When it comes to comics, 2009 held a lot of firsts for me: first paid comic work, first self-published TPB, first time at conventions promoting and selling my work. With my final convention of the year ending last weekend, I’m looking back at this first year. All things considered, I’m really looking forward to my second year on this beat.
I started the convention year in Portland, ME, at the Maine Comics and Arts Festival (MeCAF) in May. A fitting beginning, since it was both my first convention and the first MeCAF ever. I had a solid weekend, really enjoyed Portland, and met some nice folks (including fellow PVDer, Zack Giallongo). A good start to the season.
That was followed by a show in East Hanover, NJ in July. That one didn’t go as well, though that was partly the fault of poor research on my part. The show was primarily for dealers and collectors – not really my audience – so it wasn’t a good fit to begin with. That was a good lesson for me – ad will be very helpful in choosing cons in the future.
I learned that lesson, but had already bought my table at the North East Comic-Con, a show with a similar profile held in Boston in September. I had similar results. Oh well: exhibit and learn.
Next up was my major show of the year: SPX. It was a great weekend – great sales, great folks, lots of learning. I also gave out a ton of promo postcards there, which helped rocket Split Lip’s website traffic in October. I can’t wait to get back to North Bethesda next September.
About a month later, I hit the homestretch: three straight weekends of out-of-town cons. Intense, but worth it.
It started with the Boston Comic Con towards the end of October. Despite being in a slightly odd place (near the bathroom, at the end of a hall), I had a great weekend. Sales rivaled SPX’s, and I met a bunch of nice folks. I’d love to be back next year, but the organizers have scheduled the con for the same weekend as MOCCA in New York, which I’ll almost certainly be at.
The following weekend I took a day trip to Albany for the one-day-only Albany Comic Con. It was a decent show for me, despite a slightly bad placement on the floor (away from the main area of creators, though in a place with decent foot traffic), with sales slightly under my target. I don’t think I’ll be back next year, but it was a good show.
I finished my con season with a last-minute trip to King Con Brooklyn, which was the show’s first year. It was a two-day show that followed that pattern for two-day shows that I noticed this year: day one is strong, day two not so much. Day one was great in terms of sales and promo, but day two was weak. Still, good to have made some inroads in New York. I might be back next year, depending on price and scheduling.
All in all, a good year. I sold some books, learned a lot about cons, met nice people, and spread the word about Split Lip.
Next year, I’m going to try to hit about the same number of shows, but to spread them out over a great period of time. Four cons in about 5 weeks – all out of town – was just too much, too draining. Next year, I’m shooting for shows like MOCCA, SPX, maybe the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, and also perhaps MeCAF and a west coast show or two. I’m looking forward to it already/