Ok, here’s the deal: I’ll be taking the Storenvy shop down very soon. As in, closing its doors.
Why? Because I want to build my own online store for my website, instead of having it under the Storenvy name.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved working with Storenvy! They were certainly more agreeable than most online stores (ahemEtsyandRedBubbleahem).
However, I’ve kind of outgrown Storenvy – they’re starting to ask for subscriptions out of me in order to do things like email abandoned carts, offer discounts, and have my own domain. Just looking at the math, it would be easier and cheaper for me to host my own dang store.
(To be honest, there would probably be more eyeballs on my store if I hosted it myself.)
With all of this in mind, I want to give the Storenvy store one last hurrah:
From today until SEPT 30, buy anything from the store, and get a free piece of original art from my bin included in your package!
This is a $10 to $30 value – free with your purchase.
I returned once again to Comicon Erie, and was surprised by a couple of things this year.
First, I brought a table buddy this year. This is Mack.
While not an artist, he helped a lot with carrying my gear in, setting up the table, and tracking sales.
I brought him with me because last year’s Comicon Erie was ABSOLUTELY PACKED on Saturday. People had a hard time moving up and down the aisle, even with the ample amount of space given.
This year, though… Saturday had a lower turnout than I expected. And the cosplay contest wrapped up at 5 pm but the show floor stayed open until 7. Not a lot happened once the cosplay contest was over. (I mean, there’s a reason a lot of shows have the cosplay contest be the last thing that happens in a day. Did it change because they got overwhelmed last year?)
Sunday had more attendees this year than last year. Plus there were some vendors and artists who said they did better sales on Sunday than on the previous two days. That makes sense, since there are some con goers who wait until the end, after scoping everything out, to go back to the artists and vendors they liked.
But this year, I’ll be honest, I was expecting more out of Comicon Erie than what was there.
I don’t know if there was another event happening at the same time, but attendance was not what I expected it to be. And that affected my sales. I earned less this year compared to last year.
On top of that… well, I need to preface this: at large shows like this one or Phoenix Comicon, etc, on Day 3 there will be a form on your table asking, “Hey! Would you like to reserve this same spot next year? Just fill out this form and include a deposit, and we’ll reserve this for you next year!”
This year the convention was asking for a larger deposit than what they asked for last year.
I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say, “Well, the convention center is likely raising the rates on everything.” (Convention centers do that. A LOT.)
But look – I did so well last year I decided to reserve the spot and come back this year. But this year actually earned me less in sales. And now the center wants a LARGER deposit out of me?
What if sales just keep going down every year and the deposit gets increasingly larger and larger? I’m not interested.
Plus, it’s not cheap for me to go to this con- I’m not local. So I would have to pay for hotel (or at least an AirBnB), food, the convention floor spot, and gas to get there.
Also, chairs were not provided with the table this year. Somehow I missed that detail on the application, but I thought that (like MOST OTHER comic conventions), chairs would be provided with your table space. But not here!
I asked one of the con organizers to bring me a chair – which I would need to pay to rent out. But they never got back to me. So I was on my feet ALL THREE DAYS of the show. Thankfully I didn’t give my money before they took my request and ditched me – and I had a table neighbor who lent me his chair once in a while. (And now’s a good time to give a shout-out to Keith Cunningham – on Instagram @cartoonkeith. Check out his comics! He lent me his chair.)
So, Comicon Erie, I love you, but I won’t be going back next year.
That said, I saw some posts from folks I follow on Instagram – turns out, there WAS a convention happening the same weekend, but in Maryland. Small Press Expo (or SPX).
I’ve always wanted to go to this show, so I plan on going to SPX in lieu of Comicon Erie next year.
I hear that SPX is harder to get into, though. So I’ll have to do my best!
My second year at West Virginia Pop Culture Con went SUPER FREAKING WELL.
Somehow Dave (my table buddy and Patreon patron) and I managed to get TWO table spots (don’t ask me how. I’m still baffled). I wasn’t prepared for the extra long table space, but now I’m getting ideas for how I want to do a two-table spread at future cons, if that ever happens again. Or even better – a corner spot.
This year was awesome, not just for me but for Dave, as well. It also went really well for Cheyenne, another art buddy! WV Pop Con is really the place to go as an indie creator, because the show focuses a lot on the creative talent. I don’t think there were any celebrities at this show, except (arguably) for the guy who’s currently working on the art for Scooby Apocalypse, Patrick Olliffe.
There was only one thing that did not turn out well at WV Pop Con, and that was the silent auction I had for the framed original inks and lines for “God.”
For one thing, I forgot the jar to slip bids into. Oops.
Not that it would have mattered, because there were only two bids placed on this baby – one bid was for $5. The other was for $7.
