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!
This is going to be a 2-part blog series. Part 1 – today – is about what I accomplished this year. Part 2 will be about what I plan to get done next year, in 2019.
So I had a list. Like everybody else, I wanted to get everything on the list done. That said, I’m happy that at least half of it was accomplished. I’ll get into why the entire thing wasn’t complete by the end of the post.
The purple circles next to the entries are for comics/business related goals. The green circles indicate personal goals of mine.
I can tell you right now the reasons that “Get a passport” and “Pay off at least one student loan” weren’t accomplished.
A) The student loan goal wasn’t accomplished because my student loans are federal. In one package. The package has a breakdown of, like, 6 loans. But my repayment plan is set so that one payment splits among all the loans. I tried to negotiate it to do otherwise, but the loan servicer wouldn’t let me. To do that would have necessitated changing the repayment plan, which I couldn’t do until the very end of this year.
B) I have the money saved back for a passport. HOWEVER, there’s a metric ass-ton of paperwork involved to get one. One of the documents you need is your original birth certificate. Not a copy. Already this is a pain in the ass for me, because my birth certificate is on THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE COUNTRY. Thanks, dad, for being in the military when I was born.
All that said, Let’s talk about what WAS accomplished, in chronological order.
JANUARY: Start Roth IRA
This was top of my list for one reason only: I opened the wrong type of IRA last year. Aspiration is a great company, but right now they only have Traditional IRAs.
(The difference between a Traditional and Roth IRA can be found in this post. No, it won’t freeze your brain.)
So I opened a Roth IRA with Fidelity. I also got an Acorns account, but that’s a different ball of wax.
MARCH/APRIL: Make $500 in sales at a convention
Thank you to the peeps at Awesome Con for making THIS goal happen!
Awesome Con this year was the last weekend of March, going into April 1. This was my first convention in over 5 years with an attendance of over 70,000 people. So I was nervous.
I wrote a lot more about the experience of Awesome Con in this post if you would like to read it.
MAY: Edit The Legend of Jamie Roberts to Completion
I have this day marked specifically in my bullet journal: May 30, 2018. That’s the day I wrote the outline for the final draft of The Legend of Jamie Roberts.
Up until the outline, I combed through the first 5 to 7 chapters and fixed a LOT of things. Did I comb through the story after Chapter 9? Well, I didn’t feel it was necessary to.
Why? Because as long as I have the outline in hand, the story is set. It’s not entirely set in stone, to allow for some creative wiggle room. Because present day me will not be the same as me 5 years from now. And this comic is going to be updating online for YEARS.
That said, I wanted to write down the trajectory of the story and how it will end. That’s what the outline is for. And I’m glad I wrote it.
AUGUST: Paid Off Credit Card.
I got myself into credit card debt last year for one altruistic but dumb reason. I was making donations to political and social causes and thinking, “I can pay this off soon!”
Only I didn’t.
So I stopped making donations… though you couldn’t tell with the amount of mail I get from organizations asking me to donate to them.
The other problem, too, was that, at a certain point, I was charging reprints of my books onto my credit card. While shows like Awesome Con were a hit (and paid off the charges), other shows like Put-N-Play were flops that drained my money.
So I got aggressive. I adopted zero-sum budgeting and managed to pay off over $3000 in 6 months.
My last credit card payment was on my birthday, August 24. And I was SO FREAKING HAPPY.
Now I only use that credit card for my phone bill. Nothing else.
I did pull a potentially risky move and got a second credit card. But the new card I got is more in line with my goals. It has no interest for the first 15 months of using it, and it’s a cash back card. So far I’ve only been using it for everyday purchases (groceries and gas) and paying it off at the end of the month. The cast back I get? I put into my savings.
I do also use this new card for business purposes. In fact, I would rather have this card be for business use. However, I only purchase things if I have the money in the bank to pay it off ASAP.
NOVEMBER: Finish Writing Auxaton’s Story
I didn’t announce this, but I DID take part in National Novel Writing Month. I kept it low-key because I had just wrapped up Inktober and started a KickStarter to get the sketches into a book. (That KickStarter ended up running twice, because it failed the first time. I’ll talk about that in a future post.)
National Novel Writing Month encourages participants to write a totally new idea. But I broke that “rule” to rewrite Auxaton’s story. I had written the first draft a few years ago and wrote myself into a corner. I wanted to start over again. So I did.
Holy dang was it an emotional roller coaster! While writing it, I laughed. I cried (a lot). I had revelations. I wrote EVERYTHING down. I made the 50,000 word goal by Day 22.
In the end, the novel ended up with 74,079 words.
I don’t plan on touching it again for a long while. I want the story to sit there until I can look at it again with an editorial eye, not a sentimental one.
After I wrapped up writing the story, I realized two things:
1) I like writing in the mornings for an hour. It gets the creative juices flowing.
2) Inspiration is like a cat: it wants your attention when you’re at your busiest. So just keep working.
