Virtual Panel™ #1 with Onrie Kompan.
Onrie Kompan is the creator of the comic Book series Yi Soon Shin. He has set records for independent sales for a comic creator at several conventions across the U.S. He teaches his strategy and tactics to other independent creators looking to make a splash in the comic book and graphic novel industry.
Over the course of the last seven years, I’ve taken my independent comic book series, YI SOON SHIN, on the road to comic conventions all over the world and have sold out at over 55 shows. Without a publisher or a distributor, I’ve sold over 65,000 comics and graphic novels. Over 90% of my sales come from conventions.
I often receive inquiries from creators asking me what it takes to succeed at comic-con and the answer really depends on what your goals are. Whether you are an artist/writer/self-publisher/merchandise seller, I would suggest that the first thing you do before setting up at any convention is to first go to one yourself and walk the entire showroom floor and make a mental note of your surroundings. Pull as much as you can from your reconnaissance.
When you finally decide to setup, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.
- People are not coming to comic-con for you. Don’t be discouraged by this. Comic con is a very overwhelming experience. There are endless things to see and do. Attendees are usually gob-smacked by all the amusements of the show. Personally, I find that it’s better when attendees discover you when they least expect it. Your neighbor may end up getting way more attention than you but if you’re smart you can work off of their traffic and attract more followers without stealing sales from them.
- Cast aside any feelings of jealousy and envy you may have and focus on spreading the good word about your work in a non-aggressive, positive manner. Two weekends ago I was at Awesome Con and my neighbors were selling dresses and were attracting a ton of people (both men and women). We worked off of each other and everything turned out perfectly! So perfect in fact, that I sold over 500 comics in a single day and ended up selling over 1000 by the end of the weekend. We never stole sales from each other and were respectful of each other’s space. Both of us were hustling as soon as we hit the floor.
- Relax and be comfortable. Every convention is somebody else’s first. That goes for both attendees and exhibitors. So just take it easy. Make your table a safe zone for you and anyone who comes to it—a place that people feel welcome to return to at any point during show floor hours. Some shows are going to be better than others. What may be good for you may be awful for your neighbors or other attendees and vice versa. Nonetheless, always try to keep a smile on your face. Be a constant force of positivity! Even when you’re getting nothing but rejections. Remain calm and focused and the sales will come.My favorite shows are the ones that attract the highest concentrated amount of attendees and are talked about year round. Shows like Emerald City, Wondercon, Boston, Phoenix, Megacon, Awesome Con, Indy Pop Con, Comicpalooza, Planet Comic-Con, San Diego, C2E2 and New York Comic-Con are all great but if you’re just starting out, stay as close to home as you can before you start venturing out into different territories. This will help you master your product and setup without having as many expenses.
- Be confident in your efforts and focus on your mission. You’ve worked really hard to get to the point of tabling at a convention so be proud of that achievement and most importantly, be proud of the work you’re now selling. You’re doing what everyone wishes they could be doing. Even if you aren’t selling as much as you had hoped, learn from the experience. With this mindset, you can only get better!
All that matters at the end of the day is you. Take care of yourself and make sure you’re doing what you’ve set out to do. Be kind and generous to those around you and be the best version of yourself that you can be in public.
Do you want to make a career selling your own comics? I can provide the training you need! If you’re interested in learning more about my upcoming webinars, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat today! You can also follow me on Twitter at @OKompan or check out my comic book series at www.yisoonshin.com. I will teach you how to setup your business and pass on my knowledge of production management, which will help you write more engaging scripts, draw dynamic layouts, and effectively market and sell your hard work!
ONWARD TO VICTORY!