Seeking Self-Publishing Advice from Jeff Smith in This Week's Dieselfunk Dispatch

When we spoke with Tim Fielder at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus last October, he told us privately about his plans to move his creator-owned comic, Matty's Rocket, to a print on demand graphic novel model using his own equipment. We asked Tim if, as things progressed, he'd be willing to share his experience and his perspective with our readers here on Bleeding Cool. Along the way, we might ask Tim some specific questions, or perhaps pass along questions from you, so hit us up in the contact form at the bottom if there's anything you want to know.

Last week we kicked things off with a double-shot of Dieselfunk Dispatch, so go and read that for an introduction to Tim and his work and for his thoughts on how different types of publishers fit into the comics industry. Part of striving for success in any field is to seek advice from those who've paved the way, and a great place to form relationships with industry legends is in the trenches at comic book conventions and festivals like CxC. In the latest Dispatch, Tim shares a followup email exchange with one of the most successful self-published comics of all time, Bone creator Jeff Smith. Let's turn it over to Tim for Week 2.


Greetings Dieselfunkateers! So you need help or advice. I've found that you ask others who have done it. Sure you may be scared to be rejected or hear no. My rule, ask anyway. Enter: "The Man who holds the Inkpen," BONE creator, Jeff Smith.

Seeking Self-Publishing Advice from Jeff Smith in This Week's Dieselfunk Dispatch


This is Tim Fielder touching base as promised. To remind you I'm the pushy middle-aged cartoonist with the extremely long beard who sat down with you at CXC. I wanted to quickly send you an update as to my activities.

At present:

1. I am approximately 2-3 days from finishing the 3rd issue of my comic 'Matty's Rocket' as well as the first trade (which collects issues 1-3 with 11 pages of extra story along with behind the scenes stuff).
2. The 5 year business plan, which I will implement after January is still being formulated.
3. In the 3 month interim (between number 2 and January 2018) I will be selling my comic literally on street corners and online. I live in Harlem, NYC which essentially has tons of street vendors on 125th Street. My website and store are functioning so i can now take orders.
4. After many months I have finally deciphered the in-house Print-On-Demand process with an industrial printer, perfect binder, dual saddle stitch machines, and paper folder. My little studio is packed but efficient:-) I found the zine artists at CXC/SOLcon to really be inspiring in their gusto.
5. I have gotten good friend and SOLcon founder, Professor John Jennings, Artist of Octavia Butler's 'KINDRED' (published by Abrams) to write my foreword. The plan, if it works, is to get Ava Duvernay to provide a cover blurb (a long shot but fate favors the BOLD:-)
6. Ironically enough, I have, by choice and involuntarily, created a scenario where i can focus pretty much on my work full time. The trick is I have to MAKE MONEY with my books as I've gone all in with equipment . We'll see if it works.

That is my status for the moment. My goal is to survive the next 3 months and push heavily with marketing and selling. With your permission, I would like to send you the pdf once it is done. Please feel free to tell me it sucks or you like it. Other than that any advice you may give would be greatly appreciated.

Back to it,
(November 4, 2017)

Smith replied:

Hi Tim,

Good to hear from you. Looks you are pressing forward with a purpose!

The attached pages are especially intriguing, juxtaposing the current story with black & white shots of Katrina and classic flying saucers. Far out!

My only question about your status report is the distribution section. Hand selling to street vendors is a hard way to go. It's not impossible, RAW started that way, so it can be done, as long as you keep your eyes open for other zines and how they are distributed. Talk to the vendors and see what advice they have. And don't forget that 5 year plan!

Yes, send me the pdf. Love to see it.


Seeking Self-Publishing Advice from Jeff Smith in This Week's Dieselfunk Dispatch

Next week: the comics market explained!

Tim Fielder is the Publisher and Creator of Dieselfunk Studios' Matty's Rocket Book Dieselfunk works to be completely self-sufficient while sharing war stores with fellow POD Publisher 133art

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