???: Make Appearances at 3 Comic Shops
I feel like I fudged this one. Not all of the stores I appeared at this year were comic shops. I also didn’t specify if these shops had to be new to me.
So… most of the comic shop appearances I made were at New Dimension Comics locations. Though I DID make an appearance at Half Price Books in Reynoldsburg, OH on August 18. There was also a visit paid to The Big Idea Bookstore in Pittsburgh on June 23. I talked about that a bit in this post because it was the same weekend as Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh.
???: Learn 3 new recipes and cook them regularly.
Truth be told: I started this year not knowing how to cook hardly anything. I wanted to learn to cook because I was tired of spending money on Subway and other places that made food for me. I wanted to learn how to make things myself, dangit!
Some of the recipes I learned this year (that I still cook) include:
I also perfected cooking chicken, fried potatoes, French toast, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, muffins, and ground beef.
All this made me realize: I LOVE COOKING. I love making food using SCIENCE. Plus, if done right, recipes like slow-cooker recipes can last really Mc-Freaking-Long.
Why didn’t I get the entire list accomplished? Because looking back on it, I was keeping track of the wrong things.
Up until my October vacation to New Mexico, my daily tracking regarded… the food I ate. I wasn’t tracking pages written or other relevant metrics on a daily basis like I should have. I fixed this in November, but by then, it was too late to wrap up the entire list.
Keeping track of the food I ate DID help in some regards. It helped me realize that I was getting lactose intolerant with age. Plus it helped me keep track of when/if leftovers from my cooked dishes were going bad.
But next year, I’m going to be doing daily metrics specific to my goals for the year.
How about you? What were your goals for 2018? Did you end up accomplishing them? What lead you to succeed, or not succeed? I’d love to hear about it.
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:
This past Sunday, June 17, was not just Father’s Day, but also Kennywood Comicon. Yep, a comicon was held in an amusement park.
It was pretty cool, not gonna lie.
The way the show was set up this year, though, had the artists situated in a picnic pavilion tucked behind the elephant ear booth. It was great to get shade and the occasional breeze. However, we were just tucked away enough that cosplayers by the lagoon had to direct traffic back to us.
Which, holy banana pants, kudos to those cosplayers. It was sunny, humid, and over 90 degrees, and the cosplayers were in full Star Wars and Spiderman/Deadpool get-up. How they did NOT die is a testament to how well con staff treats folks.
I also need to give a big shout-out to my comics buddy and patron on Patreon, Dave. He helped cover for food and helped me carry my con gear back to my car at the end of the day. Thank you so much, Dave!
(I’ll go ahead and take this time to let you know that Dave now has a Patreon page of his own. If you like data graphs showing the methods of dying in the Star Trek original show, or illuminated manuscripts of the Holy Hand Grenade speech from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, get thee to his Patreon page!)
On the upside, sales from Kennywood Comicon DID help make up for the loss I took from Put-N-Play the weekend before. The downside is, not by a whole lot.
That’s partially why I have commission pre-orders open. For folks who are attending my next show on June 24, Feminist Zine Fest Pittsburgh, I’ll draw a black-and-white, full-body commission of a character of your choice for $25. You just need to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get started. If you’re on my email list, you already know all about this, because I just sent an email out yesterday announcing this pre-order sale.
There’s also a couple of appearances I’m set to do on June 23, the day before the zine fest!
Saturday, May 26 was the second annual YWCA Mini-Con in Wheeling WV. And there were a couple of things I forgot from last year:
a) just like last year, this fell on the same day as a marathon happening in downtown. So my usual route to get to the YWCA was closed off. Oops.
b) there was AC, but the room we were set up to sell our wares in was large and didn’t circulate the air.
c) I had wall space!
I took full advantage of that wall space to hang up my clearance prints. I sold way more comics than prints, BUT I did sell two clearance prints. THAT helped.
In fact, a lot of my clearance stuff got sold out at this show. Thank you, peeps who bought those! You helped clear the way for new art and comics in the future.
If you’re interested in any clearance or limited edition things, here’s a link to my Storenvy shop. There’s TWO “Jamie and the Dragon” miniprints left! And FOUR “Faerie Queen” left!
Back to the show, it was great to be there once more. Seeing all my repeat fans, getting to know peeps better, chatting with the pagans in attendance (Wheeling has a surprisingly large pagan contingent in the city). It was all fun!
By the end of the day, it was the most profitable one-day show I had done thus far. In fact, I made more than I made at last year’s show! I think the clearance items helped. So did having two new books and some new zines.
10/10. Would do again.
(Also there was pizza given to vendors. My “Smile! Pizza Loves You” shirt I wore that day was prophetic!)
And now, I’m going to rest before I restock and prep for the next show. I am, as the French would say, le pooped.
My next show is not until June 8 through 10, at Put-N-Play at Put-N-Bay. I have never been to this con. I’m only going because my buddy and Dance Around the Maypole collaborator Chloe talked me into it. Wish me luck!
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.
P.S. River City Comic Con got cancelled. The organizer has fallen into ill health. Be sure to wish him well on the River City Facebook Page!