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!