Letter to Dave Sim – March 13, 2007 – On Crossing a Self-publishing Milestone
How have you been? The last I wrote you was July, 2006, so quite sometime ago. Man, has it been that long? Guess so.
I’m about 30 pages away from completing Collected Letters 2004. I would have been done much sooner but had misplaced the book for several months and finally recovered it about a week ago. Very intriguing material all around. One thing that kept popping up in your letters was the question of when/if the mail would taper off and you’d finally have some actual retirement time. Aside from this letter taking up space in your mailbox, has your letter-answering load lightened since, say, May of 2004? I know it hasn’t dropped off altogether since you now post at Dave Sim’s Blogandmail (speaking of which, is that where I should find a reply to this letter, if you do reply? I must admit, I don’t check the blog all that often, namely due to there not being enough hours in the day to read through everything).
Things have been going well over on my end. Just the other week my wife and I found out we’re pregnant with our second child. We’ll find out within the next couple of weeks the actual due date but we’re estimating it to be somewhere between late October to early November. This also means that we’ll begin house hunting sometime in May to allow room for the newest addition to the family.
On the self-publishing front, I crossed a milestone in my career on September 29, 2006, when I released my independent superhero novel entitled, Axiom-man, who was a character I created back in my high school drawing days and finally, after all these years, decided to actually do something with him other than fantasize heroic tales about him in my head. The reason the release was a milestone was because of the wonderful media attention—not to mention sales—that resulted due to the character being Winnipeg’s own superhero. TV, Radio, Newspaper—very exciting as most self-published authors are usually swept under the rug because they’re not “real” publishers. What I always found interesting about that argument was that, in the end, the reader doesn’t care if you’ve been published by a “real” publisher or not. They just care about getting a good story.
At the beginning of March, the first draft of the sequel was completed, coming in at about 119,000 words, which is nearly double the length of its predecessor. It’s called Axiom-man: Doorway of Darkness and takes place right where the first one left off. This second book is planned to be released end of July along with a short novella called Axiom-man Episode #0: First Night Out which chronicles, you guessed it, his first night out. The Axiom-man “episode” series is there for those stories I wish to tell that aren’t large enough scale-wise to warrant a full 80,000+ words to make it a “feature.” I’m viewing them more like half hour cartoon episodes ala Batman: The Animated Series, where, though there’s a couple of plotlines going on, it’s more light-hearted and simple compared to the depths of character and story I can get into with a full-length novel. (For example, book two carries five plotlines.)
Which brings me to stating what an honor it will be for our two characters to stand side by side in 2008’s War of the Independents, which, I understand, Cerebus will be participating in. I think the project will do well and the premise of the mini series sounds interesting. We’ll see. I trust Scott Lobdell, who is writing the project.
I wanted to ask you about how you went about writing and drawing the Cerebus storyline? That is, how you planned out the 25-or-so issues for a particular arc and what a day in the life of Dave Sim was like? It’s one thing if a person was only the artist or writer on a series. Pretty straight forward in regards to their day-to-day tasks. But when you couple a few creative tasks together, time management is critical. I love hearing about how other artists approach their craft—habits, routines, etc.—regardless of medium so, please, spill your guts as I’m all ears.
Hope to hear from you.