers. If I used my First Steps into the Night numbers which is a short, it’d be closer to 1 in 200 but that’s a novellete so it has its own issues)

– Series Fans – whatever your readthrough is, in my case for System Apocalypse it’s like 1 in 5

What it means for career growth

Well, assume I am right in those numbers (and those are big IFs), one of the things you notice is that there’s a big difference between types of fan. It doesn’t mean you can’t transfer fans between series, but series specific fans are fans of that series for a particular reason. 

A new series means you build a new audience with only a small number flowing over.

Writing in Genre

Let’s say you write in a single genre (LitRPG as an example).

You sell 1000 book 1’s of your first series. That continues for a bit, and you finish up your series 3 books later.

You start a new series. Assuming ‘series’ numbers are correct, you have 15 genre fans who will come over.

Let’s assume you sell another 1000 copies (generating the series its own fans).

Now, you have 30 genre fans who will read your next series that you write in that genre.

As you keep releasing new series in the same genre, those ‘genre’ fans will keep increasing, giving you a leg-up for each new work. Assuming, of course, all the random craft stuff stays the same or gets better (i.e. you are writing good and interesting books).  

Writing cross-genre

What if, like me, you write cross-genre at times. Now, I’m not talking completely different genres (those numbers for true fans might change significantly if you wrote, say, space opera and literary fiction) , but semi-related genres (fantasy & scifi, etc.)

Well, take 1000 books sold in first series. You get (approximately) 2 true fans.

You write a new series in a different genre. You get 2 purchases ‘guaranteed’. The rest you have to build up.

Maybe it doesn’t do well. You get 600 sales only. You get 1 fan.

Now, you write in a new genre, or maybe hop back to your first genre. You have 3 true fans, maybe some genre fans interested. 

Growth this way is much slower.

Other Wrinkles

Obviously, I’m using book 1 sales to compare to other book 1 sales for my calculations. So, maybe these numbers might hold true for standalone writing, maybe they don’t. And obviously, I write in somewhat related genres, so the numbers could change significantly if you have vastly disparate genres.

My Point

There isn’t a huge one. Just that it’s worth considering how you develop your writing and that, if you are writing across genres, not to be too disappointed if you suddenly see a huge drop off. And that growing your work, writing more books, is about the best option to create these ‘true fans’ that we all wish.

The more of those you have, the more freedom you have to write whatever the hell you want.

Anyway, I thought those numbers might be fun for someone to poke at. I have no idea how real they are, they’re based off my own numbers and obviously, there’s a LOT of fudging going on, etc.

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