Nowadays almost everyone has fans of some kind. It may be Twitter or Facebook followers, TikTok or Instagram likes, but whatever the platform or content, we all seem to have our share of followers and fans.
Notice I didn't say our "fair" share of followers and fans. The reason for this is because nothing about fame or having fans is fair. That is, there's no logical correlation between quality of content and number of fans, I think we all know that. I'm not saying there's no connection; I'm saying it's complicated and ambiguous.
Fame is also fleeting. Fans are very fickle. If you change your hairstyle or gain or lose a few pounds, expect seismic tremors to shake your fan base. If you go "dark" to catch your breath, many will find someone new to follow. Say something -- just one something -- that offends enough people and you'll be cancelled.
So, how should we deal with the bright lights of fame -- or even the phone-screen gleam of niche fame?
Luckily for us, a great answer was recently offered by the poet Michael Dwayne Smith. I crossed paths with Michael at Facebook and during a great exchange about poetry submissions and readers, Michael observed that for poets, "close attention" is much more important than "massive eyeballs."
I think this is brilliant. It should be the focal point of every poet's dance with fame. What you're looking for are people who love and need your poems. Not just eyeballs. Sure, it's nice to get likes and shares, and if you want high numbers, you should try to get them, but never let chasing them weigh you down. Never let the lack of Big Fame keep you from fully experiencing the joy your art has brought to the world through your small fame.
As a poet, you're a performer and it's part of your job to inspire people. Even if you write dark and sad, you want people to feel your work, not just hear about it.
So remember Michael's words and value "close attention" and not just "massive" attention.
Poems Written: 313
Rejections: 21 (13 tiered)
Poem written today: "First Days at Half Moon Bay"
If you need a hand revising and polishing:
1) Have me do it for you! Click the "Poem Polisher" button below. I've helped lots of poets.
2) Use my 7 Secrets of Poetry pdf as a guide for revision.