The RathaQuest of RathaCon

rathacon artist alley table 2018

So…Many…Puns… But it was so worth it!

I almost didn’t go this year because RathaCon was the same day as the first day of Ohio Valley Pride in Wheeling. However, the RathaCon table was booked by the time I found out Ohio Valley Pride was happening, and I didn’t want to back out of my commitment because I know my fans down in Athens would have missed me.

I’m glad I went, though, because this was the most financially successful RathaCon I have attended so far! I think it helps, too, that my table buddy this year and I had a good chemistry – our jokes seemed to entertain the attendees, at the very least!

Yes, I had a table buddy at this year’s RathaCon – she goes by the online handle of Arcanineryu and this was her first selling-at-a-convention experience. I think she did great!

In fact, we both had REALLY good sales. One element that I think helped the most with that was the RathaQuest the convention organizers ran.

RathaQuest was a scavenger hunt: you went up to one of the convention organizers (conveniently cosplaying as a Sim with an exclamation mark over her head), and she would give you a card that listed a clue on it. The clue was either to find a specific table and ask a question, or to go to every table and say a password and they would give you a piece of a puzzle, or to go to a table for a clue hidden directly on the table. You bet your bottom dollar I was part of that scavenger hunt, and the guests and I had a great time with it. I was a clue holder: you had to find my table and ask, “What is Hexacon, and what are the duck-sized horses?”

(Hexacon is a convention that happens in Johnson & Sir: it’s a witches convention, and one of the attractions is the duck-sized horses. Unfortunately, at one point, they get loose.)

The RathaQuest was REALLY fun and I hope the organizers do it again next year.

There were some artists that felt the convention should have been had when the school year was open, because Athens is a college town (Ohio University is there). However, I feel a bit differently about it: see, when I was in college at Bowling Green State University, the anime club hosted a one-day convention called Animarathon. It’s a convention still held annually.

The problem is this: yes, attendance will grow enormously. Your sales will not. Because college students are notoriously broke.

I think I would rather go to a convention that’s geared towards the local community and happens in the summer, instead of going to a convention during the school year that attracts a lot of attendees who say to you, “I can’t, I’m too broke.”

But that’s just me. What do you think?

By the way, my next convention appearance is this weekend at 3 Rivers Comicon, May 19 and 20 in West Mifflin, PA. It’ll be at the Century III Mall. There’s free parking and food trucks, if that further entices you. And yes, I will be sharing a table with someone at this show, too, this time with Kampie from Classic Plastics earlier this year. I’m excited to be sharing a table with Kampie again! Also, Arcanineryu will be at the show, as well, so be sure to stop by her table, as well!

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

You. Are. Awesome.

To T-Shirt or Not to T-Shirt

Back then I had this shirt available. Not anymore.

At RathaCon this year there was a guy who worked as a T-shirt printer who came up to my table. I took a second to get some feedback from him about potential T-shirt designs.

The thing is, the most popular request I get for a T-shirt is, “Do you have the T-Rex Sissy Fight as a shirt?”

I did, once upon a time, when I still had a RedBubble account. I deleted my account for a few reasons, but mostly because I wasn’t making money on that site, and I like being in charge of my own printing and taking the products with me to conventions.

However, T-shirts are something I don’t want to print from home because the equipment is 1) huge, and 2) expensive. But if I DID get T-Shirts made, I wanted them on hand, again, to sell at conventions. So I’ve been on the lookout for T-shirt printers, but only in passing.

Anyway, I asked this guy if he could print T-Rex Sissy Fight T-shirts with the colors in the image.

Because here’s the thing – mass-produced T-shirts typically use screen-printing or a method of printing that only uses one or two colors. It’s easier to replicate onto fabric that way. BUT the image I have of the T-Rex Sissy Fight is not that at all. It would require a more sophisticated version of heat transferring, to transfer the image onto the fabric, which tends to get pricey.

What this dude said surprised me.

He said, “The T-Rex Sissy Fight may get more interest, because it IS nerdy, but it won’t sell. But THIS,” to which he pointed at my Dia de la Gata card, “this would be more worthwhile to pursue. You would sell the hell out of that design.”

(This card is available to purchase on Storenvy if you’re interested)

I can see where he’s coming from. When he pointed out my la Gata card as being the better T-shirt design, he was thinking of what would be easier to sell at places like Rue 21 or Wal-Mart, or other places where T-shirt designs are ubiquitous.

And yeah, la Gata would probably sell well in those kinds of markets.

But making art for t-shirts…is that what I want to do?

It’s kind of the same dilemma that hit my buddy Thom Hotka, creator of Nextuus, in this video:

There was also a piece of advice I got from my Intro to Entrepreneurship instructor when I was still in college. We were given the assignment of thinking of a business, and one of his rules was “Do NOT pitch a T-shirt company. Everyone wants to start one and the market is oversaturated with people making T-shirts in their dorm rooms. Think of something else.”

There is truth to that statement. At every convention I go to there is, at minimum, three T-shirt vendors, or people who have a main line of products who also have T-shirts. Even at small shows like Intervention Con.

Do I really want to include T-shirts in my line, given how ubiquitous they are, and how expensive they are to make and store?

I don’t know. I’m still thinking this through. Let me know what you think down in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Bringing Blog Posts Back!

rathacon convention artist alley table 2017

Alright! I’m back from RathaCon in Athens, OH. Not a whole lot of sales were made, but lots of folks signed up for the email newsletter and, by the sounds of it, I got a comic shop in the area interested in consigning my books. Plus I got to meet an indie filmmaker looking for pitches (I’ll get to him in the next post), and a T-shirt designer who REALLY liked my Dia de la Gata card design and wanted to get that on a shirt. (I’ll get to that in the blog post after the one about the filmmaker.) Continue reading “Bringing Blog Posts Back!”

I’m Going to RathaCon

Oh hey, a super short video update to let you know I’m going to RathaCon this weekend in Athens, OH.

I went to RathaCon last year and it was a lot of fun. They asked me to come back again this year, to which I said, “OF FREAKING COURSE,” and if you’re in the area, you can see me May 7th and 8th at the Athens Community Center.

Hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it, you can still pre-order the first issue of Charlie & Clow. Patrons of Validation also get a cool little bonus.

Thanks for watching and reading!

You. Are. Awesome.