Convention Decisions

Ah, the Comic book and Fantasy Conventions: how can one of the things that I live for be also the bane of my existence?

Since Maria and I took the summer and autumn of 2011 from conventions, we are both looking forward to the chance to go back to the scene. It feels like we missed a year out of our lives though we have been both doing some work towards personal fulfillment.

This year’s cons–yes I realize it’s not 2012 yet– but I’ve been filling out applications and writing checks for 2012 since April 2011. People might not realize that some conventions are juried. Others fill up so quickly that booth space is at a premium. So people apply for conventions long before they know if they are going.That is just part of the gig.  I also finished a proposal for the 2012 King County Summer Reading Program. Of course there is the fact that I work on a story: Faminelands 3: Mareton’s Curse for the past year which will be out in 2012. Other Systems is in its second round of editing which means it is likely to come out in 2012 as well.

While I’ve been going to the Drink and Draws, Maria hasn’t seen anyone since Emerald City 2011. Like anything, independent comic books do have a crowd of regulars that we know and love. We’ve friends in Oregon and California. And we have missed them. So we’re both looking forward to seeing other comic book creators and seeing what they have created over the past year.

Of course, nothing feels better than meeting the fans: Having someone buy one of my books, then come back and  buy another. That’s bliss. When they come back a third time and are actually excited that I wrote something new. Heaven.

Yet, conventions also make me want to throw up. Seriously. Nothing makes my stomach turn as hard. I normally can’t eat before a con which means Maria has to order me to eat within an hour or two of opening. It is one of her jobs to be a bossy boots at a con.

My biggest fear is that I never know the moment when I’m chatting about my books, that I have become boring to the person listening to me ramble. Or that someone asks me to sketch and I completely forget how to draw. Still I am a good pretender, I give the appearance of being confident pretty well.

But of course, that is not the only hard aspect of a con.

I personally feel convention inventory is one of the hardest things we have to decide. Not only is it how much inventory to keep on hand during the year and bring to each convention. It also means keeping said inventory safe and in mint condition. Keeping them packed and taped in bundles until we need it is the best way to keep books safe. We need to have enough on display in order to give people the appearance of solvency. No one wants the last dinged up one of anything.  We also need to consider the other non-book products (mini buttons, t-shirts, posters, sketches, etc)

We need to decide early if I am going to give any panels. I write proposals to conventions so they can schedule me (or not!) If they do decide to schedule me, then I need to make sure I have someone to man the booth while I’m out instructing.

We need to decide artists alley, small press, or exhibitor hall. We need to get business license forms if it is out of state. We need to do our taxes. The list goes on.

Still, I can’t say there is any other life that I would want other than the one I have–it’s just like many jobs, being an independent writer and comic artist has duties that one does not expect.


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