For those of you that may have guessed, you're correct, that secret ingredient is passion.
I can't tell you how many times I've been through the halls or aisles of a convention and seen a mix of exuberation and lament. And yes, you may have guessed as well, those that were demonstrating joy and a grin from ear to ear were benefitting from a successful show. And, more often than not, those that were in the throws of despair, were probably losing their shorts at that very same show.
So that got me to thinking, how can someone seated just across the row from another creator have a night and day difference as to the success they were experiencing at the show. The answer came easy. You either believe in what you are doing, happy with what you are doing, and finding the path of least resistance, or, you are struggling every step of the way, still searching for confidence, and a reason to continue the fight.
Let's make it simple. If you want to operate in a very difficult and congested arena of comic books, you must have a passion or the art form. No amount of talent will help you sell your book to a new reader face to face if you don't even believe in it yourself. No amount of value will sell your book more than a smile and a lot of enthusiasm.
I've heard countless times from colleagues how they avoid artist alley like the plague at shows because they feel like it's a pseudo 'beggar's row'. And surely not to discredit any of the hard workers in the industry or the selfless hours we pour into our craft. But this is the fan's perception. So what do we do to change this? We put on our happy faces, our happy feet, and pull out the spirit hands.
At the end of the day we need to sell a print or a comic book to get one step closer to our goal, whatever it may be. So why not take the very best shot at doing so as we can.
We aren't selling 32 pages of paper, no, we are selling much more than that. We are selling a piece of our heart, of our passion, of our lives, bound between two covers. And we need to demonstrate that value to our potential readers. Imagine how much more likely someone is to buy your independent title the next time they see an enthusiastic, passionate you at your convention table, with excitement pouring from your ears because you are so passionate about the story or the art you are creating and can't wait to share it with the world. Imagine the perceived value they are receiving when they realize the hundreds and hundreds of hours you selflessly poured into your project, to create the very best end result.
Now that's an invaluable proposition!