Content Question: Creating for Your "True Fans" vs Appealing to Everyone

Okay, so (not very surprising) admission; I focus WAY TOO MUCH on numbers. When an illustration I post gets a lot of likes and shares, I feel like it’s a success. When another post gets a smaller number, I wonder if I’m losing touch with my audience, or if creating the piece was a waste of time. And I know, overblown reaction much?

One way I feel I may be able to deal with this is by trying to focus on my true fans when I produce content rather than trying to make something that I hope will be widely received. What are your thoughts on this? When you have made content specifically for your fans, do you feel more fulfilled? And does it decrease some of the stress of it not getting as many likes or views as your other work?

Or, do you have any other ideas for me on how to deal with this issue? I’d love to hear other creators’ thoughts on this.


Hey @thelatestkate! I can’t wait to hear what some other folks have to say about this, but I think you’re raising a very interesting (and common) point! The likes can feel very gratifying, and when you get fewer views, I understand why that might feel personal.

I wanted to offer a couple of alternate views though! It’s totally possible that if you’re using social platforms, the views are determined by shifts in algorithms, search-ability, etc. So, it might not be too dependent on your content itself. The other thing is that this can serve as good data. Maybe your fans are genuinely connecting with certain posts more than others, and that’s ok! I’d pay attention to what does well in case you decide to run a promotion of some sort. You can learn from what has performed well, and do more of that. I wouldn’t suggest sculpting your art based on reception though, because that seems like a slippery slope. One creator who I think balances these stresses well is @natemaingard who has chosen to seek “1,000 true fans,” rather than go for big numbers above all. I’d love to hear more from him!


As artists, we need to understand what you are actually making the art for.
Are you making it to popularize yourself?
To make scads of cash?
Some sort of emotional therapy?
Hoping to launch your own IP?

And there are many more reasons, and questions to ask yourself.

Ultimately, your fans are your fans because of what you do.

If you want to alter what you do, understand why you’re doing it in the first place.
Are you trying to appeal to as broad an audience as possible? And are you trying to make this into a mass market venture that will make you a millionaire?

Another thing to realize is that not everything you make and/or do, is going to be a masterpiece. Not everything is going to get everyone’s attention. Not every post is going to get 10000 views and 500 likes.
And I don’t think every post needs to.
When you set that high of an expectation of yourself, you’re just setting yourself up for feeling defeat at every turn.

Celebrate your victories for sure.
But, you don’t need to lament just because a post was less popular than the others.

I spent months trying to do what I thought the most people wanted. It was frustrating. Infuriating, and defeating.
I gave up trying to figure people out - they’re fickle. They may love something you did one day, and then be lukewarm the next.

As long as you do what you do for your own reasons, the need for likes, views, and popularity sort of fades away.

Your fans are your fans because of what you do. Not because of what you aren’t doing.
And you won’t get more fans by changing that. All you’ll do is lose your current ones.


DO WHAT YOU LOVE. You will find your people. Yes, your true fans. Since I ditched the idea of ‘trying to imagine what people will like’ or ‘what is popular’ and started doing what I really loved doing (mostly silly creatures, magical beings, folklore/fairytale stuff) I started doing SO much better with my business.

Ghool is right though, what you want is very important. I don’t want people to like my work because I’ve c chosen to jump on the disney ‘rehash’ bandwagon or do loads of fan art because they aren’t really liking what I am doing, they are liking the original IP. I wanted people to like what I decided to make - it’s the m most deeply satisfying feeling ever! I’ve just published my second book successfully on kickstarter with all my own unique content and am making a living from it (including patreon paying my bills). It’s a huge privilege but it does take a lot of hard work and soul searching to figure out what it is YOU want to do.


I don’t think it hurts to audit the performance of the various types of work you create to determine what the best use of your time is. There are always going to be things your audience really likes and things you really like making. The two don’t always overlap, so you have to find a balance that works for you. It’s OK to post stuff that you enjoy even if others don’t like it as much. As long as you are enjoying yourself, people will want to be a part of that.

In my opinion, once I’ve used analytics to determine that a certain type of content just doesn’t perform well at all, I can’t help but feel it’s a waste of time to create any more of that subject. There have been topics I really enjoyed that I just had to admit weren’t worth making any more (or at least less often). Fortunately, analytics can also help you find content that does perform well and hopefully is also fulfilling to create. That’s the sweet spot in my opinion.

