"Sure, Seth can do that, because he has a popular blog."
Some people responded to my decision to forgo traditional publishers (not traditional books, btw) by pointing out that I can do that because I have a way of reaching readers electronically.
What they missed is that this asset is a choice, not an accident.
Does your project depend on a miracle, a bolt of lightning, on being chosen by some arbiter of who will succeed? I think your work is too important for you to depend on a lottery ticket. In some ways, this is the work of the Resistance, an insurance policy that gives you deniability if the project doesn't succeed. "Oh, it didn't work because we didn't get featured on that blog, didn't get distribution in the right store, didn't get the right endorsement…"
There's nothing wrong with leverage, no problem at all with an unexpected lift that changes everything. But why would you build that as the foundation of your plan?
The magic of the tribe is that you can build it incrementally, that day by day you can earn the asset that will allow you to bring your work to people who want it. Or you can skip that and wait to get picked. Picked to be on Oprah or American Idol or at the cash register at Borders.
Getting picked is great. Building a tribe is reliable, it's hard work and it's worth doing.