Sometimes, we must go backward to go forward.
I had an excellent time at Emerald City Comic Con, and it’s always great to see Jeremy Thew in his natural setting (he lives in Seattle). Together we manned the Two Gargoyles table in Artist’s Alley and as usual, met and greeted fans and friends alike during the whirlwind three days of the convention.
However, I didn’t sell much. The guy next to us, however, did a bang-up job! And supportive (and jealous!) though I am, it made me think about the Twogargs table and what it perhaps might be lacking in order to generate traffic and sales.
I’ve read, heard, and seen the stories unfold for writers, artists, and merch dealers alike: Always trying to figure out what sells and how. I’ve learned through experience that there’s no substitute for a good, personal connection with those walking by, those at your table, or those just in the vicinity. It’s not so much a hard sell approach as it is just being present. But even that didn’t seem to light those fires in the eyes of fans as they walked on by. Why? I wondered, WHY?
I therefore decided it was time to step back and re-think. There could be a hundred reasons, all out of my control, but I must only focus on the things I can control: My motivation, for one. What do I want?
Answer: I want to make comics. That’s the core. That’s the entire reason for the whole shebang. And I know how to do that. I’m always learning how to do it BETTER, but I know the “making” part.
The selling has a goal, too: To make enough money to make more comics. Sustainable, that’s the word. I don’t expect to get rich from comics! That isn’t why I do them. But it would be nice to get them to pay for themselves (especially since I’m a writer who needs to hire artists to get the comics made. They gotta eat, and that means paying them a decent page rate!)
And so, I step back and look at Two Gargoyles as a whole, and ask myself what I could do better, what could be more focussed, and what helps get the word out there so I can share my passion with more people, people who can help me sustain it. There’s Kickstarter and Patreon, of course, but one must first build an audience. Conventions are at the nexus of that, meeting and greeting and sharing, but I’m still figuring out how to focus on my actual BOOKS and not just table merch.
Therefore, coming up next on Two Gargoyles will be a series of Spotlights on the books that make up Two Gargoyles Comics. I’m going to focus on them, their stories, their characters, and I will be updating their pages and making it easier to buy the books. I’m going to talk about the writing, the art, the story– in short, I’m going to talk about myself and my collaborators. It’s not a revolutionary thought by any means but it’s about time I started to! My self-effacing Canadianism is an obstacle when it comes to self promotion, so be warned: It’s time I got selfish. A bit.
Kudos to the creators who are successful at conventions, and bigger kudos to the ones who show up every year while still trying to find their niche. I love you all. All of you at Emerald City, you inspired me to be better.