Tuesday, April 12, 2011

MoCCA Fest Musings & Tips

MoCCA Fest was this past weekend, and it was an interesting experience. Part of what was appealing to me about it was that it's a great place for indie comic creators to display their work. I didn't know what to expect, but I went in hoping for a good time and a chance to be introduced to new works.

Saturday, Getsuyobi and I arrived around 2 pm, Wilderowens was already there volunteering (she'll tell you all it),  and we walked the exhibition floor. We stopped at few booths, but other than a few exhibitors who we were familiar with, we didn't meet a lot of new people. There was something about the vibe of the show that didn't seem to work for us. Talking about it later, we came up with some reasons why.  Here they are as well as a few tips on how to make things better for next year.

1 - The accessibility of the exhibitor. It is hard to approach someone when they are deep in conversation with their friends or when they appear to be intensely concentrating on their latest piece. We want to be able to talk to you about your work but when your head is down and you don't even notice us standing there, then we will walk on by.

2 - Lack of assertiveness. The exhibitors are there to show off their work, so what aren't they calling us over or simply saying hello when they see us look their way? There was a guy from Pantsless Comics who was saying the most random things but also calling attention to himself and his group. It was impossible to ignore him and they were great to talk to. I'm not saying randomness is the only way to get people's attention, but it doesn't hurt. A little assertiveness goes a long way.

3 - Have a business card. I understand that many of the exhibitors might not be comfortable in this kind of environment. It might be their first time or they're not used to the crowds or whatever, so I get that it might be a little difficult for them to sell themselves and their products. They also might just be very busy. BUT if I want to get in touch with you and find out more about your work and maybe even help promote it, I need to be able to contact you. Vista Print offers free and low cost business cards. Get some and then hand them out to everyone who expresses an interest. 

And finally, this last tip might not be doable for everyone but it definitely can only help the creator - try to bring with you someone who knows and supports your work. That way if you have to go to the bathroom or need a break, someone will be there to promote your work while you're gone. I bring this up because one of the more fascinating comics I saw was from Origami Comics. The comic was shaped as a fortune teller. I loved those as a kid. It was beautiful to look at, and I definitely wanted to talk to Ken Wong, but he was nowhere to be found. The people next to him gave me his card but they could not answer any questions about it. That one made me really sad. I'm definitely going to try and find him at NYCC. So please try to bring someone who can give you extra support.

Now that I've talked about some of the not so great experiences, let me discuss the good. The people that we did speak to were great. I came across a most unexpected find with Ryan Sias' children's book "are you eating something RED?" It's the perfect gift for my niece.

Fred Van Lente and the fake Ryan Dunlavey (Fred's wife) were wonderful. Had a lot of fun with them at the Evil Twin Comics table. Mrs. Van Lente knows how to sell. She saw us looking at the table, told us about the various works and encouraged us to pick stuff up and mess everything up (within reason, of course), and Mr. Van Lente talked to us about his work and was just very approachable.  

Pronto Comics was there. They do a lot of work helping creators self-publish projects, collaborative and solo, as well as helping creators build their portfolios. One of these days, I will make it to one of their meetings. I want to see how it all works.

TopatoCo was awesome as always. They have great stuff and given my slightly unnatural love for Questionable Content, it's always nice to see Jeph Jacques. Getsuyobi got an autographed QC book complete with a Pintsize drawing.

Finally, we got to talk to Lush Comics. Lush Comics is a comic book publishing platform for folks who want to share and sell their art. It was great talking to Justin Mound about it and we plan on getting more info so we can pass it along to you. 

So overall, for Getsuyobi and I, the Fest was a mixed bag. Some good, some not so good and some just okay. Now that I have an idea of what it is like, next year I'll be better prepared. 

Did you go to MoCCA Fest '11? What did you think? Do you agree or disagree with my tips? And do you have any suggestions? Let us know!

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