Another year, another Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VanCAF). This year was an absolute blast! I loved it.
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As always, I learn new things at each convention.
I got to meet Erika Moen of Oh Joy Sex Toy, Maki Naro of Sufficiently Remarkable and Abby Howard of Junior Scientist Power Hour and The Last Halloween, three artists that I respect and love. I got to see and meet new and amazing talent, and even thought it was twice as large this year, and I hardly got to see half of the first hall! The two days went in a blur. I felt like the first day was no more than 3 hours, when it was 8, and the second day felt like 2 hours, when it was 6! I shared a table with the unreasonably talented Jade, and it was the first time I had ever tabled with a friend before. It was very reassuring, knowing that I wasn’t alone and that we could share food, advice and trust each other to promote the crap out of the other’s table when we went exploring. On the other hand it made me feel very self-conscious that if I didn’t sell as much as my neighbour that somehow that would reflect on me, personally. It was a strange feeling that I made my best efforts to ignore and just have fun.
I got to meet and befriend the amazing trio behind the amazing Atlas comic who came in from Portland. It’s strange when you meet people and suddenly you’re like “I want to be friends with these people!” That’s how I felt about them. I do get that from time to time, where I meet someone and just decide I’m their friend now. It’s happened to me with Cadistra of WoW Eh? as well, many moons ago. She was there, too! Volunteering and helping out.
While I was falling-off-my-feet-overly-emotionally-tired last night after the second day, I’m still super stocked for next year. I love meeting new people and telling them about Seraphim, hearing the different assumptions and interpenetration of it, seeing people’s eyes light up or having someone come back because they decided they like my comics enough to vote with their wallets.
Things I learned this year:
– Giving away an actual comics thing is a good idea. Not only can people go home and remember your style, but it’s also a hook into the main comics. On top of that, I had at least one person come back to my booth on the same day to buy a book or two simply because they were enticed by the sample. I got that advice from Erika Moen, so you know it’s good stuff!
– Some chairs are really low, and I’m really short. For next year’s VanCAF I’m totally going to buy a little cushion. Or a booster seat. Or something. I sat on my poor hoodie all weekend ’cause the chair was also really hard.
– Tabling with a friend means pushing their stuff as much as you push your own. Tabling with a friend is awesome ’cause you each have different strengths, and together you’re kicking ass. We did cross-table promotions, like mix and match button sales. Next year we’re considering even bundling our comics or making some sort of cross-table “get volume 1 of all comics for a deal” kind of sale.
– Rude people exist everywhere, and I shouldn’t let them be rude, no matter how “funny” they think they’re being. A guy came to my booth and after I mentioned a character that I really liked he proceeded to say some pretty darn inappropriate things. I was more confused than anything, and while I didn’t play along, I should have been more firm that his words were not appropriate.
– Butts come in many colours. You might be confused by this line, but if you’ve seen my booth, you’d know that I had button that has a butt on it. As a lover of puns I call that button the “Butt-On” ’cause I’m a classy lady. A person mentioned that as much as they loved it, that butt depicted was that of a white person. As a not-white person, they didn’t want a white butt. I need to make ethnically diverse butts!
– Inventory sheets are only a great idea if you remember to actually use’em. With literally thousands of people walking by, with your mind juggling telling three new people all about your work while running a transaction on the phone and accepting cash at the same time, it’s really hard to use it. I thought since I had an inventory sheet with me this year at VanCAF that my inventory will be the most accurate yet. It was the least accurate yet, instead. The sheet served only to confuse me, as I gave up on it half way through the second day. The data on it was guess work, at best. I’m not saying inventory sheets are a bad idea, but I need to learn how to actually use them.
– Keeping well fed and hydrated remains one of the most important things to making it through conventions in a half-decent manner.
– For a small table, having a button display that’s bigger than my own comics is a bad idea. It’s not so bad for a larger table, but for a smaller one, like the one I had at VanCAF this year, I should either not even bring buttons, or display them on a smaller frame.
Thus ended the weekend I had been preparing for since last October. Gone in a blink of an eye. I love this industry.
See you next year, I hope! As VanCAF is a curated show, it’s always nerve wrecking to wait and see if I get in!
If you came to see me, THANK YOU!!