For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Luc, the new intern with Sun Bros Studios. I’m a starry-eyed college kid, and I also happen to be an aspiring comics writer. In a turn of events that’s remarkable to me if no one else, I went from going to my first con ever a little less than a year ago to selling comics of my very own at comic cons around Chicagoland. And my debut show? None other than the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo – that’s right,C2E2! What’s crazy is that C2E2 was only the fifth show I’d ever attended and the second show where I’d been behind the table. Wesley has spoken about the low barrier to entry in the business of comics, and I can tell you firsthand he’s not making it up.
So these past months have been incredibly exciting for me. For those who picked up my debut story “Bathroom Comics,” you may have seen some of this excitement spill out as I routinely knocked over parts of the table display whenever someone tried to buy a copy of my work. You see, people were actually offering to pay me to read my book. To someone who’s just starting out, this seems like the opposite of what should be happening. Overall, C2E2 went much better than expected: I sold out twice and had to run to the FedEx Office in the basement of McCormick Place to print more copies, which is a story in its own right.
The trend I started to notice was that quite a few people who were interested in “Bathroom Comics” were comics illustrators or writers themselves who wanted to support an aspiring creator. Many other patrons bought my book simply because it was my first comic ever. That in itself surprised me – it seemed like my fellow cartoonists as well as mere strangers genuinely wanted me to succeed. In a way, I was selling more than “Bathroom Comics”: I was selling people on my own story, and the pleasant shock was that people for the most part were willing to be a part of it.
The problem is, there’s only one convention where you can say, “This is my first time selling comics ever.” Which is not to say that my marketing strategy went defunct after one show, but it means that the story I tell about how I got there and how my comics got there is a constantly changing one. It’s up to me to craft an ongoing narrative around myself and my work if I want to continue bringing books to conventions. The tricky thing is that, without the Sun Bros, I wouldn’t even have had the chance to sell at C2E2. Yes, I did fairly well, but these books were priced at $2 a pop. There’s no way I would have been able to cover the cost of the table with my 8-page black and white short story.
That being said, C2E2 is the biggest show in Chicago. Since my debut show, I’ve been on the road with Sun Bros Studios and seen a much wider spectrum of comic cons. There are many other shows where tables don’t cost nearly as much – not to mention the library shows where tables are free. So it’s just a matter of finding the right shows to distribute my work. Luckily for me, I’ll have the opportunity to continue exhibiting my comics over the Summer months with the Sun Bros now that the convention season’s hit full tilt. And thanks to a grant program through the University of Chicago, I now have the resources to travel with Wesley and Brad, exhibit my work, and of course – keep creating more comics!
No doubt my salesmanship skills, my body of work, and my readership will continue to grow. But what I’ve learned so far is that if you’re excited about your work, other people will be too. And if you’ve got a story to tell, you’ll be able to find people willing to listen. The next step now is finding those people in order to continue building an audience.
All my work may be found at www.yungskolla.com. Enjoy!