So, let’s jump in,
The Black Comix and Art Festival: My first Con after making my own comic. I learned so much from this experience and sold 39 0f 50 comics, which was great! I met a lot of artists and writers who inspired me to move forward on my goal of making comics and art.
(Which I promptly didn’t follow through on but more on that later.) My biggest takeaways were:
Have your elevator pitch ready, and well versed.
After losing about five sells to stuttering, uncomfortable pauses and merely throwing in a vague synopsis about the weird west. I came to an immediate realization this was my sales pitch was broken.
So, I tried out a few variations on a neighboring fellow art person at the Con. I bounced a few sales pitches to them before I finally settled on the one that rolled off my tongue the quickest. And it seemed to resonate most with people who came by my table. (Customers have very little time and even shorter attention spans when they’re walking around a Convention.) Being able to present your product in way that quickly relates the concept to the customer saves the time of both parties, and yields more sales. I wished I had prepared better for speaking with customers. This was definitely my biggest lesson learned.
Table with a fellow artist.
I tabled with another artist for my first BCAF. Although they were only there part of the time, it was still helpful. Since they had a comic in a separate genre than mine, I was able to pitch my own story customers who had wandered over because of their interest in the other artist’s book. I also had my son, Bob, at the table when I was away. (Heck, according to Bob, he even sold more than I did.) I was able to take bathroom breaks with the confidence that I wasn’t missing any sales and I had the opportunity to look at other artist’s tables.
Go and look at the tables of other artists while you’re at a Con.
Look to see who’s killing it in sales, or who has the nicest or most inviting displays. Take a picture of the most captivating table.
(With permission of course.)
If you see an artist with time on their hands -head over and talk to them! Not only will you find out about other events to sell your art, you might be able to find out other useful information like where to find supplies, printers, and other necessities. Just be sure not to interrupt your fellow artists during sales or chats with customers. Truthfully, you don’t have to wait until you’re tabling and trying to sell your own comic. Try and find time to talk to artists when you attend any event in your related niche. Most folks are pretty helpful with advice.
Go to the mixer/after party.
I went to the mixer the night before, and it was really great to meet other artists and writers. Some of them were pretty successful in their careers. And it gave me an opportunity to talk to professionals in a more relaxed atmosphere. Everyone there was either interested in starting- or in the midst of professionally creating comics and art. To know its possible for regular person like me to make it in this industry was really powerful. Knowing this filled me with a sense of purpose and a greater appreciation for the craft of making comics. The day of the event was so hectic, it was great to meet the artists before the Con.
(I must admit I didn’t quite nail this aspect of my first ‘professional’ con.)
If you’re like me and a huge fan of comics, it’s a difficult yet incredibly crucial step to transition from fan to professional. I’m pretty sarcastic and ironically hammy in my day to day. Unfortunately, I presented a bit too much of that side of my personality. It’s fine a trait, and is perfect to exude as a Con goer, but it’s quite unbecoming as a professional. (I’m not saying I shouldn’t of been myself, but I definitely could’ve been more confident and less fanboyish towards, well… everything.) The people around you at a Con are not just artists, they could potentially be future collaborators. So always present your best, most professional self.
One last thing, I have a natural talent for putting my own art down. I wish I had not asked for so much critique from other artists. Women tend to needlessly apologize for being present. I found myself doing this, and resolved never to do that again. So, remember if you show up, you’re good enough to be there. Period.
All in all, I wasn’t as prepared as I wanted to be and stumbled quite a bit but I can’t wait for next year! I’m definitely going to go back with a few more comics and a lot more knowledge.