Fans vs Opportunists
You know what both terms are. However, for the sake of making a point, I’ll define them. A fan, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit). According to Wikipedia, an opportunist is one who takes advantage of circumstances with little regard for principles or with what the consequences are for others. Opportunist actions are expedient actions guided primarily by self-interested motives.
This goes without saying but it is well worth repeating, especially to those writers who went through what for some is, the excruciating grind of writing a novel, then you put it up for sale, only to realize no one is buying it. And, why is that? Well, if you’re a new writer, no one knows who you are, nor do they know about your work. If you’re in this position, you soon learn you have to try and get people to know you, plus get them to know you have work.
You may be beyond this point. You may be at a stage in which like the new eatery in your neighborhood that gives away free samples of their products and invests in some form of advertising, you too, engage in giving away samples of your work and advertising, all with the intent of acquiring patrons, fans, or some kind of financial support so your business can thrive.
At this point, you’re brought to the realization that is, your efforts will attract two kinds of individuals: fans or potential ones, those who have a genuine interest in what you’re doing and may at some point support you, and opportunists, those who scour the internet to get whatever it is that interests them that they can get for no charge with no interest in patronizing you at any time.
You should not take any of this personally. It is human nature. People do not think about the cost of what it takes for someone to produce something, oftentimes even if it is something they may use and value. If they could get something for no charge, especially if you or anyone is offering it, many will take it and never look back or think twice about it. Such people will download entire libraries of music and books from artists or writers they’re supposedly fans of and never stop to think this is the person’s work or livelihood, or means by which they aspire to make a living. Again, you should not take this personally.
What you have to bear in mind is these are not the kinds of people you are hoping to establish relationships with. They are opportunists. It is not uncommon for such individuals to download and have eBook readers full of books, many of which they will never read a page. They saw them advertised as a free download, so given their personality, they felt compelled to nab them, telling themselves they’ll read them later, but never do, and they continue to repeat this cycle.
What you are looking for are fans. Readers or people who are into the same kind of books or things you are into, people with a conscience who are willing to support your endeavors by buying your books if they like what they’ve read having sampled your giveaways. Understand, appreciate, and know the difference between a fan and an opportunist.
Your current email list that you’ve worked so hard to build is probably more than fifty percent opportunistic. More than half of it is probably comprised of people who’ve downloaded your book but have no interest in reading your newsletter or anything else you may produce unless if maybe they can get a free download of it to add to their unread stockpile.
Again, this is not something to take personally. It is what it is. People can only be who they are. Feel pleased, not upset when they unsubscribe from receiving your newsletter because your aim should be to build a base of people who are interested in your work, as opposed to being dead weight.
You pay a price to send out mailings to your subscribers. You should, therefore, rejoice, not feel bad, when those who are not engaged unsubscribe. They have no interest in you and your work and probably never will. You should also periodically search to see who never opens your mail and remove any dead weight from your list because to not do so will cost you.
The point again of all of this is to try and develop to as much a degree as possible, a relationship with fans, or those who have some interest in what you do or you’re trying to do. It’s a long and difficult road but always well worth it to try and find those with whom you have a common interest or are on the same page with, so to speak.
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