MAY 24, 2022

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Welcome to The Tilt, a twice-weekly newsletter for content entrepreneurs.

In this issue:

full tilt

Comic Book School Entrepreneur Motivates Students To Finish Projects

After a decade-plus of teaching techniques in my Comic Book School, I recognized something extremely important: Most people did not complete their projects. Like most content creators, they started with good intentions and fizzled out in a few months.

After one of my classes, an aspiring creator Erin Donnalley detailed her plans for completing a Lord of the Rings-length epic comic series by next year. I replied, “No, you won’t.”

Instead, I challenged her to complete eight pages – the standard-length comic story – in one year. It seemed like the perfect length for someone taking their first step into publishing. Then, I took that concept to my audience. I reached out to Comic Book School newsletter subscribers and social media fans to help on a new project. A small group of hands shot up and I had a diverse community of advisors – the Council of the Willing.

The Comic Book School’s Council of the Willing guided my decisions and planning. We set up message boards on my site (i.e., owned land). We planned an eight-page challenge with the goal for each student being to create a story that would be ready to hand to editors and publishers at the next New York Comi Con.

This group of remote advisors contributed to design, content, social media, and even back-end technology. It was a collaboration with people I’d never met to create a fun and interactive online community.

When the pandemic hit, the role of the message boards expanded to bring a lifeline of normalcy and creativity to the community. We hosted weekly chats and encouraged conversation.

We gave each other feedback. We broke down the process of making a comic into 12 logical steps.

Each student in our inaugural experiential-learning program was required to post each step of their creation on the message boards. The community was encouraged to give them feedback on their script, art, and more.

The first class in our eight-page challenge had grown, and we decided to compile a digital anthology. We championed completion over quality so that people could know what it was like to finish something.

In the end, we published a 144-page anthology of comics and flash fiction as a free downloadable ebook on the Comic Book School website. There were 32 contributors from diverse backgrounds and regions, including the US, Europe, and Australia. It was the first published work for 28 of them.

In 2021, we updated the eight-page challenge curriculum with insights learned from the first year. We published a second anthology with several returning creators and a handful of new faces.

At least one of our contributors used the experience and contacts to get paid writing work with an independent publisher. Two others are getting their comics published by other publishers and are using the community to cross-promote their work.

We grow the Comic Book School with a simple but clarifying vision: If you want to go faster, go alone. If you want to go further, go together. We’ve seen what it is like when we go alone, so we are going together.

– Buddy Scalera

Go further behind the scenes of Comic Book School.

FREE for The Tilt community

Thanks to Lulu, catch every word from these keynotes plus over 20 breakout sessions. Register now to access the 2022 Creator Economy Expo videos.

content entrepreneur spotlight

Entrepreneur: Mark Webster

Biz: Authority Hacker

Tilt: Learn how to create profitable websites from people doing it every day.

Primary Channel: Website (100K monthly)

Other Channels: Podcast (+1M total downloads)

Time to First Dollar: 4 months

Rev Streams: Other content websites, course sales

Our Favorite Actionable Advice:

  • Don’t accept paid sponsor deals for independent sites: Neutrality has been a hallmark of Authority Hacker. Not earning income from advertising has allowed them to recommend what is truly the best product, not what earns the most affiliate sales.
  • Make a sales pitch authentic to you: Early on, the Authority Hacker founders tried sales tactics they saw on other websites. However, those weren’t authentic to who they were. Now they use down-to-earth pitches that reflect who they truly are.
  • Stay the course: It takes time to earn income from an SEO-optimized authority website. Don’t jump ship too early. Stick with the original plan.

– Kimmy Gustafson

Get the full story on Authority Hacker.

Know a content creator who’s going full tilt? DM us. Or email [email protected].

quick talk

Caught on … Your Digital Marketing Coach podcast

“Being a content creator has always been a necessity to yielding influence online. But not all content creators necessarily become influencers.” – Neil Schaffer

things to know

  • Chilly solution: A prediction of a creator economy winter means buzzier startups will fold and gritty teams will survive. The difference? Surviving creator economy startups will find a way to increase their take rate of creator-developed content. (Napkin Math)
    Tilt Take: Always know the terms around a platform, app, or publishing site’s cut of the content you publish there. And know how they are allowed to change them, too.
  • Pick me: TikTok’s new Branded Mission program lets creators submit clips for promotional campaigns. Then, the brand picks who they want to work with. (Social Media Today)
    Tilt Take: It could be a good way to get your feet wet in knowing what brands want to see in your content. Then, you can do deals that don’t involve a third-party platform.
  • Luddite exposed: “Despite all the shortcomings of print, even the flimsiest sheath of paper is far more durable than anything online. And for all its flaws of analog media, it depended far less on a third-party distribution system whose whims dictated its fate.” (Medialyte)
    Tilt Take: Print has its place. How would it help your content business?
  • Super Spaces: Creators with Twitter subscriptions can now offer Super-Follower only Spaces. (Social Media Today)
    Tilt Take: Another move to entice creators to build their communities on the platform. Don’t forget to have a plan to move them to an owned channel in the long run.
Tech and Tools
  • Candid camera: If you record in a smaller space, use slightly wider lenses in your talk-to-the-camera setups. (Kevin Shen; h/t For The Interested)
    Tilt Take: Don’t forget to look at the wider background to make sure you’re OK with everything seen in the frame before you hit record.
  • Tip on tips: Using the word “tips” in subject lines increase open rates by about 20%, according to World Data. (
    Tilt Take: Only use the word if your content really offers tips.
And Finally
  • Partner magic: Restaurant brand Cava didn’t let Emma Chamberlain’s hiatus from YouTube stop them from promoting her limited-time items on their menu. They partnered with cooking star and YouTuber Claire Saffitz to have Emma make a guest appearance. (tubefilter)
    Tilt Take: Get creative on how to work with other creators to develop collaborative content that brands will pay for.
  • Forget FOMO: Flashy and trend tactics can attract onlookers, but they probably won’t do much to help your customer base. (MediaPost)
    Tilt Take: Be authentic. Your audience can tell when you’re not and they won’t like it.

the business of content

the tilt team

Your team for this issue: Joe Pulizzi, Ann Gynn, Laura Kozak, Marc Maxhimer, and Dave Anthony, with an assist from Angelina Kaminski, Buddy Scalera, Kimmy Gustafson, and Don Borger.