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Con Alt Delete

edited December 2013 in On The Road
Home from Con Alt Delete, a new anime/manga con in suburban Chicago. It's put on by the same guy who does about 4-5 such shows in the midwest, including the Anime Midwest show that was such a hit for me in the summer. He offered us tables and hotel rooms in exchange for some panels. Not the big paychecks other guests got, but that's OK.

As a first year show with 300-400 anticipated guests, I kept my expectations low and exceeded them, sales wise. I only brought one box of comics and sold most of it:
Aw Yeah: 5
OCP singles: 6
OCP trade: 5
Kagemono: 10
My art: 2 pieces for $10
Comics from the shortbox: three sales totaling $67.

Slow sales aside, it was a really fun show. Our panels were remarkably well attended and the questions from the audience were fantastic, every one of them. I also played Cards Against Humanity for the first time, which was a blast. But any time I'm exhibiting with Trevor and Gabe, it's gonna be a good time.

Those of you who are in the Midwest, consider guesting at one of Ryan Kopf's anime/manga shows. I've only been disappointed at one of them, Anime-Zing in Iowa a few years ago.

Comments

  • Sounds like a great con for newcomers to convention going.
  • Yeah, going to a small show where you can see what sells and what doesn't, and also what sales techniques work, is a good idea. Because you're not paying a grand in expenses before you even walk in the door.
  • I had to quit doing the small anime shows around here. They just became cosplay hangouts where more people would hang around outside than pay to get in. Only the super discount dealers and cosplay suppliers still do those. 

    Glad it's different elsewhere. I keep hoping the ones here will grow up a bit. One of my fave anime cons started as a tiny college con. (MomoCon - over 12,000 last year, took almost 10 years to get there.) 
  • Greg, if I wasn't fully comped (hotel/table/travel) I wouldn't do small shows where I make under 300-400, either. It's not worth it.
  • Fifteen trades at a show that size is outstanding. Well done.
  • This past weekend I was a guest at a first year show called Con Alt Delete,
    along with fellow comic creators Russell Lissau and Gabriel Bautista;
    and such awesome celebrity friends as Vic Mignogna, LittleKuriboh, Doug
    Walker and the whole Channel Awesome
    crew. While the show was small (it was a first year show, after all) it
    was still a ton of fun. Below is the convention report for the weekend.

    FRIDAY:

    Got up early in the morning (earlier, I must say, than when I go into
    the office...about as early as when I go to the gym during the week) and
    hopped a train over to my good friend Russell's so we could share
    breakfast and relax a bit before the show weekend. We went to his
    favorite diner in Arlington Heights, and then headed over to the
    convention to set up our tables.

    Despite the fact it was a Friday
    (and school's in session), the place surprisingly had quite a few
    attendees already at the convention. After we all set up next to each
    other, the commerce (and hilarity) of the weekend began. I attended
    opening ceremonies on behalf of the comic group, had a few hilarious
    interactions with the other guests of the show (some of who I was
    meeting for the first time, like Richard Epcar and his wife, Ellyn
    Stern), and then headed back to the floor to sell.


    The booth is ready for commerce!


    Gabriel Bautista and friends make silly faces


    Lori is the new Russell Lissau

    We
    also had some panels on the first day. At 4pm, Russell and I hosted a
    "Writing Comics" panel. We had some great attendance, and some excellent
    questions from fans who were truly interested in honing their craft and
    learning to be a student of comics. Russ and I do a great panel,
    playing off each other's experiences (which vary quite a bit), and
    appealing to the mainstream lovers (his area of expertise), as well as
    the independent press and webcomic crowds (my area of focus).

    After
    that, Gabe and I hosted a "Making Webcomics" panel that also had some
    strong attendance, and some great questions about finding an artist,
    building an audience, and managing all of your other responsibilities
    (school, work, social life) on top of creating serialized content.

    After
    the panels we returned to the floor for a bit, and then took off for a
    quite bite of dinner. I had quite a few commissions and sketch card
    sales during the weekend, which was nice because I had just redrawn
    about 50-60 sketch cards, and designed another round of 12+ new sketch
    cards for the weekend. With the commissions, too, I had a unique
    challenge to draw some characters I'd otherwise never get an opportunity
    to draw.