In the end, numbers are just superficial. Likes don’t accurately represent the value of what you post. For example, you may find that a post only got 10 views, but all 9 of those people bought a print. While the post that got 1,000 likes didn’t generate any income.

In my experience, the videos that get the most views on my channel are product reviews, but those don’t earn as much money as the less-viewed videos that indirectly promote my courses and Patreon. I’m often tempted to make content that gets the most views and subscribers, so I have to constantly remind myself that it’s my core fans that are allowing me to make a living, not the masses. I feel that if I only appeal to the masses, I’d generate more views but probably less income. Not to mention, I’d also feel less fulfilled as an artist.

When you get sucked in to numbers, it can get you off track. It’s good want to perform better, but you have to keep your head. I have a video that shares more of my thoughts on this:


Thank you so much for the thoughtful feedback, everyone! I am definitely rethinking how I view the numbers to a certain extent. I understand that because of algorithms, It’s not as black and white as “lots of likes = good” and “few likes = bad”. I also appreciate @aaronrutten’s video about how some creators with a smaller fan base make a decent living and others with a huge fan base are barely making it, and it comes down to whether you’re focusing on making your work a business or not. So much food for thought here! Thank you.


yeah , is is worth the “for the fans” and that, as other people says, do what you want~!
an artist vision should not be hazy by who wants what,
if you have a discord server, you can make different channels for people who likes certain types, and give access only to them if they like, but remember, dont overdo anything, and try to do at your own pace , is worth the time you put on your works, but also is worth more when the art is amazing, and they know that , the best stuff needs more time.

personally i have my own fans that loves what i do, and loves to see even something more of it,
i have other fans that expect the strange and that, so i make my best to appeal those fans.
tho is a bad thing, is also a good thing if that allows you to get even more for the same topics on the works.

cheers, and whatever you do, enjoy it~


Yes and many artists don’t treat their art like a business and subsequently are left without any profit after a kickstarter or similar. It is fine to make things as a project of love, but those projects aren’t going to pay the bills. why not make a project that is a love project AND make a profit? That’s what I do and how i approach my business now. It’s taken a long time to get here but it’s so worth it and so fulfilling.


One idea I got from the folks at Patreon was to survey my patrons to find out more about why they support me, what work they like best and what they want to see more of. I used a google form and had to bug my patrons for a few weeks to get enough responses, but ultimately it was very enlightening. To me it was much more informative than looking at likes/shares and guessing about why certain pieces get more engagement than others.


This is a great idea! Thank you.


I’m a sensual content creator (mostly self shot nude and lingerie boudoir/non-explicit images along with a relaxation/positivity element in videos) and this has been a big struggle for me in the past. There is so much content out there and on top of that a lot of “fans” believe we models should never be paid for what we do.

So what I’ve done, or learned to do, is focus on creating what I love creating so then 1) I’m at least enjoying the experience, 2) I want to create more, so there are more “goodies” to share, 3) I tend to be able to share and talk more about why I create what I do.

That last bit is crucial for me because one of the things I discovered my Patrons love are my (long-winded, rambling) vlogs. Who knew people who seemed to be there for art nudes and lingerie imagery would like hearing me talk about not just what new lingerie I added to my collection and stuff about posing techniques and lighting and my camera, but also what I’m cooking for dinner, weird things that happened to me, and my hair brushes. And then, as an ASMR fan, I tried adding a bit of that element in by speaking more softly and such and my Patrons loved it! Some of them even discovered they experience ASMR and use the videos for stress and to help them fall asleep.

My point there is that I was just being myself and that’s really why I think most Patrons pledge, or why they kind of should, because they like you and what you create and want to support you. It’s easy to get caught up in creating what you think people will like, and yeah, there is still some of that, but I think when you enjoy what you do and that shows, Patrons notice.

On the other hand, I do sometimes take suggestions or requests. One time, a Patron asked me to do more videos in a certain style of wearing lingerie. I didn’t mind it, though I’d always felt it looked a bit awkward, but then I tried it for fun and I had more comments and interactions than on any video prior! Now it’s become a staple. Of course there are plenty of other things I get requests for that just don’t fit or that I flat out don’t want to do (I am a NSFW creator and I get some inappropriate requests outside of my limits), but if something is do-able and not an issue, I’ll give it a go once.

By the way, @thelatestkate I’ve been following you for a while and I love what you do! :purple_heart: