This past wednesday I entered a new chapter in the promotion and the selling of my comic book and graphic novel series: My first book signing! Held at Pulp Fiction Comics in Culver City, California, this shop in its first year of business has been extremely indie creator friendly, having held a monthly "Artist Alley Saturday" late last year. Speaking with the clerk during my creator appearance, we agreed that new creator signings are a much better way to promote new comic talent, as only a few artists appear in the shop at a time and are mentioned by name, and they are placed across from the register near the front door usually on a wednesday---where foot traffic is at its highest in the store due to this being the day new comics are released. Now, onto how my "signing debut" went.
After my usual prep-work of ensuring that all my change, merchandise, and display portfolio are up to date, I loaded my two suitcases full of comics, duffel bag full of magazine holders, nameplate, and table skirt, personalized table runner and retractable banner into my car for the often congested trek from North Hollywood to Culver City via the 405 freeway. Since I left at 8:30 in the morning, and only had to be there at 11, it was one of the few times that the traffic didn't bother me. I arrived at the shop about thirty minutes before they opened, so I killed time doing some FOS Mongoose sketches. Then came showtime: Following a standard 15-minute setup, I continued my sketching started from my car while talking shop with fellow indie creator Matt Macfarland, the artist and writer of his own series "Dark Pants," about the journey of a mysterious pair of pants through the city of Los Angeles. This was his first signing too, and we were both curious as to how the day would turn out for both of us. With this being a workday (though school and college kids were out of class for the summer), the customer traffic came in waves throughout the day. While Matt and I were both billed as appearing in the shop from 11-2, the store clerk was very cool with us staying longer if we wanted to. Matt stayed until 4 p.m., and I stayed until 6, as my good friend Andy Cogan was performing stand-up comedy in Northridge at 9 later that night. That was the best decision I could have made that day, as I made eight sales and a profit of $60.00---almost double what I did at the shops "Artist Alley Saturdays" last year. I even made my very first sale for my new trade paperback "Cosmic Force" Volume One" here, where I also included the fifth issue of this series as a complimentary part of a $30 offer. Sales of standard comics from my FOS Mongoose and Damn Tourists series included complimentary prints featuring characters from that series. Customer interaction was also great here, with most people drawn to our tables due to the proximity to the register as they waited to pick up their pre-ordered new comics.
So will I do this again? DAMN RIGHT I WILL! I just signed up for a creator appearance at a shop called "Emerald Knights Comics and Games" in nearby Burbank on Saturday August 29th, and I am currently reaching out to other comic shops across Southern California for any indie creator signing opportunities (The Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach and Meltdown Comics in Hollywood are possibilities right now). These comic shop appearances are probably the most affordable (no table charge like conventions) and more intimate comic events that any up-and coming comic artist or writer can be apart of, and I definitely look forward to doing more of these in the future. Perhaps I'll be appearing at a comic shop near you! Stay tuned!