My minimum bid was $50.
So, not going to do the silent auction again. I kept the framed art piece because I am NOT selling off an original art piece measuring 11 by 17 inches WITH A FRAME for $7.
Just gonna’ mark it to $150 as a flat rate and take it to Comicon Erie (unless someone in Saint Clairsville, OH, Wheeling, WV, or Youngstown, OH REALLY wants it. In which case, leave a comment. Let me know).
On the more positive side of things, my profit margin was higher than last year because I lowered my cost on one major thing – a place to crash.
Last year I stayed at a hotel (La Quinta). This year I stayed at an AirBnB and saved myself an EASY $100.
Another thing – having a table buddy lowered my table cost. And it got Dave a place to showcase his work… which is good because it turned out that this was his best show as an exhibitor EVER.
Win-wins all around!
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.
P.S. The AirBnB I stayed at had a 15-year-old cat named Splash. She is the sweetest ball of fluff I ever had the joy of holding and petting.
I meditate every morning after breakfast. It’s what I do before I sit down in my studio space to work, to clear my mind.
Today, I had a realization during meditation.
See, I started this year with a major, singular goal – all of my other goals were made with this one priority in mind.
That priority was to be able to not need a “day job” by the end of the year, and make all of my earnings through Fantasyville Productions.
My realization during the meditation was this:
“Fantasyville Productions is paying my bills. I have a sizeable savings cushion thanks to my hard work last year. I’m living on my own for the time being. And I’m on track to not needing to work at the comic shop – they only have me there for 4 or 5 hours a week now as the Facebook page manager.
“And for a while, I was actually scared because of losing my hours. But this was what I set out to do this year!”
I was scared because I was succeeding.
Neil Gaiman was right – everyone talks about the fear of failure, but no one talks about the fear of success.
The fear of success is very real. And it’s something I was not prepared for.
The fear of success, as I’m experiencing it right now, is realizing, “Holy banana pants! My plans are actually working! What do I do now? I didn’t think this would actually work!”
There’s also the very real fear that this success will be short-lived. To me, this fear is the most real, especially given the work I do: comic convention season only runs for so long, you know. And by the time Christmas rolls around, there’s no freelance work, and there’s no comicons (aside from quarterly trade shows, which I admit, I haven’t tried yet).
So I think that will be my next step – to face the fear of success and say, “How can I make this last?”
How do I make this success extend all year long, and not keep it seasonal?
I’ll be at the drawing board, of course – not just to draw, but to cook up some new plans.
If you don’t know what Patreon is, that’s ok: Patreon is an online subscription service that lets you support your favorite artists, often for as little as $1 a month.
To clarify: I have a Patreon page for the comics I write and illustrate under the Fantasyville Productions label. These comics include, but are not limited to:
The Case of the Wendigo
and the upcoming The Legend of Jamie Roberts.
There’s a separate Patreon page for Validation and its related stories (including Mr. Dino & Friends, Roxie Comics, and Tiny Unicorn). That’s because the Validation comics are a collaborative effort with Christian Beranek and myself.
Funding for my Fantasyville Productions comics does not go to Validation, and Validation funding does not go to Fantasyville Productions comics.
I ran the Patreon pledge drive for my page (not Validation’s) because the comic shop I currently work at has cut my hours severely. Like, now I only work there 5 hours a week.
So I ran the Patreon pledge drive to see if a) I could get new patrons to b) help cover the lost income due to my hours getting cut.
The goal was to jump from $180 a month to $250 a month. My goal for the end of the year is to make $500 a month on Patreon alone, so to get to $250 by the half-year point would have gotten me closer to this goal.
By the end of the week, we went from $170 a month to $201 a month.
It didn’t make my goal, but it’s still not bad at all, especially for only having a pledge drive that lasted a week.
What surprised me more was the current patrons I had who increased their pledges – often by an extra $3 a month! That’s amazing!
We also got a new patron on board, which is marvelous, and so immensely helpful.
And so, with the combination of the new patron plus the increased pledges from current ones, we reached one of the Patreon goals listed on the page: at $200/month, I’m now going to draw a patron-exclusive The Case of the Wendigo desktop wallpaper!
Honestly, it’s just amazing that folks who love my comics were willing and able to chip in and help during this tough time. This will help make production of The Legend of Jamie Roberts go just that little bit smoother.
If you would like to pledge support, and help bring The Legend of Jamie Roberts to life, please check out my Patreon page. You can adjust or cancel your pledge at any time.
Even if you pledge $1 a month, you get to see behind-the-scenes development of the comics I do.
If you’re broke, that’s totally ok, because Patreon is optional. If you would rather make a one-time donation, there’s a Paypal donate button on the side of this website, or you can purchase a convention goody from my online store.