Applying Seth Godin’s Principles to Your Comic Career

| July 11, 2011 | 2 Comments

Mark Stokes of Zombie Boy Comics (@krash_pow on Twitter) posed the following question to me the other day:

How have you applied Seth Godin’s principles to your comic projects?

Mark has clearly been paying attention to my Twitter feed, because I reference Mr. Godin A LOT.  Not surprisingly,  I have a TON to say in response to the question. (Thanks for serving a fat one right down the middle of the plate for me there, Mark!)

I don’t think there is a single author out there who’s work is more worth an independent comic creator’s time to read than Seth Godin, even though he hardly ever talks at about comics. (He would make a hell of a Professor X, though.)

Okay, first off, who the hell is Seth Godin anyway?  Well, Seth is a New York Times best-selling author and marketing guru.  He writes one of the most read blogs on the internet, and is spearheading an interesting new direct-to-tribe publishing movement with Amazon called The Domino Project.

Check him out. Read everything he’s ever written.

No, seriously.

He writes quirky little books, most of which can be found in the business section of your local library.  Read one a month, and I guarantee you’ll have 100 good new ideas for your life and comics career in no time.

Okay, that’s a preamble on Seth.  Now let’s get to the specifics of Mark’s question.  How have I specifically put his princibles to work?

Let’s start, first and foremost, with this site.

Seth Godin is the reason for the TRIBE in Seth loves using that word, and his book Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, is a manefesto on movement building. Great read.  Put it at the top of your list.

The idea for ComixTribe originated while reading Tribes. The 30 Characters Challenge, however, was the first time I put Seth’s teaching in Tribes into practice.  From the book:

Keys to Starting a Micromovement

1) Publish a manifesto.

2) Make it easier for your followers to connect with you.

3) Make it easy for your followers to connect with each other.

4) Realize that Money is not the point of the movement.

5) Track your progress, do it publicly, and create ways for your followers to contribute.

That’s really what 30 Characters was.  It was a micro-movement created for a tribe I’m a part of .  And I followed Seth’s advice.  I started with a clear and concise mission statement: The world needs new characters. I created a blog, Twitter hashtag, and Facebook fan page making it easy for creators to connect with myself  and each other.  I made it an open invite, and got out of the way.  30 Characters was not about making money.  And it wasn’t about Tyler James.  It was about challenging oneself creatively for a month, and doing it in a community of like minded, supportive creators.

The success of 30 Characters gave me the encouragement and confidence to build ComixTribe.  We’re just getting started, but CT has already exceeded my expectations.  (Thanks, Seth!)

5 Killer Godin Quotes that Apply Directly to You and Your Comic Career

1.) “Initiative = Happiness.”

2.) “Ideas that spread, win.”

3.) “The only thing holding you back…is lack of faith. Faith that you can do it. Faith that it’s worth doing. Faith that failure won’t destroy you.”

4.) “Make something worth talking about.  Sell something worth talking about.  And believe in what you do, because you have to do it for a long time before it catches on.”

5.) “The only thing that makes people and organizations great is their willingness to not be great along the way.  The desire to fail on the way to reaching a bigger goal is the untold secret of success.”

…But honestly, I could be here all day, knocking out pithy Godin quotes.

5 Godin Books to Start With

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

Again, this is a book whose principles helped lay the foundation for this entire site.  It would be an especially valuable read if you’re trying to build a community (around your webcomic, for example) or just looking for motivation to initiate that project you’ve been always meaning to do.

The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

I’ve spoken about this book before (first here, and again here) and the reason is that I think this powerful little book resonates so well with people who do what we do.  From it’s provocative opening line:

“Being the Best in the world is seriously underrated”

to it’s detailed description of the phenomenon called “The Dip,” which all creatives must face, this book provides a ton of powerful insight on how one should approach his art, career, and life.  Highly recommended.

Lynchpin: Are You Indispensable?

The world has changed.  In these tough economic times, the best security one can have is to become indispensable.  This book talks about what that means.

The Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

This is one of the best books on marketing ever written.  For your independent, creator-owned title to succeed in an uber-crowded, uber-competitive marketplace, it needs to be a “purple cow.”  This book explains what that means, and offers examples and insight on how to get there.

Small is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas

This book is basically a “Best of Seth’s Blog” collection.  It’s full of convention challenging ideas.  You may not agree with everything Seth writes (I don’t), but his thoughts are provocative enough to make this book a worthwhile read.


What about you?  Read any of Seth’s stuff?  Put any of his principles to work?  If so, let me know about it!


Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, and educator residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of  EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and  Tears of the Dragon, a swords and sorcery fantasy, and writer of the upcoming superhero murder mystery mini-series THE RED TEN. His past work includes  OVER, a romantic comedy graphic novel, and  Super Seed, the story of the world’s first super powered fertility clinic. His work has been published by DC and Arcana comics.

Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of  ComixTribe, a new website empowering creators to help each other make better comics.

Contact Tyler via email (, visit his website, follow him on  Twitter, or check him out on  Facebook

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Category: Comix Counsel

About the Author ()

Tyler James is a comics creator, game designer, educator, and publisher residing in Newburyport, MA. He is the writer and co-creator of THE RED TEN, a superhero murder mystery, EPIC, a superteen action comedy, and TEARS of the DRAGON, a swords and sorcery fantasy. Tyler is the publisher and co-creator of ComixTribe, which is both a new imprint of quality creator owned titles, and an online community where creators help creators make better comics. Follow him on Twitter @tylerjamescomics, or send him an email at

Comments (2)

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  1. Geoff Weber says:

    thanks for turning me on to him. I just went to the library and came home with a big stack of his books. Good stuff!

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