RathaCon 2019 In Review

I’ve been to RathaCon many a year before. It was one of my first shows as a vendor, and has since become one of my anchor shows. Because of that, I do my best to go every year. I even turned down the offer to go to Awesome Con in Washington, DC again to get to RathaCon instead.

(Mostly because both shows were happening on the same weekend… but RathaCon is physically closer to me and lasts only one day. So I could just drive down, show off, and drive back home without paying for a hotel. Very nice.)

However, this year, RathaCon had a couple of things working against it.

See, Awesome Con wasn’t the only other show happening the same weekend: there was also Gem City Comic Con, and two other shows in West Virginia that I can’t remember the names of. So RathaCon had to work extra hard to get folks to come in.

To my understanding, they ran radio ads, because there were a few attendees who mentioned, “I didn’t know this show was a thing until I heard about it on the radio yesterday! So I HAD to check it out!” So, kudos to the RathaCon staff for getting the word out.

And I’ll humble-brag a bit: I think the print I made for RathaCon helped to draw eyeballs to the show on social media. Especially on Facebook.

That said, the crowd this year was about the same size as last year’s audience, but they thinned out WAY sooner towards the end of the day. Partly because of the rain, I think.

I’m not sure how many attendees were current students of Ohio University, though.

One of the reasons the convention staff picked the day they did was to try and entice the local college crowd to come and attend.

But here is where another factor worked against them: April 27, the day of RathaCon, was a week before finals. No sane college student is leaving campus the day before finals week hits, unless they are Sherlock Holmes’-level of confident about their work.

When I talked about it with the staff, we mentioned the idea of offering discounted attendance to people who brought a valid OU ID. Hopefully they do that next year.

Another thing I hope they do next year: get volunteers who check in with the artists more often throughout the day. I was the only person at my table and, aside from the one or two times I could see another neighbor’s table, I could not leave my spot. I’m glad I packed a lunch.

This is a grievance I’ve already discussed with the staff, and they’re working to resolve the issue for next year. I’m confident they’ll fix it, because RathaCon is VERY good at accepting constructive criticism and working to improve year after year. That is one of the reasons they are my anchor show.

In conclusion: was this the best ever RathaCon so far? No. It wasn’t awful or even bad. But there will be changes next year. Hopefully for the better.

And hey! I booked another appearance before 3 Rivers Comicon!

If you’re in the Saint Clairsville, OH area on May 4, stop at New Dimension Comics in the Ohio Valley Mall. They’re running Free Comic Book Day, and they gave the OK for me to showcase and sell my work. Also, there will be a GhostBusters division there. (I talked to some GhostBusters at RathaCon and they mentioned they were appearing at FCBD at the comic shop.)

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

FOR THE HERD! …Con

Holy banana pants! HerdCon was a BLAST to go to!

I actually left for the show a day early: the organizers informed artists and vendors that the building had only one elevator. Because of that, the organizers suggested (pretty heavily) that we vendors and artists set up the day before the show, to prevent congestion on the morning of HerdCon.

Which is what I did. As expected, the Friday before the show was pretty congested for set-up. But it was still nice to take my sweet bippy time to get the table ready… instead of feeling the pressure to have everything all set up in an hour or less (which is what I’m used to with other shows).

On the day of the convention, I wasn’t sure what to expect for attendance or sales.

By the end of the day, it was the BEST sales day I’ve had at a one-day show since I started selling my work at conventions!

What helped with the sales, I think, were the following key points:

  • The organizers knew what they were doing. They approached the show as a non-profit community event (as events like these should be treated, in my honest opinion). Their communications with the organizers was quick, thorough, and to the point. Plus they made lunch available for vendors for an extra $10…which I took advantage of. I got the veggie sandwich lunch (admittedly, I should have ordered the ham sandwich. But hey – lesson for next time).
  • The show organizers promoted the HECK out of this show. They reached out to local press, updated their Facebook and Instagram accounts consistently, and offered freebies that would entice the audience they were looking for. I remember one Facebook post promoting a giveaway of free dice with the HerdCon logo as the highest roll number. If that’s not nerdy, I don’t know what is.
  • I talked a lot about the show on my email newsletter, and got some peeps from previous shows to show up to visit. Thanks for coming! And thanks for putting up with my incessant talking about it.
  • There were things on my table marked down for clearance. I know what it’s like to be a broke college student. Plus there’s a LOT of inventory that needed to be cleared out so I can make room for future books, prints, and stickers. So I marked all of my 8.5 x 11 prints down to $3 each – buy one get one free. And I had grab-bags. While grab bags didn’t sell as much, prints certainly did – I have only 4 designs left!
  • I also did caricatures on the spot. I was surprised at how well caricature sales took off at Marietta Comic and Creator Con last year, so I thought to bring it here. The sales of caricatures alone made up for the cost of the AirBNB and gas to get to HerdCon.