    Commission sketch card for Beta Ray Bill

    At
    the end of the night, Russell and I retired to the hotel bar for some
    adult beverages and a few rounds of pool, and then we went to sleep.

    SATURDAY:

    Saturday started early in the morning for us, with Russell wanting to
    hit up the pool and me wanting to get in an hour of working out at the
    gym (a great way to get some energy for the day). Russell cut out early
    because the pool was cold, and after my workout we headed to get some
    breakfast at the hotel cafeteria. They had a nice breakfast bar, and a
    good omelet station, and we had ourselves a protein filled feast to
    start our day off right.

    The day started earlier on the floor,
    too, with the show opening at 10am (as opposed to noon, when the
    previous day had started). I had a few sales right off the bat, and a
    few commissions I had to knock out.


    Elektra sketch card

    Things
    slowed down after a few hours, as many of the attendees were going to
    panels and getting autographs from the other guests, so I ducked out for
    a bit to hang out with the Channel Awesome gang. I sat with Doug Walker
    and his family, along with Malcolm Ray, Brian Heinz, Orlando Belisle,
    and a few late stragglers who were a little under the weather. We went
    to a local Chinese restaurant, which had generous portions and some
    delicious food.


    Brian drinks his fu-fu drink, at lunch with the Channel Awesome gang

    After
    lunch ended, I rushed back to the hotel to attend a panel with Gabe on
    time management and helping to maximize productivity for young creators -
    and we spouted off some of the funniest examples of productivity
    killers (cough cough Candy Crush), and some ways to help find time for
    doing creative things.

    After the panel, it was time to return to
    the floor and sell for a few more hours being heading off to dinner
    (which I really wasn't hungry for, since lunch had only been a few hours
    earlier).


    Ren Bautista has some stylish hair accessories, and makes them look good!


    Dinner with some of the greatest people I know!

    Immediately
    following dinner, I had to bum rush back to the convention for the 18+
    improv panel, which turned out a bit different than I had experienced in
    the past. Previously I had done the improv as a series of games with
    the other guests who were there. But this time, they opened the improv
    as a workshop to the attendees as well - and split us up into groups and
    had us do a single game, which is called "freeze."

    Essentially,
    2-3 people play out a scenario until someone else in the group says
    "freeze!," and then you go in, replace one of the players, and start a
    new scene in the same poses everyone is stuck in. It's a really fun
    exercise, which got a little chaotic towards the end - but everyone had a
    blast, and ultimately that's what counts. Even my artist, Gabe, joined
    in on the fun - and he did a great job!

    After that panel we went
    to the Green Room and hung out with the other guests, having a few
    drinks and generally relaxing. Around 11pm we all headed over to my
    final panel of the convention - the 18+ Cards Against Humanity Panel.
    It's a really fun time where you play the game with the entire room -
    which was filled to capacity - and points are given to people who
    present the most relevant (and usually the more inappropriate) card.

    It's
    a fun game, but definitely not for kids. We all had a great time on the
    panel, which ran late into the night, and then afterwards we all went
    our separate ways.


    Dan and Jillian's 18+ Cards Against Humanity panel was standing room only!

    SUNDAY:

    The final day of the show is always the most difficult. You've been
    having a fun time all weekend, and you know this is the end. However, I
    try to channel that energy in positive ways, and focus on ending the con
    strong - and that's exactly what happened.

    Sales were super
    strong on the final day of the show, with commissions and book sales and
    returning fans coming back to buy comics and art. After a few hours, my
    wife showed up and we grabbed a quick bite before breaking down and
    taking off for home. Before we knew it, the weekend had ended, and it
    was time for us to go back to the real world.


    Miku commission for an excited fan!

    Overall,
    Con Alt Delete was a fun weekend filled with great attendees, awesome
    fans, fun guests, and good friends. I'm looking forward to doing it
    again next year - and will definitely have new books on the table for
    fans to buy and enjoy!

  • Great sketch cards! Sounds like you had a blast.
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