Denver Comic Con Day 1: Are You a Comic 'Can' or a Comic 'Can't'?
I've spent the last nine hours selling comics at Denver Comic Con. Why is this so exhausting? Is it the huge crowds? Or is it the constant emotional ups and downs?
Vending your own art is a weird experience - people approach you, you make conversation, you smile. But at the back of your mind there's this tension. You don't know if you are having a simple friendly exchange (and that's fine), or if this a sale in progress (and that's awesome).
Some people get a real charge from sales. But I'm not one of them.
Whether the sale happens or not, I just feel sort of uncomfortable.For me, much of the process is this weird, nerve wracking experience that puts an unpleasant spin on every exchange.
I want to make friends with people and take them as they are - I don't want to treat them as sales prospects. But the lousy reality of being an independent artist is: that is exactly what they are and I do treat them that way.
And I don't like the way that makes me feel. And I don't waiting through the time between the beginning of the interaction and finding out if we are just a group of people chatting or if we are doing business.
ROUGH AT THE CON
The first day of a comic con is always the roughest for a vendor. Sales are typically slow. It's on a Friday, mostly during work hours, so the majority of people are still at their jobs. Or they are here for all three days, which means they are likely saving most of their purchases for the end of the show. It makes for a stressful first stretch where you keep trying to predict what is going to happen in the following two days based on what happens now. But that's stupid because nothing works that way.
But it's hard to stay out of your own head. It's even harder to keep from over-thinking every exchange and turning it into a debate over what you could or could not have done better. I have friends who drive themselves legitimately crazy doing just that. But so much of what determines success or failure in these kinds of sales is so random, and that lack of control can be incredibly frustrating.
Of course I could just be exhausted because I'm sharing a hotel room with two other adult dudes. There's a lot of man in this hole, if you know what I mean.