I simultaneously love and hate the direction technology is going. But, I fear I’ve reached the age where I’m not on top of the latest and greatest. Also, I turn 30 in a few days. Go me.
Dear Comic Convention Runners of the world:
Once upon a time, vending at convention shows were a fun and effective way for artists to make money and pay their bills. Attendees came far and wide, pushing record ticket sales, spending a lot of money, and over all boosting the local economy.
Then it and the economy crashed.
Then it built up again. And people started to notice. More people were creating more shows in the towns where shows already existed. More smaller shows started popping up with more frequency. Even ones dedicated to the same thing. Just look at all the “comic conventions” that are in Phoenix and Dallas.
There’s this thing called “(over)saturating the market” which leads to “cannibalizing your sales” and attendance. It’s happening. Attendance is in a down swing. Vendors are making less while having to work twice as hard and hit twice as many shows (which cost more money) just to keep making the same bills they’ve been making for years. This is even with the invention of new cool toys, new art, new inventory, different products. (There’s a joke about celebrities having another job here somewhere, too.)
When you make a show to be within 2 months of another local show within a 4 hour driving distance, you’re splitting your attendance pool even further.
Come on, it’s basic business, y’all. Stop competing with each other and work together. We’re all here to make money. Look at your competition and then make them not a competition either by time or distance.
Or even better, create a different kind of convention – one with a different theme. Take on the tiny shows that aren’t cutting it and have stayed tiny for over 20 years. Build something new. Make something where your audience wants to and can go to both shows. “Fan Experience” shows with under 20 celebrities are just a cop out. Strive to do better.
That requires doing some market research.
Good luck. It seems we’ll all need it.
Where’d I go? Oh, right. So, I kind of unofficially soft-retired Em²a Cartoon in 2014 to work on another comic called Siren’s Song (updates posted on my Patreon). If you haven’t been following me on social media (I’m stupidly over-active on Facebook and Instagram), you’d know that I’ve spent the last 2 years globe hopping, hitting up various comic conventions across North America, and laser engraving a ton of crap. Like, a lot of crap. So much that I haven’t really been able to work on that.. other.. comic.
A lot of people don’t quite realize how much work goes into being an artist and/or self-employed. It’s a lot of missed birthdays, working until 3am, driving cross-country until you can’t stand to look at yet another freaking highway, and doing whatever you can to make that mortgage payment. It’s engrossing, and the worst part is – you only get out of it what you put in about half the time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed the last couple years immensely and wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve met so many people, done so many things, learned a ton, and shared a ton of amazing things. I just kind of wished I had done it when I was younger. (Hah. There’s that Catch-22.)
So, I’m retiring from retirement (can you do that?) and buckling down to go back into the steady workforce. So.. I can go back to having hobbies. And comics. And making things for fun. And not working 5 full time jobs to make ends meet.
Does that mean I’m giving up on conventions or laser engraving? Hell no. It does mean that I’m not actively seeking conventions for 2016, but if a friend wants to split a booth and I can make it, I’ll be there.
2016 is bringing a lot of changes, and I hope I can continue to share some of them with y’all.
Holy carp balls, you guys! 4 conventions down and 5 (or more?) still to go! Going full time may have been the best and worst thing I’ve ever done.
Next one up is my home show Phoenix ComiCon. I’ll be at table 1838, 1 over from my friends at D’Vyne Wrytes. I’ll be joining Kevin Coulston, Frank Jordan, Patrick Scullin, and Aneeka Richin on 2 panels this year! That’s right, our usual Webcomics 101 is being split into 2 panels:
- Webcomics: The Creative Process : Friday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
- Webcomics: Marketing and Self Promotion : Saturday 3:00pm – 4:00pm
What else is new this year? Well, geeze, only a LOT. If I haven’t seen you since Intervention Con 4 last August, then you haven’t seen the new plushies, the laser engraved keychains, the Semper Chai buttons, or any of the Chai Monster or Coffee Zombie glasses, all made by me! I also released Chai Monster, Coffee Zombie, Not All Red Shirts are Disposable, and Keep Calm the Childlike Empress Sent Me prints this past weekend at LepreCon.
What I’m working on includes swag for Jamie Wyman‘s new book, Unveiled, and its Kickstarter; looking at new methods for mugs (GIANT cappucino mugs? hmm??); and another Firefly reference button (because I forgot last year); and male coffee zombie designs! People overwhelmingly love Orion as a zombie, and well, that’s what we’re going with.
Hooray! It’s time for our first convention of 2014!!
Amazing Arizona Comic Con 2014!
January 24-26, 2014
Phoenix Convention Center
100 N. Third St.
Phoenix, AZ 85004
We are in the SOUTH building. Not the north. 😀
If you don’t have tickets yet, be sure to check out their Groupon!
We’ll be at Artist Alley table D29 with the lovely Leslie of D’Vyne Wrytes. Stop by and say hi!