Book Festival vs Comic Con
This past weekend, I had a vendor table at the 2018 Bookstock in Woodstock Vermont. I was selling 3 of my graphic novels. I was the only comic book person there. I romanticized my imagined interactions before I arrived with other vendors calling me a ‘toony’ but that never happened. I made some good friends and sold 4 books but I was amazed by the similarity of Comic Con and Book Festival experiences.
Every Independent Creator Has a Hard Road
My independent comic creator friends work hard to get their name out in the general public, and the internet is saturated with comic books now; especially with the popularity of comic book movies.
Independent authors suffer the same, but once an author gets a reader, the reader becomes a more active fan; compared to a comic creator. I personally feel this is in part because a story with words create a stronger intimate connection than a story with pictures.
During the festival, I watched my fellow vendors quickly explain their titles, in hopes of saying the right thing that would pique a potential reader’s interest. Authors appeared more proud to talk about their work than my comic creator friends. This could be based on the casual observation that as an artist our skill is visually obvious.
The Casual Shopper Prefers the Popular Titles
At comic conventions, a bulk of the attendees circle around the long boxes, searching for that one comic book that is worth a lot of money, looking for specific issues to fill in a collection, or just finding some cheap reads.
The same was for the casual book festival shoppers. An incredible amount of attendees only hovered around the used book sales and never journeyed to the other tents that had the independent authors.
Drawing, creating, and writing are lonely and solitary passions. Spending time with people who have similar passions is reinvigorating and frankly fun. Spending time with comic creators is like family, but sharing time with authors feels like long lost cousins.