The time period right after coming home from a good comic show (in this case, I refer to SPACE 2016) is always one that goes by quickly, with feelings of hope, joy, and pressure to get new things done. If you have never sat at a table at a show, talking to random passersby and taking the time to seek out people you’ve conversed with by email or other means, but never met… then you can’t GET that feeling. No matter how you did financially at the show, that feeling is always the true prize.
But let’s discuss show attendance. There are two groups of exhibitors: those who don’t really care how well they do and those that complain that there aren’t enough customers. I have put forth this idea before, and I think it bears repeating. If you go to a show expecting the show to provide you with enough customers to make it worthwhile, then you are not doing your job.
A creator should be spending every minute they are not actually creating, working on building their following. Your financial ability to continue to create stuff for a living is wholly on your shoulders. When you go to a show, you should know some idea of the fans you have in that area and be able to excite them to come to that show to see you and buy stuff direclyt from you so you can sign it, etc. If you go with no clue, you should not complain that the random passersby are not there to buy your stuff… they are likely looking for someone they do follow.
And I know how hard it is to build a following—it is something that I’ve studied, and tested theories on, and talked to people about for decades. And one thing I know for a fact: your actual TALENT has very little to do with your actual popularity. I have seen hugely talented people fail. I have seen people whose work I just didn’t feel was nearly prime-time ready take off like rockets. And it mostly boils down to how well the person connects with their audience.
How do you build such a loyal following? I don’t have a magic answer. It is somewhere between your being yourself andyour being able to positively affect the moods of those you interact with. The first step is always going to be getting out there and saying something. Understanding others and being able to empathize, while still focusing on the goal.
This issue, I am unleashing the return of the Review Section. Right now, it’s just me telling the audience if the book is worth going out of their way to check out. I predict we’ll need more reviewers, as much stuff as will come in, so if anyone wants to join me, let me know. Reviews have been sorely lacking on the Indy scene for a while, so it will be interesting to see the impact of starting it up again. It should be fun!
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