Posted By: R. Alan Brooks
Occasionally at a convention, I’ll start a conversation with some industry person, and it goes nowhere. It’s a little discouraging, but it doesn’t really mean anything. Maybe they’re tired that day, or feeling awkward themselves, or just not a person I can connect with. Who knows?
What I do know is that if I focus on that one person’s disinterest, I’ll be too discouraged to talk to others. So, presuming you’ve finished your book/art/whatever, and you’re talking to this person in hopes of beginning/building your career in the comics industry, here are some things I’ve learned:
1. If you’re talking to them at their table, don’t be rude and block other people- Try standing off to the side while you’re talking, and allow them the space to talk to others and sell what they need to sell. Also, try to catch them at a time when there aren’t many people at their table. This may require a few tries.
2. Have something in mind to say to them- You know, something other than “Hey, I loved your stuff. Can you help me get mine published?” Try commenting on something like a significant post or article they’ve written, or a theme of their work they’ve identified in an interview, etc.
3. Have a clear goal for yourself- What are you wanting from them? An endorsement? An introduction? A job? Some insider information about submitting your work? Be clear about what you want before you approach them.
4. Know your question- After a bit of small talk, you should also have a clear idea about how you’re planning to ask whatever it is that you want: “Hey, I’ve finished my own book/art/project. What’s the best way to submit to your company?” “Hey, we’re about to publish my book, and I need a quote for the back. Is that something I can talk with you about later?” “How did you find your way to being published by so and so? What was your path?”
5. Do your best to not put them on the spot- This is why, if you’re asking for something, you can end with “Is that something I can talk with you about later?” It invites them to share their contact info with you if they want. You can even offer to buy them a drink if you think it’ll be a longer conversation: “Hey, if you’ll be at the bar later tonight, can I buy you a drink and pick your brain about the industry?”
6. Don’t be an asshole if they say no- They may have their reasons.
7. You don’t have to ask them for anything right away- If you’re both at the convention for a few days, you can introduce yourself the first day, see if you feel any connection with them, and then talk to them again the next day. Once you feel like the connection is solid, and they remember who you are, you can make your request.
These items have helped me build bridges with a lot of people who I didn’t think would even talk to me. So you might be surprised at how well things go if you try them!
Raised in Atlanta and now a Denver resident, R. Alan Brooks is a writer, musician, and host of the popular “Mother F**ker In A Cape” comics podcast, which interviews marginalized members of the geek world. Alan writes educational children’s comics and is the writer and creator of “The Burning Metronome”, a supernatural murder mystery graphic novel.
Read more from this blogger at: http://www.theburningmetronome.com