Would I go again next year? ABSOLUTELY.

Should you go as an attendee next year? DOUBLE-ABSOLUTELY. Everyone I chatted with had a fun time, enjoyed the Artist Alley, and got to go to fun panels and play tabletop games. Fun times were had by all!

I’m so tickled by how well this show did, especially since I mentioned in my previous post that I had been burned by inaugural shows before. So I’m happy to see HerdCon succeed! I hope it continues to do so.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Getting Ready for HerdCon

From the HerdCon Facebook Page.

HerdCon is a new pop culture con hosted by Marshall University. The folks who organize this show asked me almost a year ago if I would be interested in having a table at their show, to showcase my work.

I had to give it a lot of thought, considering I had been burned before by new convention launches (looking at you, Put-In-Play). But I was willing to give this show the benefit of the doubt for a few reasons:

  • The table was inexpensive (less than $40, even with me pre-ordering lunch).
  • It’s hosted by a university – shows hosted by universities tend to do well. For examples of this, I think of Parkersburg Pop Con and Animarathon.
  • It’s a one-day show.

Now, the show IS just for one day, but I’m shipping out a day early to go and set up the table the night before the show.

Why? Well, besides the practical reason of “the building has maybe two elevators if you squint,” it would give me a chance to visit Huntington. A city I’ve not been to before.

I’m hoping to go down to town and look around for any comic shops, coffee shops, or indie bookstores that may be interested in carrying my books, minicomics, or prints.

But back to HerdCon itself.

This is usually the part of the post where I talk about a giveaway I’m doing. Well, this year, I’m saving giveaways and freebies for shows where I’m a return guest, like RathaCon. Since this is my first year at HerdCon, no giveaways or freebies will be there… this time.

With that said, if you’re going to HerdCon, I WILL have my 8.5 x 11 inch prints on discount. Plus there will be a new 4 x 6 inch miniprint for sale, and the Buffalo God Print will have a price drop, from $20 to $15.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading, and I hope to see you at HerdCon!

You. Are. Awesome.

Panel Pandemonium at Imaginarium

For a show I was invited to at the last minute, Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY was worth going to!

There were a few things that helped:

  1. I shared a table with two very cool authors: Neal Sayatovich, writer of dystopian psychological affair, and Joshua Hampton, writer of epic and high fantasy. Neal covered my table fee in exchange for some art (thanks Neal!).
  2. The folks at Imaginarium gave me a free pass in exchange for doing panels. 4 panels, to be precise.

Holy banana pants did I meet a LOT of cool folks at this show! From mermaid/pirate lesbian fiction writer DB Francais to Justin and Cory at Purvis Games, from Glenn Porzig to Mackenzie Flohr, holy jeez were these people super approachable and fun to chat with!

Most importantly, I learned a lot.

If there is one thing I can commend Imaginarium on, it’s their panels. While it’s kind of silly just how many there were (often having four or more happening in the same time slot), the breadth and depth of topics was hugely commendable. Plus, the panelists themselves knew what they were talking about. One author described the panels as “iron sharpening iron,” and he wasn’t lying.

Here’s a blog post listing the ones I presented in. I think the best moderated ones that I did were LGBTQ Characters in Fiction, Healthier Habits for Creatives, and Composing Newsletters for MailChimp and Beyond. The first two were moderated by Janie Franz, who is a marvelous lady. (Check out her stuff.)

Those were the ones I presented in though. I also attended a panel about Military in Fiction (Neal was in that one), Audiobooks, and Freelance Writing. The Freelance Writing one covered basically what I already knew – but the Audiobooks panel was immensely helpful.

Why? Because I want to get into voice-over and voice-acting. (Yes I’m aware the two are very different.) The Audiobook panel covered a lot, from authors finding and hiring talent and what they look for (always a plus) to knowing how to set up your own DIY recording space.

I’m REALLY jazzed about what I learned in these panels. The best thing is: these panels are giving me some new blog post ideas.

And with that, I’ll make my temporary leave. Hopefully next time I’ll have a tutorial for you.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Punks, Comics, and Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh

pittsburgh sketches

This was a surprisingly long weekend, even though it was only two days. I had multiple stops over the two-day span, which is why.

The first stop was Copacetic Comics Company, on Dobson Street in Pittsburgh. I was worried that I would have to pay for parking (because city life), but I found a space around the corner.

A while back I had called Copacetic to ask some questions about author appearances and consignments, and somehow I forgot that Bill (the man on the phone) said the store was on the 3rd floor of the building. So I was a bit surprised to see Kaibur Coffee on the ground floor. I had to approach the building to be sure I found the right space.

Turns out – yep, I found it. So I went up the narrow blue staircase, past posters of indie bands, local theater productions, and guest lectures, and found THIS:

Continue reading “Punks, Comics, and Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh”