What is  Sac-Con?

Sac-Con is my local convention, I have posted about it before.  Since 2014 I have learned a lot. as a result my books have gotten better, and I have become a more well rounded creator. I say this for a lot of reasons, and a big part of it has been from attending my local convention.

This is the place where we creators get to become a part of something larger then ourselves sitting in the isolated confines of our studios. It's where were get to share with the people who have the courage and the savy to look a creator in the eye and say "I believe in what you are doing so much I am buying your book." Its where we can see other creators at our same level.

The websites like: Web Comics Alliance, and Comix Tribe have helped me so much. But the experience of doing it, of putting myself in front of people has helped me grow. I have more faith in my work now, and as a result far more courage to handle the projects I want to do the way I want to do them. There is no replacement for being there and doing it.

The local conventions are the small guys, for examLocal convention spot McClellan ple Artist Alley in Sac-Con is a mild investment of less then $100, the parking is free, and the foot traffic is location is within 20 min from where I live. Those factors mean that I can focus on the experience without drowning in the pressure that I am on the hook for $400+ dollars for the next level of con. It means here I get to cut my teeth.


Why a Local Convention helps you build yourself as a creator:

Knowing that I need to only sell so much gives me the freedom to relax enough to figure out more about who I am as a creator, and what my creation is.

Learning to Pitch:

For example at my local convention I brought enough books settled into my table and then readied my elevator pitch. My first time I was petrified, and even though the coolest Pirate I have ever seen came by and bought a copy of Damage I realized quickly my pitch wasn't organic and was not working smoothly. Over the course of the day I got a real world interaction preaching my pitch to anyone at the local convention who caught my attention. My voice as a creator altered to what was working.

Pitch Example:

  • original: "Imagine starting a business with you best friends, now imagine how they talk to one another. Damage Inc. is about Close friends starting a business hunting powered creatures and people to get paid."
  • Improved: "Damage Inc is about some friends who start a business together hunting supernatural creatures and super powered meta humans for bounties...."*dramatic pause* "But they suck at it... "another pause, usually getting  smile or sometimes outright laughter.* "So it usually ends in gunfire, explosions and Smack talk."

I got honest feed back by paying attention to what worked at the table, and I learned not to accidental insinuate to people that their friends suck. That first day is till sold 17 books, which is higher then normal for a first time, but Now I sell far more.


IMG_20160123_095514159Learning to Show:

Reader copies: I saw other tables using copies of their books as reader copies. Where you take a single issue unbag it and leave it out for people to view.  It is a great way to get them to open the book. More importantly what I realized there at Sac-Con is once they open that book and see my art work, I get braver. My confidence  works in my favor and it helps me make sales.

How to talk to people:

Barking: A good friend of mine was helping me that first day. He is so.... ahem energetic that he became a carnival barker as I walked away from the table to go meet C.P. Smith and Mel Rubi via a friend. (If you get a chance to meet either of those guys do so. They are great, and are guests often at Sac-Con. C.P. is a master of composition, and Mel's lines are going to keep me jealous until I die attempting to surpass him.)

On my way Back I could hear m friend an aisle over. When I got there I asked. "Did anyone stop? Nope. Sac-Con goers didn't respond to  carnival barking. I have even seen some creators begin barking at people while they are at another creator's table... That is not only ineffective, but rude. In my opinion courtesy towards the other creators is just as important as a book sale.

Learning from Rusty:

Recently I was talking to Rusty Gilligan. He is the man behind Mac and Trouble. (It's also a bad ass book.) Rusty is a former pro wrestler and he has a take on the tabling that I feel is masterful. Rusty enlightened to the true purpose of the table. It is not to sell books, its to sell an experience they can get no where else. Artists being the introverts we naturally are tend to head down and sketch. People are brave enough to come up and ask how much is this Book? What do we do? Artists tend to say the price and put our heads back down. I have seen it at Sac-Con, Schu saw it at Eternal Con.

Rusty is very social, he talks to everyone who comes by. He does card tricks, and it makes an atmosphere like your at Sac-Con with a friend, not a salesman. It all starts with saying hello. He even has a friend come and help him by cosplaying in a cat suit as one of his characters. Its all just to get people to crack a smile and enjoy meeting the creator.

How I look at it now:

At places like Sac-Con we can not really compete with the retailers. They will always have more books, and a bigger variety. They shops will be nicer and they will have a book for everyone. We won't. It is not wise to try your voice disappears. Now when people approach I say hello, ask them how they are doing, compliment their brilliant choice of attire etc. In my past opinion it was all BS done to manipulate people into buying books. Now though I look at it as this is what people are looking for in Artist alley. Its why some people even go to Sac-Con. I'm not a salesman, I am a creator sharing my passion and that I can get behind.


To be continued: Networking and building to bigger conventions.