So If you know me in person, you probably know that I hate doing conventions. If you look at my calendar, you will see I do quite a few of them a year. Not nearly as much as professionals, but I never intend to be a professional cartoonist. But this year I did 6 conventions, which for a part timer who hates them is a sizable amount.
I hate conventions because I have to sit at a table, often alone, and pitch my work to hundreds of people in a day or two, most of whom don't buy my stuff. In case you haven't read my work, I'm kind of a fragile person (though there is a lot of strength in me. My boyfriend refers to me as a glass cannon) and that is a lot of rejection to put up with for hours on end. Conventions are also expensive most of the time- you've got to pay for housing, food, and travel. Often I can find a place to stay for free, but the rest is usually coming out of pocket. At this point, my most expensive item (minus anthologies) is $10 and I'm making about a $4.50 profit on it. So unless the convention is local, I'm usually losing money on them. (That's why I'm only applying to two non local conventions this year, NYC Feminist Zinefest and CXC in Columbus- I've got places to crash in both cities).
But all this aside, it doesn't stop me from applying to and going to them. I don't get into a lot of them, but I'm starting to get into more of them. As much as I hate conventions, they are getting easier. My work is getting better and I'm more comfortable interacting with potential customers so I sell more. I’m seeing the same cartoonists over and over, so I'm making connections which makes me feel more at home. Independent comics is made up of a small community, and conventions is where I can meet people and strengthen my bonds with them over time. These are people that I may potentially work with or just become friends with, but these bonds and support are important. I also have made some very shallow connections with publishers, which could also lead to something in the future.
Anyway, the long of the short of it is conventions are very difficult for me but they help establish my place in the comics scene so they are worth doing. I will continue to do them. A lot of worthwhile things are difficult to do, but you can't shy away from that shit, you gotta tackle it head on. Sometimes you gotta kick your own ass into doing things to get where you want to be. Conventions are like that for me. So I'll keep doing them, and hopefully if I'm tabling at one near you, you'll come up and say hi.