From comics, and graphic novels to music, Matt Knowles does a lot. We took a couple minutes to sit down with the over the top personality and one half of Insymmetry Creations.
4 Tales Podcast (4T):What inspired you to delve into self-publishing for your comic?
Matt Knowles (MK): I'm a storyteller. I want to get my stories out by any means necessary. Coming from a metal music background I am used to 'painting pictures' with words and music, but I wanted more when it came to imagery. This is what started the journey into doing comics and music together, which evolved into what I do today (being partners with Steph Cannon at Insymmetry Creations).
4T: Self-publishing can be both rewarding and challenging. Could you discuss some of the obstacles you've encountered along the way and how you've overcome them?
MK: Self publishing is incredibly challenging, and its even more so when you are not a sequential artist (I write, flat, letter, and play music, but creating panel art is not my thing). So the cost is incredibly high, the financial return is negligible, so we've gotta stay grounded and realistic in our expectations. We always say 'pivot and adjust'. We try not to get too stuck on a specific path of success, because what works today may not work tomorrow. You always have to be looking to find ways to stay relevant, but also do it in a way that has integrity.
4T: What have been the most satisfying moments or triumphs in your self-publishing journey?
MK: The most addictive part of being a writer to me is when someone who has read something we've created come back to us and tells US about something in our stories that excited or inspired them. It blows my mind and I'm like 'that THING that did not exist before my brain concocted it is now a part of someone ELSE'S life journey.'. That never gets old. Every single time this happens it motivates me big time. Had a couple fellas at GEEK'D CON in Shreveport, LA get some books from us on a Saturday. They came back on Sunday and excitedly gave us a near encyclopedic review of what they're read the night before. That makes US want to create MORE stuff for people like that!
4T: How do you navigate the ever-changing landscape of self-publishing, particularly when it comes to marketing and connecting with your audience?
MK: Personally - I feel like you have to be real, and you have to be excited. If YOU aren't excited about your product, why should anyone else be? And its tough because I live by the mantra 'People want to hear ABOUT a band, not FROM a band' (yes this is a music world term but it applies). You have to promote, but you need to promote the PRODUCT and what you think is great ABOUT it. No one wants to hear about how great YOU think YOU are. That's a massive turnoff to most potential supporters. Also, the ever-changing landscape is TOUGH. The economy, saturation of markets, the shifting of consumer spending at shows can make everything difficult. Luckily Steph Cannon and I help to keep each other balanced and focused on a day to day basis. It's easy to get sidetracked or derailed by drama or stuff that is unimportant, but we help the other to 'get the train back on the tracks' quickly so we can 'get down to business'. From a marketing standpoint - I really feel its important to explain to people WHY them investing their time or money in your title will benefit THEM. No one wants to hear someone pine on about how great their thing is, or how much money they need to make. Every creator in ANY profession can do that. People want to hear about how they will BENEFIT from giving your title a chance. Will they enjoy escaping into the universe, relating to the characters, is there an item that's a part of the support merch that they want in their collection or that they can use, etc...
4T: For individuals aspiring to self-publish their own comics, what advice would you offer based on your experiences?
MK: Learn. Ask questions. Most in the indie comic community are more than willing to share tips and tricks. Many people have helped us out along the way so we try and do the same to continue that 'pay it forward' path. Look at what the people who are most successful are doing, and see what can be done to utilize some of their successful tactics into your business plan. This does NOT mean copy them. This also does not mean to compare yourself to them. You could have the EXACT same product and an identical marketing campaign and get different results. Why? Because you are two different people, with two different sets of life experiences and skills. Your only competition is yourself. Learn each day. Be better today than yesterday. You make a mistake, correct it. Then let the cards fall as they may and know that you've done everything you can. That's all we can hope for as creators.
4T: Thanks Matt for taking some time to allow our fans to know you more. Go check out Insymmetry Creations at www.insymmetrycreations.com