Back on Tour
Posted by Tyler Chin-Tanner on Feb 26, 2011
I’ve come to realize that it’s part of my natural, creative cycle to go through stages where I prefer to close the door on the outside world and focus solely on my own work, and there are other times when it’s helpful to be a little more aware of what’s going on in the comics industry and any potential role I might play in it. Lately, I’ve been going through the former; not exactly the best way to write a weekly column, which would explain the lack of output in that area.
It’s all about establishing a balance. An increase in concentration in one area would naturally require a decrease somewhere else. And recently, I’ve been focused on wrapping up the final stages of my graphic novel, American Terrorist, which is due out this year, as well as jumping into the early production stages of my next GN.
So I’ve missed some of the news on digital comics, how they’re now going to be sold in actual, physical stores, and how there was almost an indie comics revolution. Now, I support both digital comics in stores and indie revolutions to some extent, but I’d prefer to make my contribution by creating my own work and making it the best it can be instead of making sure I’m always there to throw my two cents in.
I’m not saying that American Terrorist is going to help start its own indie revolution, but it is an independent graphic novel and it’s about a revolution.
Which brings me to my next point on how it’s time for me to move on to the next stage of my cycle. I have a new book coming out this year and another on the way, so it’s time to open that door to the outside world to promote my work. And this means putting together my convention schedule for the upcoming year.
And this is where a bit of irony managed to creep into the story. Last year, I wrote in this column that I was done with exhibiting at Wizard World shows. There were too many of them (12, I believe), and many were scheduled on the same weekends as other shows. Wizard seemed to be drawing a line in the sand and I chose to be on the other side of it.
But no sooner did I sit down to figure out which conventions fit with my schedule and budget than I got an email from Wizard World offering me a deal I couldn’t refuse: to exhibit at multiple shows this year.
And for those of you who’ve actually been paying attention to comic news, I don’t need to tell you that Wizard recently canceled their magazine after 20 years. They are going to have a digital news site that was supposed to launch on February 23, but they’ve already pushed that date back to March 2. I can see why they feel that a strong showing at their conventions this year would go a long way towards proving to the comics community that they still plan on sticking around despite the cancellation.
My guess is that their strategy is to first draw in the artists and publishers (though they now have to settle for the smaller ones since the larger guys seem disinterested), and this will bring the attendees to the door to purchase tickets and make the show look like an overall success.
As for myself, I already said that they gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. With two shows in New York City (where I live) and one show in Philadelphia (a short drive away), I’m able to fit three shows into my schedule with little cost to myself.
Let’s look at the breakdown for my convention tour this year. In a strange twist of fate: Wizard has emerged as the leader with three shows. I’ll be doing two small press shows with the MoCCA Festival (also in NYC) and the Small Press Expo in Maryland. And then I’m doing two of the largest shows in the country with San Diego Comic Con and the New York Comic Con.
That’s still a decent amount of shows without much traveling. I may not be getting around to as many areas of the country, but I think continued exposure in some areas counts for a lot.
Another thing I’ll be doing is writing a behind-the-scenes production blog for my upcoming GN, American Terrorist, starting next week and leading all the way up to its release. The name of the blog will be Trial & Terror. I’ll be syncing it up with this column so you’ll be able to read it right here on Broken Frontier.
On the blog, I’ll be posting interior pages as they’re developed, going over the cover design, examining marketing strategies, and looking at the best options for print and digital distribution. It all comes down to how to survive as an independent publisher, which is what this column is about.
See you next week, and maybe at a show sometime this year.
Tyler Chin-Tanner started his own publishing company, A Wave Blue World, where he wrote and drew layouts for Adrenaline, its flagship series, Adrenaline and wrote its latest graphic novel, American Terrorist.
© 2010 Tyler Chin-Tanner. All rights reserved.
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