Wednesday, March 23, 2011

C2E2: Post Game Part 3

So here we are. The last portion of my adventure. It all ends here on Sunday.

I slept awful. The fighting outside my door between a group of drunken baboons lasted much longer than it should have. And when that skirmish had ended, the next of wave of moronic twits spewing the slurred speech as a side effect of too many vodkas had moved in. I don't know when I finally fell asleep, I just know I slept an hour longer than I should have. I had to get in gear and have my booth set up before the floor opened to the public. Dave asked me to hand off a commission to a customer for him. He knew he was going to running late, and I had no problem with covering for him at the time. This was not at that time. My sluggish feet wouldn't move right and my head felt like a half inflated balloon. But I had to press on. It doesn't matter. Sunday's probably going to be slow anyway.

I arrived at the show with a worn out grimace. I didn't shave (in fact, I still haven't. The stress didn't stop at the show folks!) and all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball, wrap up in a warm blanket and dream about laying on the beach with super models feeding me grapes and cooling me down with a palm tree leaf. I checked in with some buddies and chatted about this and that. As it turns out, I chatted for way too long and the floor was starting to fill up with geeks. I rushed back to my table and began the day.

Before setting up and starting business, I took a long hard look at my table from all angles and made a stunning revelation. My neighbor Stephen's displays were set up in a way that hid my comics from certain angles. I hadn't noticed before now, because I was always set up before he arrived. Damn it! How many sales could I have made if I had realized this sooner. I quickly shifted my books around and placed them more towards the center. I thought in my head how I could boost my pitch. Twilight Pop Presents was doing remarkably bad on the sales front. I noticed every time I said "Anthology," the customer would drop the comic like it was dripping puss all over their hands. Dave had recommended saying, "a collection of short stories" on Saturday. Perhaps I should try it.

Despite my set up adjustments, interest for my comics was especially abysmal today. It was a good hour or so into the show and I hadn't pitched my new hooks all day. My first sale went to anther buddy from Indiana. Disappointment began to set in, and this time, my sleepiness was preventing me from maintaining a positive mental attitude. Dave arrived soon. His customer was impressed with his commission and Dave was happy about that. At least one of us had a good start to Sunday.

All of the sudden, the alley began to flood with people. Over the entire weekend, Artist Alley had not been nearly this packed. I began selling like crazy. Interested creators, new friends made from previous days, podcatsers, interviewers, upcoming writers, they were all surrounding my table. I was pitching people on Star Crossed Galaxy two at a time. It was like an assembly line of customers. I was on fire today. I couldn't go more than a few minutes without some form of interest in my stuff. Even if people weren't buying, they were still eager to know more about my comic or ask for any tips about comic book creation. It was turning out to be one hell of a day. I was terrified to leave my table for a second the way I was selling. I was actually looking forward for things to calm down instead of hoping for it to pick up!

A lot of people stopped by my booth. A friend of my cousin passed by my booth. He was also set up in Artist Alley and thanks to my cousin, decided to stop by and say hi. He had some of his own work he wanted to pass along to me to take a peak at. I felt bad that he was just giving me a sample of his work and getting nothing in return, so I handed him a free copy of SCG. One of the guys I ate Chinese food with on Saturday night, Rock, stopped by too. How cool is it to be named Rock? Totally fucking cool that's how. Matt McElroy of visited my booth too. He told me that they were starting their own Print On Demand service similar to Kablam's. he also let me know he was a big fan of Star Crossed Galaxy and was eagerly awaiting issue 2.

The day had finally begun to wind down. It was still early, but the alley was clearing up a bit. This was my last chance to talk with any editors. I took a little stroll to see what was what at the Dark Horse booth. They said that all the editors were down in Artist Alley taking a peak for any potential talent. Same story was at a few other publishers. Damn it! Perfect time to leave you doofus! I headed back to Artist Alley, hanging on to a teeny tiny glimmer of hope that some editor might stop and just say "You've got potential my lad!" Yeah I know, I'm a silly idealist. A guy can dream right? Yeah...

The show had now officially ended, and with the dimming lights came a hurricane of cheers. All the exhibitors, editors, writers and artists had congratulated each other with a feverish wail of both excitement and relief. I packed my stuff up and said my goodbyes to my neighbors. Dave, Stephen, Jeremy, it was a real thrill. Thanks for making fun. I strolled down to meet up with Andy. We'd be riding the train back together so it seemed like the right idea. to my surprise, Andy was long gone. Only a book that read WORD lay in his spot. Strangely appropriate, I thought. I checked in with Terry to see what was his plan. He invited me to ride back with him and Al in their car. I already paid for a round trip ticket back to Indiana on the train, but Terry could get me back an hour and a half earlier. No brainer. I rode with Terry. His car was packed with a ton of shit, so it was a tight squeeze. Claustrophobic's be warned.

After stopping for a brief meal and being flirted with by the cashier girl, it was time to head home. An hour and half earlier as expected. After getting home the first thing I did was take off my shoes (and my pants). It was the end of my first convention. My initial expectations were anywhere from 5-10 sales. By the end of Saturday I had sold 15. All in all, I sold 36 comics! It was more than half of my stock. I was very pleased with my first outing at C2E2. I did better than I could have ever hoped. To any and all up and coming creators looking to start conventions, I offer this advice: be yourself. Don't be too pushy. Relax. Have fun. Be good to your neighbors. Don't be too concerned about "bar con." But above all else, don't worry about selling anything. Go for the memories and the experience. I did well for my first convention, but even if I didn't, it still would have been an absolute blast! Now go make a comic!

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