Is an artist a success with only a few fans?
We all thrive on validation, that's particularly true for artists. If lots of people buy your work you feel your work is good. Unfortunately, in this consumer oriented society, validation has become a numbers game.
Movies were once judged by how many critics liked a film, now it's how much money they make at the box office. A musician who sells a million records is automatically considered better than one who sells a hundred. But better at what? Better at writing songs, or better at selling songs?
Quantity does not necessarily mean quality, often the exact opposite is true. The music industry is looking for what sells and this often seems to set up a bizarre environment for many artists who simply can’t cope. Also, the fame machine runs on scarcity, not everyone can be famous no matter how good they are. Out of a million artists only one or two will ever become "famous", which means most will consider themselves failures. I think this is a crazy attitude, indeed we all know that some of the greatest, most loved artists, were never discovered until after their death.
I think as an artist with a small audience you can actually be assured that your work is good, because if a person buys it they are definitely not being swayed by hype, they simply relate to your work. That to me is important, and in the end, isn’t that is what life is all about? It’s physically impossible to connect to millions of fans so fame has a sense of unreality about it. Real life it would seem is all about connecting to the chosen few who will appreciate you for who and what you are.
So, as an artist I think you should never give up just because you don't have millions of fans. Produce your work, perfect your craft, because somewhere out there is your very own audience just waiting to discover you.