Letters to Holly

Friday, May 20

Ready to Rumble

It's the day before the show, and I'm starting to get jittery. I won't sat anxious or worried. I can't say it's all giggly anticipation either.

I talked to another local creator today at lunch. I met him last year at the convention; his table was next to mine, and we were shunted into the far-off corner of the convention. Half our foot traffic was for the bathrooms around the corner. He hasn't done anything for this year's show, but he'll be there tomorrow. He'll sell the same material he had on hand then. He also makes buttons from old comics, and he says he'll make a new batch between lunch and the show. I can't do that. I can't go into tomorrow's show with something left to finish. That would be like not knowing all my lines for a play, and we both know I am militant and neurotic about lines.

In talking to him though, I realized there is one more thing to do, and it's smallish. I need to make price signs for my items. I plan to sell the comics for $2 each (all three for $5) and the sketches for $1. But in talking to this guy, I wonder if I'm doing myself a disservice. Maybe, I'm thinking, I should sell them for $2 too. Just sell everything for $2. At least, I also think, start at $2 and lower it to $1 if sales are slow. But I don't think they will be. These are nice cards, and $2 is nothing for clean work at that size.

I realized that the convention makes prices tricky. We local guys have gone to the big shows -- Atlanta, Charlotte, Greenville, etc -- and we've seen what the markets bear at those shows. But Fanaticon is new, and it created a new communal marketplace that didn't exist in this area before. Unlike the big shows, we creators are virtually all amateurs. We don't have the clear achievement and seal of quality that a major publisher provides. A guy who worked on Spider-Man can set a decent price for artwork. A guy like me has no understood status to latch a value onto. I have to be flexible.

I also have the notion that these first years of my convention work should be very affordable. My comics are experiments in resource organization and scheduling. I always had the three-year plan: make a comic, make a better comic, make the best comic. Next year's title(s) will be beyond what I'm selling tomorrow, and that should (and will) command a better price. Currently, however, I can't justify it, and the cheaper I make it, the more I sell. Getting my name into the local market is more important to me right now than making the most profit. But profit is a concern in the long term. This is a hobby, yes, but not a charity.

I look forward to the show. Really. But I don't look forward to the loading and unpacking. Or, worse, the potential to not leave my station for eight hours. I'll have to rely on my neighbors for bathroom breaks. I bought snacks and will guzzle water in between sales pitches. I've heard from at least two fellow parents who are bringing their kids to see the costumes and take in the atmosphere. I look forward to seeing them in my capacity as small-businessman comic creator.

Anyway, here we are. I drew a comic, drew an auction piece, and drew sketch cards. The solitary craft work is done. Now is the time to gladhand and sell it. Sunday will be the first day outside the consideration of this show I've had since July. Tonight is the auction dance party. We're invited to wear costumes. I have on a Fantastic Four shirt. With that and my hair color, I'm Mister Fantastic. Done and done.

Freaky Picture of the Day
This is a schedule guide for upcoming movies. What are the odds that these two names would appear side-by-side in this order on a TV schedule this week? I have to take this as an omen, right? Like when I saw the the deputy's names in the comic right before he was born?

No comments: