Hot on the heels of Walker Stalker Con, while still working on mail out commissions for those folks, I was honestly a bit worried to be doing yet another convention so soon (the 4th event in 5 weekends), but I didn’t get a chance to experience Dink the year prior due to a scheduling conflict with Anomalycon. While I had no illusions that this convention would match the financial success of Walker Stalker, it reminded me about why I should always at least occasionally do small indy press conventions: connecting with my peers.
For literally decades, I’ve preached about the value of peer connections in the comic book creator community, unwittingly leading a disorganized crew of self-published cartoonists in a group called the Squid Works since the 1990’s, but the turbulent nature of the social structure of creative-types was taking it’s toll on me at a time when I was diving in head-first to full-time freelancing, requiring me to figure out how to monetize my craft. As my zombie caricature business got more and more successful, the less and less time I spent getting away from my convention tables and talking to people.
At Walker Stalker Con, with the help of my intrepid sales assistant friend, Stacey, we took 75 zombie or pony caricature commissions. At Dink, we took 5.
This lower level of production allowed me to happily take more time to talk to folks, walking away from my table for more time than probably makes Stacey comfortable. The spirit of indy press conventions like DINK, SPX and Anomalycon have always been very much a community, and even though I didn’t probably have a big enough beard or moustache wax to really feel like I fit into this crowd. I did enjoy hearing about people’s goals and creative journeys without worrying so much that someone would be coming back to pick up a drawing that I wasn’t done with yet.
With big comic conventions also being a worse and worse venue for selling books year after year, it was also refreshing to be able to sell so many books. I sold 12 copies of There’s a Zombie in the Basement (Exceeding my tally at the Denver Comic Con!), and 13 copies of my Dink debut, Regret: A Cancer Survivor’s Story (Preview)!
Now, while I likely won’t load up on going to a lot more small press conventions in the near future, I know that a couple need to be a part of my con schedule each year.