Dan & I are frankly thrilled with our first convention appearance promoting Walking the Lethe. One day long and catering to an indie-friendly audience, the Thing! was a great chance for us to get our feet wet and to test the comic face-to-face with a European audience. What you’ll read below is my take on the event. Read Dan’s thoughts over at Walking the Lethe.
About the Convention
Before I get into our own experience, a little about the Thing!. The Thing! has been running for 7 years now from its London home and is very reasonable in price for both visitors (4 quid) and exhibitors (varies, but approx. 40 quid in 2010). Although an attempt is made every year to include panels or other activities, the primary focus this year was the show floor which featured a wide variety of independent comics creators, mostly from the UK. The event this year felt a bit thrown together; a sense that was confirmed by other people I spoke with, but things tend to be a bit different every year for the Thing! so that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
In short: Very indie. Small. Print-oriented. Open-minded. Friendly.
Dan & I attended the Thing! for several reasons, but the big one was to test Walking the Lethe on an English-speaking, European audience. It was also an excuse to experience a convention from the other side of the table and having your own comic does lead a level of inclusion that just being an avid fan does not. We didn’t approach the convention expecting to sell out of product and get a movie deal, but we did hope to meet some other folks, talk shop for a day, and generally have a good time.
Table-wise, Fallen Kitten Productions presents Walking the Lethe landed a nice corner spot at the Thing!, central with lots of traffic and nearby one of the better known (in this fan-girl’s opinion) webcomic creators at the event; Tom Siddell of Gunnerkrigg Court. I purchased an original character portrait from him to mark the occasion and will be framing it soon. To increase visibility we hoisted a large, origami butterfly up over our table and hung up the poster of Issue 3’s cover that we had made for the event. I can’t say that the butterfly drew much attention, but the poster stopped several people long enough for me to put a flier in their hands and pitch the comic.
The print copies of Issue 1 sold better than I anticipated and even people who didn’t buy a book responded positively to our pitch and a spike of traffic on the comic site on Monday seems to correspond to that. As time goes on, I hope that interest only grows. We ran out of handouts about mid-afternoon and will definitely be printing more for the next event. They are a staggeringly useful sales tool for the little known webcomic.
Besides meeting Tom Siddell, who was friendly and frankly does wonderful work, I wanted to make special note of Mal, owner of Famprint, who ran a little pre-con pub meet-up and helped us feel included. Shout outs also to Dan Wilde, friendly comics writer, Prestwick of Hard Graft, Sam Johnson of Geek Girl, and David and Arthur of Zipgun Comics. You all made this trip more than worth it.
Other Cons in the UK
Since traveling to the UK is not a trivial affair for us, Fallen Kitten Productions is looking to do one (or at the most two) conventions there a year. At least for the time being as Walking the Lethe finds its feet. Here are a few recommendations we received over the weekend, so you may find us at one of these in the future.