B&N Week 164: Which Conventions Do You Plan On Attending?

| February 11, 2014


It’s another Tuesday! We all know what that means, don’t we? Time for some Bolts & Nuts! So, let’s get right into this week’s question.

Which conventions do you plan on attending, and why?

I remember my very first convention. I was in the Marine Corps, stationed at MCAS Miramar, which is in San Diego. I couldn’t live in San Diego and not attend SDCC could I? Of course not! That would have been sacrilege! I was trying to break in, and I got to meet with one of my writing heroes, Paul Jenkins. My wife had made him a homemade apple pie. We met, we talked, I got some tips, and stayed in touch for a while, but he’s a working writer, and I was just a snot-nosed kid with delusions. [I like to think I’ve gotten a little better.]

I’ve gone back to SDCC a few times, the last time as an editor looking for work. I didn’t get any, but made a few contacts. [That’s the real secret of making comics: making contacts.] Here is something I’ve learned, though: you should have a clear goal when attending a convention.

Yes, a lot of people go to conventions for myriad reasons, but as a creator, your goal is to either get work, present work for sale, or just have fun. Because after a while, everything becomes the same. You’ll have the same panels on breaking in, tips and tricks on the work, and so on. The bigger conventions will have panels about the bigger publishers and their plans for the year, maybe some movie screenings, and definitely signings, pop culture icons, nerdlebrities, and more, along with things to buy that aren’t just comics.

The convention season is decently long. Nothing like the tennis season, but it’s decently long in itself. Smaller, local shows that fit in around the bigger shows, that themselves fit in around the huge shows. And then, of course, there’s Wizard World, a whole rash of branded shows across the country.

When you’re planning to go to a convention, you have to ask yourself what is it you want out of the experience.

The only convention I’ve ever had a chance to attend is SDCC. As I’ve said, I’ve gone a few times. It’s a huge convention. So huge that you can’t really get anything done. Everything is expensive, there are lots of panels, lots of movies and video games and everything in between, and because of the din, no real work gets done. Not if you’re going looking for work. SDCC is, in my opinion, the absolute worst place to try to get work.

If you’re going to go to a mammoth event like that, go as a professional if you can in order to get your tickets early as well as get a hotel early if you don’t already have a place to stay, but unless you have something to sell, don’t go trying to get work. It’s relatively futile. Sell your wares, or just enjoy the environment. Those are your only two choices.

No, I’m not going to SDCC this year. I have no reason to. It’s expensive, and there won’t be a ComixTribe table there, so there’s no real need for me to be there. There are other things and places to spend my time and money on.

I am going to try very hard to attend the much smaller convention in Phoenix. Not as an exhibitor, but just to see what the place is like. There is also a small venue here in Tucson that I’ll be trying to attend this year as well. Again, not as an exhibitor. I just want to get a feel for the place.

The convention that I’m looking forward to attending is NYCC. I’m originally from Long Island, and still have a lot of family there. I can be in the city during the day, at home during the night, and when the convention is over, I’ll be spending more time with family. That convention will also be the first time I’ll be attending as an exhibitor.

Those are the conventions I plan on attending and why. The Phoenix convention is more like a scouting trip, as will be the Tucson one. I’ll be able to see who’s selling what, see what kind of business the convention itself is doing, and then talk it over with Tyler about attending or not. The Tucson convention will not be worth the while, but the Phoenix convention might be. Maybe not for Tyler personally, but for ComixTribe as a publisher. We’ll have to see.

There are tons of other conventions around. The aforementioned Wizard World conventions, Heroes Con, Mid-Ohio Con, Baltimore Con, APE, Dragon*Con, and a slew of others. Search for them. You’ll find them.

This brings us back to this week’s question: which conventions are you going to attend, and why?

Discuss this in the ComixTribe forum at Digital Webbing!

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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