Friday, April 8, 2011

WonderCon 2011 Report

Well gang, Wondercon 2011 was truly an incredible step forward for me as an artist.I want to thank everyone who stopped by the table to say hey, and to everyone who bought a book, I LOVE YOU! :-)
I really hope you enjoy our Steampunk anthology and hope you will pick up Strampunk #2 once we've completed it.
What I'd like to share with everyone I think will be useful to anyone preparing for, and getting the most out of a convention like WondeCon.

1st, The mundane things to learn about tabling at a comic book convention.
1. Take a cushion! OUIe veY! the seats must have been stolen from a kindergarten, the little plastic butt bucket kind. So I stood a lot. :o)
2. It really takes two! I'm so glad to have had my son with me. He sat with me for a good portion of the day on friday & went in early to help me set up. came to my rescue for a potty break every now & then, but we really need to have two at the table, especially when it's busy.
3. Bring a table covering. Fortunately I thought of that. they provided a table cover and table drape in the small press area, but you need something to cover up the goods when the day is done so as not to load & store everything everyday.
4. Bring plenty of STUFF to sell & talk about! I was amazed at the shier lack of stuff at some of the booths. They spent $300 bucks to display a few ashcans, post cards and few cheepy magnets to sell WHA? Dude! I mean not even a finished book to sell. Be-leave me, We had PLENTY!
2nd. Presenting yourself. I am a very gregarious guy. (my family would say hyper. :o) but this is important so here is a few observations I made of where some folks went wrong.
Don't just sit there sketching all day, and DONT BARK!
People will first walk by and glance at the table. if you look at them, smile & just say hi, that puts most of them at ease and they continue looking.
if you get too forward, "HI there! come see my stuff! don't you like stuff? well this is really good stuff! Come on! Have a look at my stuff!" you will run them off.
I would often be posting to twitter, just glance up and say hi or just smile & they would keep looking. Some folks are just too shy. they do not want to be pressured to converse with you, so just try to let them know they are welcome to come up and look. You can tell when they want you to make the first move and say something by making those quick & fleeting glances at you. so I would just say "Are you enjoying the con?" and we would then have a nice conversation. if they had a portfolio in hand, "are you an artist yourself?" If a family with kids walked by, "Hey there, kind of hard to find family friendly stuff isn't it?" Then Sunday I learned a VALUABLE secret. "I'll get to that later. :o)
so don't hide from & don't bark at the people!!!
And of course all the, "Take a shower nightly, use deodorant and floss kind of thing too. :o)

3. Take the time to get to know those tabling near you. Trina Robins was my next door neighbor across the way Dani Dixon with I mean you never know how a connection will help in the long run and you just might need them to watch the table for a quick potty break. :o)

Now to the last important thing I learned. "LETS MAKE A DEAL!" Sunday Archaia started selling books at buy two, get THREE FREE! FIVE BOOKS for the price of TWO!!! WoW! This got me thinking. My B&W economy comics weren't selling so taking their lead I got smart. As a family would walk by almost all would stop & try to pronounce the name. I DISCOVERED MY GIMMICK! My hook! my, "I remember that guy!" kind of thing! If the kidos would make an effort to pronounce the name I would sign & give them a free copy! ZING!!! this brought one of the key elements in the story out in the presentation and into the memory of the audience! You should have seen the smiles in those kids faces, and in their parents faces. Here in the middle of all this questionable & not so family friendly fare was someone taking an interest in their kids and having a bit of fun with them. There are now 50, maybe 60 families out there reading my work & getting there kidos involved in reading!!!
Got some amazing feedback. Here was a BIG one, Joe Ferrara Owner of out of Santa Cruz stopped at the table. he has owned and run this shop since 1976, won the Eisner "Spirit of Comics" Retailer Award. He KNOWS his stuff. (I know he knows because his wife kindly told me after he left to listen to him He gave me the name of a distributor who can get our books into Diamond. He said local comic book shops are looking for this very thing. Suggested I go see Dave who owns our local shop. "I know He will want to see this." And he did! Thanks Dave Allread of HEROES 110 E. Shaw Ave. Fresno Ca. For the first time anywhere my kids comics and our Anthologies are available for purchase by the general public at a Brick & mortar store!

A Special word of Thanks to the folks at Ka-Blam! Digital printing Guys, there is no way I can thank you enough. The anthology came the day we left for San Francisco. I was so elated! I Can only say that I truly wish you guys continued success and my you GROW and expand and find you some good people to add to the crew. You guys need to get some sleep every once & awhile you know?
And to the folks at We were loaded up, had picked up my sons friends and what do you know? The banner for the anthology arrived just in time!!! Every thing fell into place just like it was meant to be. you gotta go for all your promotional printing needs! WoW Sounds like a commercial. :o)


  1. Hey I'm glad it went so well for you Sam! I was smiling imagining all the kids trying to pronounce Ouwangalaymah!

  2. Hey Jill! It was Wonderful! Had a BLAST! Free comic book day is coming up may the seventh. gonna do it again on a local scale. Cain't wait! :o)

  3. Glad all went well. Talented man named Sam....Please keep it coming. I want to discuss getting a copy for Zachary. Oh It's Lyn from Once Upon A...I'm showing up as ME for work purposes. Legal department is squashing our freedom of anything.

  4. Hey Lyn! I know what you mean. Drop me an email! I'd be glad to get ya something in the post for Zachary!

  5. Hi Sam, Ok so this is weird. I was just on your blog yesterday reading through this post. Then today I got your comment on my VSS post. SO I told you I would check out your blog not realizing it's the blog I was just on a day ago, LOL. I'm guessing the reason I checked out your blog yesterday is because of a post you put on VSS. Can't remember.
    ANyway, I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading through this post yesterday. I could relate to a lot of what you were saying about how to interact with the public as I've tried a couple of events kind of like that (not any where near as big though). I had this children's book (the caterpillar and the express train) I spent over nine hundred hours illustrating and another few hundred hours working on publishing and promotions and book videos and setting up events, then at one event that I spent some money on I sold three books while the gal next to me kept selling a bunch of duct tape wallets,LOL. I would say that events like that are the ultimate lesson in humility and patience and just a general understanding of how the world works. I've learned a lot and hope to continue to improve in that area. Thanks for the helpfull advice adn for your comment!

  6. P.S. I almost think i remember you saying somethign about the comic beign available on but not sure. I do recall seeing it somewhere before. Just in case you don't already, I wanted to mention that to you as it may be a good place to sell a couple copies. Best of luck with all of that!

  7. Hey Matt Thanks! Yup! I have My Kid's comics and my 8 pager up on the illustrated section for PDF download. We will be setting the whole Anthology up soon. I'm waiting for a certain Print On Demand site to announce their Digital section too before I put it up. I think it will better exposure there. And look what I found!
    Cool beans Matt! What a great gig! I love the way you made the engine resemble a horse. Thanks for sharing buddy!

  8. gratulations sam, looks like you are very successful. like your work.

  9. Thanks Patrick! I appreciate your kind words. More to come, hope not to disappoint.

  10. OK, here I'm chiming in late as usual, BUT YES! very clever maneuver at Wonder Con - you look great in the photo! One happy illustrator! Sounds like you're setting yourself up for a wonderful drawing future! Till soon, Amal