With comic book conventions springing up all over the country, and the biggest con of all, Comic-Con International in San Diego, starting in a month, it may be about now that comics creators are feeling rising anxiety about selling their goods in Artist Alleys. Fortunately, Karama Horne of Derpygurl has some helpful tips for Artist Alley exhibitors, “25 Reasons Why You Don’t Make Any Money at Comic Cons.”

The difficulty of even breaking even at conventions has been a hot topic among comics creators, with some artists from the old guard most prominently placing blame on cosplayers and other “wrong” kinds of fans who supposedly don’t buy anything at cons. This kind of railing is a mistake --- it further alienates an audience whose support can be invaluable, and indicates an unwillingness to grow and change with the times.

Rather than taking the “get off my lawn” approach, Dugim gives clear examples of mistakes comics creators make in Artist Alleys in a marketing lesson with the central theme of approachability. Choose the right conventions, promote your presence, be friendly, know how to talk about your work, have products to sell with clearly labeled prices: these are simple concepts, but there are exhibitors who haven’t yet mastered them.

Those of us who have attended more cons than we can count have seen them all: the creators who won’t make eye contact, the comics-hawkers who are way too in-your-face, the sad tables without signage, the T&A banners that bring down the tenor of a whole Artist Alley row. But those kinds of mistakes seem to be on the wane. Honing their craft and audience engagement skills online, comics artists now are increasingly savvy about their marketing. They know how to present their work attractively, show browsers the just-right sample of their work to hook interest, and --- most importantly --- show potential fans why they are enthusiastic about creating comics.

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