Con Job

I love conventions, I really do. I’ve been going to them since I was a dumb kid hanging around in hotel ballrooms with other dumb kids doing dumb kid stuff.

In the recent decades I’ve been attending them differently, of course; behind a booth, selling first my artwork and then comics. And I think I’m done with that.

This past weekend was our local show, where we made eighteen sales. Prior to that was a show in Alberta (I wasn’t there) where sales were even worse, and before that was a show nearer to me where we sold eight comics.

I don’t want to come off like one of the grumpy middle-aged men hunched behind a table blaming cosplayers or “kids today” for declining sales. I don’t know what the issue is. I’m fully willing to accept that the problem is me (hi) or, very possibly, my work.

But it’s becoming an increasingly clear fact that spending an entire weekend to sell two issues of TDA:GO to a teenager and her mom is not a productive use of time and energy. —Yes, it was the issue where Veronica entertains a client. No, I don’t feel good about it but there’s a Mature Content backer board behind it and we’re very tired.

Fortunately, there’s the Internet: four words rarely strung together. Here my comics can reach absolutely everyone; an infinite potential audience. All I have to do is post ’em up! And I have been doing that for some time now, on my own site, and Webtoon, and Substack, and various social media platforms when I remember to. It’s been going okay! You’re seeing it, after all.

Over these past few shows my publisher and friend Two Gargoyles Comics came to the same realization, and he’s now concentrating on digital publication over direct sales at conventions. His overhead is higher than mine, since he stubbornly refuses to learn to draw, and so the latest issues of his various series will be behind some sort of paywall: Kickstarter or something.

Fortunately, I have the flexibility not to have to rely on that. That being said, I am going to start looking into online store solutions, since conventions clearly aren’t offering what they used to.

I am gonna miss the post-show wind-down in unsuspecting restaurants, though!

Social Tedia

TDA:GO was reviewed on Just Drawn That Way on! (The 5/9 episode, starts at 18:40)

In less-fun news, a few weeks ago I deleted my DeviantArt account, partially because of their increasing enthusiasm for using art to train their AI, but mostly because of other users posting rubbery, soulless AI creations. Blocking each individual creator became tedious, shutting down my galleries one image at a time was even worse–so instead of dealing with that I just rage-quit the entire site.

Unfortunately that deleted the years-long history of my art. I don’t love my old artwork in general, in the same way one does not love tooth extractions, but it was nice to have that available to people in a format where I could pretend it didn’t exist.

Ah well, there’s always Instagram!

Well, shit.

So this week I deleted everything from my Instagram except for convention ads, convention pictures, and promos for the comic. I won’t be posting art there or on my Facebook page anymore. I will still be posting comic pages to my Facebook, but nightshaded so as to poison scrapers.

I joined Newgrounds. Nothing really new about it, but I’ve staked my claim everywhere else so why not.

I also joined Cara.

Really I joined Cara about four months ago, where for quite some time I had exactly one friend and absolutely nothing else happened. But in the wake of the Meta AI debacle, a whole lot of other artists are jumping ship from Instagram and Cara seems like the big new thing. An app created by artists for artists sounds pretty good!

Except for two problems: if there’s only artists on it that’s not much of an audience.

And second, if everyone piles onto it, it’s going to have issues. Right now it’s suffering from slowness, which is understandable, and being really really expensive for its creator to host, which isn’t sustainable. There’s a pretty good chance it’s going to buckle, temporarily shut down, and lose its momentum the way Hive did. I like Cara, I really do, but I’m not going to put all my eggs into it.

I’m also now self-hosting a gallery of all the (safe for work) images I’ve posted on my blog. It’s not the most elegant solution, but at least it’s mine. It’s not going to be monetized or shittified or scraped unless I’m the one doing it. It also doesn’t extend into the past that far yet, but I’m working on that.

Until the next new thing comes along!