The time for more Tim Sievert is now!
If you’re in the Twin Cities this weekend, maybe you’d like to shake the man’s hand. Sievert and Lars Martinson will be signing at Big Brain Comics this Saturday, March 29th, from 4-7 PM, celebrating the recent release of Sievert’s book That Salty Air and Martinson’s Tonoharu.
So you went to MCAD for comics, but now you work in animation. Do you feel like it was a good decision for you to attend MCAD? Do you think you’d be living a very different life right now if you didn’t have that background?
I don’t know how much the background has to do with it, I think it’s just the people I met in the program.
Do you think you’d still be making comics if you hadn’t gone to MCAD especially for that?
Probably not. Because I knew this was what I wanted to do, I wanted to make comics, but I had yet to really do anything before I went into school. It wasn’t until I got into school did I have to do something. Now they’re making me do something. So yah, without that, I don’t know if it ever would have happened, really.
But you took the initiative after you finished your Senior project [That Salty Air] to start sending it out to publishers. Who did you send it to?
I sent it to Top Shelf first, but after they called I realized I should have been sending it out to more places just to see what would happen. Before anything was official, I sent it around, and everyone else was like EH! Well, they didn’t really make the buzzer noise I guess. [laughter]
Tell me about the day Top Shelf called and first expressed an interest in your book.
I remember it was in the summer time. It was very hot. I graduated in May, so it was probably mid-June, maybe early July. I was sitting. In my apartment. In my underwear. Sweating, because it was very hot and I didn’t have any air conditioning. I just don’t remember what I was doing. Sitting at the computer maybe, typing something. Or maybe I was drawing something. I don’t know. I got a phone call, and I answered the phone, and I heard “blah blah blah Chris Staros blah blah blah Top Shelf”…and I heard those two words, and my brain shut down. I didn’t hear anything else anymore. Then I got really nervous that he had asked a question and was waiting for me to answer, but after about six seconds of sitting there, all of the words he’d said began to register. Then I was like, “Oh! Hello. Thank you very much for calling.” And it was Chris Staros and he called and said he had received the book I sent and enjoyed it a whole lot and would like to talk to me about it. So I continued to talk about it, and he said a lot of nice things, which I liked, and he asked me what my plans for the book were. I didn’t have any solid plans really. He kind of gave me two options for it. He said if I wanted to submit it for a Xeric grant, he’d be happy to distribute the book. Or, he said they could publish the book altogether. I was like “Okay!” But, he said, there would need to be some changes. And they were format changes. The way the book was made originally was strange and unprintable.
Yah, it was a long, squat book at first. So did you have to re-draw the whole comic or did you just move it all around?
That was part of the discussion we had. He said they could probably get it to work if I decided to move it all around and re-format everything. But, I thought this would be a great opportunity to just go back and re-do the whole thing. So that’s what I did.
Wow. How much did the artwork change?
A lot, really.
Were they still happy with it?
Still happy with it?
After they saw it, was it still what they expected?
I would hope they were still happy with it! [laughter] They seemed to be pleased.
I imagine it would be a lot better the second time around.
I can tell you this: it is 100,000 times better this second time around. [laughter]
So it should be worth 100,000 times more.
Yah, I think it is. I think the new price is $10, so the old one must have cost –
Negative pennies. So they must be a pretty great publisher. No grievances?
I have no grievances at all! I haven’t had any experience with them taking care of me, but it’s going pretty well.
Oh! I was wondering, because this is your first published book and your first book with them – Do they ship people out for conventions? Or how do they expect you to be involved in promoting this book?
Well, just a couple of months ago they hired a PR guy. I’ve been working with him a lot lately just on stuff to do, who to send books to for quotes or reviews and that kind of stuff. I haven’t really talked to them yet about shipping out anywhere for conventions. I personally just plan on going to a lot of conventions this summer. Whether they’ll have me there or not. I’ll just say, “Hey dudes, remember me? Let’s hang out.”
Well, if they’re going to go I’m going to go.
They’re not going to go.
Where is it?
In Des Moines, Iowa. It’s sometime this summer. I can’t remember when exactly. I went last year.
They had that wrestling thing last year. But they’re not having it this year.
No, I heard people talking about it at Fallcon this year.
That’s too bad. Because the organizer really likes wrestling. Must have been pretty expensive.
I think they’re still going to have it somehow, just different. Wasn’t it in the middle of the con last year? And everything was set up around it?
Pretty much. Yah.
They’re just not doing it that way.
Well, when I heard about wrestlers I thought, ‘Why the hell didn’t I go?’
Yah! Right. I wish I knew why more self-publishers don’t go to those small conventions. They’re a lot cheaper and you get a pretty unique kind of exposure. Why would people just want to hang out around other self-publishers? I feel like you and Jeremy Tinder, as Iowans, should really go to I-con.
Well, maybe I’ll go. This summer, really, I’m going to go to as many places as I can go.
Does that mean you’ve sent in applications to MoCCA and SPX and all the “important” ones?
No. I was on the SPX website, it said I was going to be there, but I never contacted any of those people. I’ve never even been to SPX.
It said I was going to be there and I thought ‘I really should!’ That’s when I thought the book was going to be out by that time, but it got pushed back.
Was there a reason for the delay in publishing?
Not that I really know about.
Has the delayed release date changed anything for you?
No. It was probably the best thing, really. It was supposed to come out in November or then December, but I got the book to them in late June or early July, so that would have been just a surprisingly fast turn-around. Now we’ve been able to get a lot more promotional work done before releasing the book.
– Sarah Morean