The audience already exists. The hard part is getting them to pay attention to your story.
How do you gain a fan base in the era of distraction? You select a specific audience, even one person, and write for them.
Different is attractive.
The first few years of anonymity are hardest but they are also the freest. You get to write what you want with zero expectations. It's the recognition that threatens your edginess.
“Success blurs. It rounds off the rough edges.” — John Peel
The trick to longevity, therefore, seems to be in the durability of your original pursuit.
If you can maintain your uniqueness while sharpening the tools, why dumb down your art to maximize reach?
Yet, the harshest reality as an artist is that your work may never get noticed. Van Gogh only sold one print while he was alive, and it was to his brother!
Posthumous recognition or not, you can only try to do your best work, to stay dedicated and keep showing up even if no one cheers you on.
The fire within should create enough artistic rage to keep rejuvenating itself.
“We do with our life what we can and then we die. If someone is aware of that, perhaps it comes out in their work.” — Francis Bacon