C2E2 2014: Selling Books Like a Big Boy

Another year, and another C2E2 in the books. It’s probably the biggest show I’ve gone to regularly (having attended it since its first show) and after a couple of years of being there in a press capacity with Panels on Pages, this year I was back selling stuff at the Super-Fly Comics booth. In addition to putting on my comic retailer’s hat once again and having to call my old business partner Tony Barry “boss” (and we ended up dubbing him Super-Fly Tyrion Lannister since he’s had such a great character arc this past decade or so I’ve known him) I was also finally able to have a forum where I could sell the comp copies of the horror anthology MONSTROLOGY that my first published comic story is in.

I went in with pretty high hopes but an undercurrent of worry. Having moved recently my money game was not exactly “on point” (as the kids say) and since I was staying at the hotel with the crew to be close to work I knew I was going to have a fair amount of expenses. If the books didn’t sell…well, there’d be some questions that needed to be asked. Like, “can I pay rent with comics?” or “How healthy is it to eat a graphic novel?” and “Is a hardcover more nutritious than a paperback?” Alright, things weren’t that bad but it still weighed heavily on my mind. I didn’t have an artist alley table, just a spot in a booth in with the other comic shops and the knowledge that I also had to work to sell Super-Fly’s products too.

Thankfully, everything went very well. Of the twenty copies I had I sold 18 of them, some to friends but more to strangers. It was kind of wild to put a thing that I helped make into someone else’s hands and have them go “Yes, I want to use my money for this good as opposed to other goods and/or services.” There was even a little kid, maybe ten or so at the most, who bought a copy with his Dad on Sunday, saying that he loved everything monsters and wanted to make that the thing he got that day. That was kind of a great feeling although hopefully they don’t read it, become horrified and then sue me. What am I talking about, I’ve never sold anything to any kid ever.

Given convention economics (hooray for nearly $4 bottles of Dasani water!) I ended up pretty much breaking even with everything but the experience of selling and talking to people completely obliterated the “Oh man if I sell them all I’ll make X amount of monies and make it rain all over McCormick place!” It’s been a long time coming but I can say “Hey, I’ve hand sold something I made” and I know that it’s not going to be the last time. It’s an amazing feeling and I’m thankfully for everyone who picked the book up. I did sell copies to a couple of stores, like Super-Fly Comics & Games (naturally) and First Aid Comics here in Chicago’s Hyde Park. It’s a small start and I know tons of other comic people do it all the time but I’m still basking in its “new to me” feeling.

Other than that I didn’t get to see a whole bunch more of the show. I went to two panels about making comics, one about pitching to editors and another about how to use Kickstarter to fund your comic and both had a lot of good information that also got me feeling like thing things are very attainable. I even tracked down a couple of panelists (which sounds super creepy) and talked to them in Artist’s Alley further about stuff and they were very encouraging.

All told this was a great year for me. In all the chaos of apartment hunting and moving that was late March until…now, I guess, there’s been so much going on that even though I’ve been able to keep up with writing I haven’t had much of a chance to do something with it or talk about it much. My girlfriend and I are still unpacking boxes and getting acclimated to new schedules but as things calm down taking all of this stuff to the next level is in the forefront of my mind. C2E2 has always had a special place in my heart, but now it’s that much better.

About The Author

Thacher Cleveland

Thacher E. Cleveland is a contributing writer & columnist for PanelsOnPages.com, co-host of the Super-Fly Comics & Games PodCast, novelist & comic creator. Originally from New Jersey and previously from Yellow Springs, Ohio, he currently lives in Chicago. You can find him on Twitter (@demonweasel), tumblr, his personal website and even on Google+

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04 2014

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