It’s been three months since my last blog post and my last convention, Appleseed comic con. I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around what happened at the show. To say the least it was a real wake up call.
For five years I’ve been trying to sell my comics and artwork in the various artist alleys in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan. And for five years I’ve met with mostly disappointment. I started selling buttons, and that seems to get people interested. But it feels hollow. Yeah I make the buttons myself from cut up comic books, but it’s other people’s art. Most people who are successful in artist alley either do sketches or make some type of unique art, based on other peoples work. Selling your own comic is a hard slog. Few people get to be Scott Kurtz or Mike Krahulik & Jerry Holikins.
So what happened at Appleseed? I made money. It’s simple. Yet I made money by drastically shifting how I did the show. I moved myself out of artist alley and into a vendor’s booth. I sold Lego mini figures, Heroclix, mini comics, magnets, and buttons. In two days I made more money than I did in five years of artist alley shows. I had hoped this plan would work, but I have that hope for every show I do. This time it worked.
I have a number of friends who do way more shows than I do. They do commissions and rely on the income from shows to help pay the rent. They rarely break even and are miserable and crest fallen after every show. Meanwhile another people I know online don’t do shows, and base their whole business model online. They seem happier overall and better off financially.
So that’s the dilemma. Hold on to an out of date mode of promoting comics or ditch it for a more modern method of comic sales. Even though I didn’t sell any Bridgette comics at the show, I got paid by Lulu that morning. If I had a fork, I could eat my cake.