Indie Comic Creators
MegaCon 2016. Photo from Orlando Weekly.

For Indie Comic Creators, cons are an essential part of being in the industry. Here are a few ways to lose a fan before they even become one at a con.

1. Distractions at the table

I can’t tell you how many creators lost my fandom and business because they were distracted by realistically inexcusable things. Such as a smartphone. Outside of an emergency call or taking a pic with fans sitting on your phone on a con is just stupid for you. Trust me, you are losing fans. At MEGACON Orlando, I walked Artist Alley four times. All walks were hours apart. And I will be damned if the same people were always on their phones with potential fans around them. I mean seriously you paid for a table to use your phone? I am sure you could make an excuse, but all it is if we are honest is an excuse.

Now artists who are doodling. I get this is a two sided issue. You could be drawing a commission and you could be doing work. And that’s important, but aren’t you at the Con to make new fans? I would suggest this if you are drawing a commission for a fan, put up a sign saying that. Write something like “I am sorry I didn’t make eye contact but I am working on a something for a fan. Please ask any questions you may have”. This lets fans know you are reachable.

Eating at the table. Look, this needs to happen, but I do suggest again a simple sign, something to the effect of “Please come back in 10 mins my doctor said I need to eat or I’ll die”.

Friends and the people with you. Ok, so when they cause you to not notice people around your table this is an issue. Remember, you are at the CON to create a buzz and get new fans. I’m not saying don’t talk to people you know I am saying make sure you are still aware of your table.

Finally, worrying too much about presentation. I see it where creators get distracted by restocking or redoing their displays and they are kinda rude when people who walk up to them. We talked about this yesterday, that you never know who you are meeting most times. When someone approaches your table you need to greet them and understand your table is there for them. Talk to them and let them know “Hey, give me a min and I can tell you why you should be a fan of my work”. Treating people like you are too busy for them will get them to do the same to you.

2. What to do from a retail standpoint

Some of you worked in retail or something where you were trained and how to sell. For those who don’t, here are simple ideas that will get you fans.

Eye contact and smiles go a long way. I can’t tell you how often artists and writers look bored. Try standing in front of your table to become reachable to your fans if possible. Try standing up and not always sitting. Make friends with people. Ask them how their Con is going. What type of comics are they into? What are they looking for? Understand fans talk about you creators. The ones who are happy and full of energy people talk about positivity and encourage friends to check them out. Same as if you’re a dick to someone, that will spread around as well to stay away.

Also, if they don’t like your book ask them what they do like and be ready to point them in the right direction of another creator. -GASP-. Yeah, do that and it may catch on, but at very least that person will remember you. I can’t tell you when I listen to a pitch and it bores me as a fan and I nicely say that’s really not my type of story and a creator suddenly turns their back. Now, I was going to ask if you have any other stories but since your being a dick now I go to a creator who wants fans not money. People may not like one story but most of us have others or plan to do others. So try to convert everyone into a fan through something you are working on.

I can’t stress this enough, that if you’re passionate and outgoing plus humble, people will be drawn to you. Your energy can’t be lazy. It needs to be UP UP. Trust me, from the other side of the table you are a TV show. And if you look like the snooze channel I will flip the channel to the next creator right next to you, who seems fun.

You are responsible for your success and failure and it’s not the fans fault. I STOP at every table where someone says hi to me at. This weekend I will be posting all the cool stuff I got at MEGACON as I will be done reading most of it by then. Most of the new creators that I met and I bought comics from was because they were cool and passionate and engaged me. A simple hi become and invitation.

Mind you this is advice from the other side. You can listen or give the excuses like I don’t get it. But when you do that know I worked in retail over 20 years so yeah, I get being on the other side. I had to keep my energy up for a company and you are selling your work. You are preaching about your creations. You should find joy in getting your work out there. But then again what do I know right?

Written Sins

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