Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Writing is Hard: Convention Etiquette

Here's that last (for now) Joe Konrath link. This one's about how to act like a professional at conventions.

He's talking about book conventions, but it all easily translates into comics conventions too. "Etiquette" probably isn't the best term for the advice Konrath is offering actually. He does have some common sense suggestions like "don't get sloppy drunk" and "don't talk too much," but the real gems of the piece for me are his tips on the effective use of conventions to build your business.

Here are the ones I needed to hear. There's much more though, so take a look and see if there's not something that speaks to you.

Remember to set goals.

This is something I've been better at my last couple of shows, but I need to keep at it. Even if the goal is just to pass out 1000 free stickers or postcards promoting my work, I need to have something concrete that I can reasonably expect to accomplish.

DO pass out business cards.

How I've managed to do as many conventions as I have without business cards is shameful. Seriously. I've got to get some ordered this week so I have that out of the way for MicroCon.

DO buy books.

This is counter-intuitive to me, but I see what Konrath is saying. I used to spend way too much money at conventions and I've been doing a better job lately at keeping that under control. I think that's still important, but Konrath sees shopping as a networking opportunity. I've never thought much about networking with retailers at conventions, but it makes good sense. After all, they're the primary customer of any publishing endeavor.

I think that buying art is also not a bad way to introduce yourself to an artist whose work you enjoy and whom you might like to work with someday. Of course, if you don't have a business card to offer the artist, what good does that do you?

DO hang out at the bar.
DON'T hang out with the same crowd over and over and over.
DO introduce yourself to strangers.

These three are related.

I love my con buddies. They make the experience for me and I can't imagine going to a show without them. But as Konrath says, "Yes, hang out with them, but don't limit yourself to only them." I need to do a much better job at breaking out of my comfort zone and meeting new people at shows.


houseofduck said...

I seriously love your blog man. You are always pointing me to the cool stuff.

I have added yet another blog to my RSS feed because of you.

Michael May said...


houseofduck said...

dont suppose you are going to the midnight showing of the Watchmen that the source is doing?

Michael May said...

Nah. I'm interested in the movie, but I can't say that I'm excited about it. I'll probably see it next week.

And the theater will probably STILL be packed.

houseofduck said...

I would probably be the same way... but being a stay at home dad in the winter tends to make me a little stir crazy so when I was asked if I wanted to go I jumped on it!

I will hold what I have for the boy until Microcon then. Just put it in the con box so I wont forget it this time...

Michael May said...

You are so good to him, man. Thanks!


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