Self Publisher Magazine‘s Ian Shires on the magazine and indie comic book scene. Ian Shires of Self Publisher Magazine took time to chat with examiner.com about the indie comic industry scene, the need for SP magazine and more.
MT: Share a bit about your background in the comic industry (who you are, how long you’ve worked in the industry, why, and what you do)
IS: I started publishing in 1986, when in high school. I had written a letter to Comic Buyer’s Guide, which was printed, which I ended with a “one day I’d like to write comics”. Matt Feazell (Cynicalman) sent me a couple minicomics and said, well, why don’t you…so in a couple weeks, I’d printed my first minicomic. By 1989 I had started up the original run of Self Publisher! Magazine, in 2001 I started up the Self Publisher Association. Publishing stuff has really just become part of who I am. Some day, I may even get back to writing comics.
MT: What is Self Publisher Magazine? Why do you think there is a need for it?
IS: SP! Is about the people who make self published stuff. The indy spirit, no corporate backers telling us what to do. SP! Attempts to bridge the gap between being small press, and being able to reach readers who like the new and different. We dig into the whos, whys and what is what, and try to bring perspectives and information where it can be useful. Without SP! – all publishers have are what Amazon tells you to do.
MT: In your opinion, what is the current state of the indie comic scene, what can independent creators learn from the big guys when creating their work?
IS: Well really, we need to look less and less at what the “big boys” do, and look more for things that work for us. There is NO WAY to compete with mainstream. They have movies to drive sales of their books. The current state of indie comics is: gang Funding to try to have revenue to forge a book, is only going to work so long. At some point, the old fashioned “earn your readers” principal will have to kick in, and building a breakout title will have to be based on having something that gets good reviews and people will rave to their friends about. The tools available for publishers to get stuff out there are changing rapidly…but what the reader will always want, is a good story with good art. So I feel if I can encourage people to worry more about their content, and less about how that content is packaged for the changing market trends, then we will all be winners because there will be better quality stuff to put into whatever formats prevail.
MT: Print or digital? Which do you think best serves the independent comic creator?
IS: You need to plan for and do both now. A good digital product can win over people who are then willing to invest in print copies for their collections. As a creator, all we really want is to have the stuff we make, appreciated by a large enough audience that we can keep making more and hopefully make a living doing so. Format doesn’t matter, fans do. If we do whatever it takes to win our fans, then, we have careers. If we focus on putting out a cookie cutter thing that 500 people are trying to do – no one wins. Only content matters.
MT: What type of things can comic fans hope to discover in the pages of Self Publisher Magazine?
IS: We try to present articles that are about the creators first, and their work second. We want to get to know the people, and then their work. We also do some how-to type articles for those getting into self publishing (and are preparing a full how-to section of the website). We also touch on novels, music, and sometimes indy movies, where we can…because we are firm believers of cross-breeding audiences. We run Reviews, we do sneak peek features of things coming out or just out. We try to present perspectives, and also keep it all IN perspective.
MT: Anything special in the works for SP Magazine on the immediate horizon?
IS: The issue in the works right now has a lead feature on Mike Baron (Badger, Nexus) who has a new self published novel coming out. The issue after that has Monte Moore, on breaking into Hollywood as a screenwriter.
MT: What are some of your favorite reads right now?
IS: Lol, well, you’ll be able to read my reviews in the coming issues. My job is to NOT play favorites.
MT: Where can fans find Self Publisher Magazine.
IS: Well you can find all issues of the current run at: http://www.selfpubmag.com/downloads/misc/free-downloads/self-publisher.htm – but we are also found for free at Drive-Thru, and now available through the Cloud 9 App for all android and itune type devices.
IS: Stormtroopers all the way. Dun dun dun dun-dun-dun, dun-dun-dun.