One of the cool things about the webcomics community is that most creators realize just how amazingly hard it is to make it doing webcomics, and are generally willing to help other creators out with advice, suggestions, and sometimes even a little promotion. There can be a “we’re all in this together” attitude that pervades webcomics, and anyone who might be able to help lift the industry deserves all the help they can. So there’s plenty of people out there willing to share their insights on what has or hasn’t worked for them over the years.

Here’s the thing, though: they’re sharing their insights on what has or hasn’t worked for them. Scott Kurtz has noted that, when asked how a new webcomiker might emulate his success, he responds by telling them to start back in the late 1990s. He was able to become a success, in part, because of when/where he was, relative to webcomics and the internet in general. If everything else he did were exactly the same, would Kurtz have as much luck if he started now? Probably not.

Maybe a Patreon campaign works for Jeph Jacques, but it might not for the next person. Maybe keeping an extremely low online profile with a lot of mystery around yourself works for Tatsuya Ishida, but it might not for the next person. Maybe 8-bit pixel art works for Richard Stevens, but it might not for the next person. Maybe updating the comic every single day works for Jennie Breeden, but it might not for the next person.

The point is that nothing any one successful (however you define “success”) webcomiker does can be perfectly replicated by anyone else with the same amount of success. Much of it comes from the personality and character of the individual her/himself. That something works for Erika Moen is due in large part to just that she’s Erika Moen.

That said, of course, it’s not like a fledgling creator shouldn’t take any advice from anyone! But, like any advice, it should never be taken as some kind of gospel truth, and must be critically considered. The person giving the advice might not (in fact, almost certainly does not) know the full details of whatever situation(s) that a new creator is dealing with. There are bound to be other factors the advice-giver simply cannot consider.

And that’s okay. That’s why creators often caveat their suggestions with, “Here’s what worked for me.” What worked for one generation of webcomikers might not work for the next, just like what worked for your parents might not work for you. You can listen, certainly, but don’t consider the advice of even your most admired hero sacrosanct.