DEAR HARRIETTE: I am obsessed with writing and performing slam poetry. Every time I have a performance coming up, I excitedly blast it all over social media. I write to group messages, email chains and make posts. Even after all of my effort, there is a very low turnout to my performances. I live in a city with great public transportation, so there aren't really any excuses to not come support me. All of my friends used to show up; now it seems like they don't support me anymore. How can I get attendance back up? -- Disgruntled, Chicago
DEAR DISGRUNTLED: You need to expand your social media reach. I learned long ago that you rarely build a business, including performance work, with your friends and family as your core support.
You have to do some research. Figure out who is interested in your performance poetry work, and appeal directly to them. This should include reaching out to performance venues. Ask if they will allow you to place postcards in their venues and if you can post on their message boards. Search the internet and discover what groups exist of people and businesses that are like-minded.
To get attendance back up, you must work at building a list of people who would be interested in attending your performances and purchasing copies of your media. You can continue to inform your friends. Just don't expect them to be your audience.