Anime Expo 2012 Recap
It’s been awhile since I last tabled at Anime Expo. Two years to be precise. I tabled here for the first time in 2010 and the Artist Alley felt like a quarter of the size it was back then. To be honest, I sort of dove in a little unprepared because of all the work involved with Kickstarter and getting the books in leading up to AX. I had my books, a few signs here and really not much else. I went nuclear minimal on this.
Overall, it was definitely an awesome convention! You can view the photos I took of the con here on my Facebook page.
To be perfectly honest, I ended Day 1 on a disappointed note since I barely sold any books and made no commissions at all. At previous cons, I earned most of my income doing on-the-spot illustrations and people usually recommended others to stop by my booth. This time around commissions were no longer a rarity and my wonderful artist alley neighbor Loren (n4ut) was busting out these gorgeous ink drawings that put my doodles to shame. Now, with only a completely original graphic novel on my table, I felt very much out of my element.
Still it wasn’t all that bad! To put things in perspective, I was actually managing to sell books to complete strangers who have never heard of Polterguys before and watching them “get” the premise was a fascinating exercise. I would pitch the logline to them and their faces would light up with promise of an interesting story. That alone gave me hope that I could keep doing this for the next few days and it will turn out okay.
I also lucked out by tabling next to and being surrounded by wonderful artists. I’ve already mentioned Loren whose gorgeous ink commissions were in demand throughout the weekend. (You should check out her DA. She’s got a great style.) Her buddy Jordan was pretty fun, too and my other neighbor to the right turned out to be Ejen of Cosplay in America fame. (I think every single cosplayer from AX must have stopped by his table!) He was super sweet and kept graciously plugging Polterguys from his regularly packed table.
N came along with me on Saturday and as expected the sales were much better on the weekend. I also managed to have time away from my table to pick up art and comics from all over the Alley and ended up with quite a haul! Picked up Reapersun’s Sherlock fanbook Wreck, Finni‘s Artbook, Haku’s Royal Corgi pouch in addition to other sketchbooks by Deviantart power duo Ben (e1n) and Joanna (myrolllingstar) earlier.
Also, it was nice to see online friends Jules of Valkyrie Squadron (for the first time!) and Nilah of M.F.K (once more!) A fair amount of comic printing geekery ensued. You can always tell the artists by the kinds of questions they ask! I’ll try to compile a resource post for you guys about printing sometime soon.
I finally managed to meet Jason Brubaker and awkwardly handed him a copy of Polterguys. I’m not sure if I talk about him enough on my blog but everything I learned about building an audience and self-publishing I learned from his fantastic articles on his website (eventually moved to MakingComics.com.) His generosity and selflessness in sharing resources to comic artists is a personal inspiration to me and I’m always trying pay it forward. I also summoned up the courage to do a book trade with Aliena & Chloe, the creative team behind Two Keys. I hope they enjoy the book!
You know a day will be fantastic when a Kickstarter backer hands you a box of Godiva truffles for kicks! (I was floored!) Sunday was just as great saleswise as Saturday with the added bonus of customers coming back to say they really enjoyed reading Vol. 1 and can’t wait for the next book to come out. (I was through the roof!) I know some of you have been quite generous with your comments but there’s nothing like eager faces approaching your table.
My brother’s friends from UC Santa Barbara’s Anime Club also stopped by my table (Hi, guys!) and so did the fantastic Mark Batalla who masterminded the Community-themed Six Seasons and a Movie Art Show. It’s really meeting old friends and making new ones that made this convention so special for me.
We were half an hour late to the Exhibit Hall because we had to take three trains that morning. I assumed we were not going to have as much sales on our last day so I only brought five books with me from home. (Been hearing people skipping out today, as well.) It turns out we sold out of the last few copies very quickly thanks to people who came back after running out of money on previous days. It was quite a surreal but pleasant experience. 😀
I spent my last hour roaming the Exhibit Hall and the alley and checking out other people’s art. I think only a few people were selling graphic novels and books so that may have helped my table stand out a bit. It could also just be the sheer audacity of a table with just one product shocking people into slowing down and checking out the book. XD (I’m not sure.)
Will put up another post about what I learned from this weekend since this one seems to have gone long enough!
Last minute stuff:
- We’ve got 7 days left on Polterguys’ Kickstarter. It’ll be your last chance to get exclusive goodies!
- Here’s another feature of our Kickstarter campaign from the super folks at ComicRocket. They round up another good list of tips to succeed with comic project on Kickstarter so check it out!