2017 IS JUST ABOUT OVER!
Last year around this time, I made a list of goals for 2017. They were very aggressive goals. Goals I knew I could not reach. Here is the deal with that… I always push myself beyond realistic expectations. It is what I do. It is why I am where I am today. Where am I exactly? About 100 miles behind where I want to be… but further along than anyone ever gave me credit for.
GOAL NUMBER 1 from 2017 – Land 3 more newspapers
Well, that was a strong goal! For two years, I have been Blessed to be in a weekly newspaper in a neighboring county. I capitalized the word Blessed on purpose there because I truly feel the Blessing came from Powers up above… 🙂 Faith and hard work is my ideology for a successful cartooning career.
So at the beginning of the year, I landed a newspaper in North Carolina right off the bat! My crazy goal of adding three papers running my strip looked obtainable!!! Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the newspaper never launched my comic strip and would not return my calls. I sent strips for four months to the publication, but I had to drop them after a heart wrenching decision to “write them off”.
I was devastated.
But that changed quickly because I had the most amazing appearance at Comicpalooza. We will touch on that later. In a nutshell, I had two back to back shows which rung in more readers and a lot of funding for my strip.
So, September rolls around and I had been talking with a few newspapers over the past 3 months. All sounded positive, but one by one, they began passing and I was ready to bury this goal altogether. Suddenly, out of nowhere, one of the papers, The Zenith Weekly, picked up Charmy’s Army! How cool is that?
Oh, it gets better.
The next day, another newspaper, the Idaho World News emailed to say that they want to run my strip as well! Now, how cool is THAT?!? I suddenly had two papers added to my distribution list! I just needed one more to meet my crazy goal!
The chances of me landing that third comic strip in the next couple of weeks is slim. I have one paper who appears interested but they have not followed up in three weeks. Looking like they will be passing. No big deal, Landing TWO more newspapers is awesome!
GOAL NUMBER 2 from 2017 – Break even at my show appearances
How is breaking even a real goal? Shouldn’t that be expected? You never want to lose money. Well, this year marked the first year I hit the road and appeared at shows across Texas. I traveled to first year shows that normally perform poorly. I journeyed to cities who had no idea who I was. What was worse is the fact that I am pushing my brand and only my brand. Gone are the days when independent artists flourish in Artist’s Alley.
Yep. Everyone wants drawings of Batman, Spiderman or Rick and Morty. Attendees are looking for stuff they know. Pitching something new is dang near impossible…. the first time. My experience though proves that I can build an audience, and a strong one at that, over time. I have a HUGE fan base here in Houston.
So realistically, I figured I would lose $200 per show the first year. Hotels are expensive, fyi. I figured I would make table at each show and lose out on my hotel expense. With 5 road shows, I knew I would lose about $1,000 if things did indeed fall as I predicted. I was hoping though that a few of these shows would come through and be profitable.
The first road show was Alamo City and I only lost $100. I was floored! That was so much better than I thought I would do. The first day was so awesome, though the artists around me said sales were so down from the previous year. Alamo City had their last show only 6 months before this and it hurt attendance. They will be back to an annual show next year so I know I will do better next year. I gained 26 new readers to my comic strip though so that makes up for everything!
The next road show was Bell County. I ended up with a profit!!! Yep, I ended up with $75 after all was said and done!!! This was a first year show. These events are supposed to be a train wreck. The first morning of the show, I arrived to see a line wrapped around the event center! I knew I was in for something special. I was so right!
Next up was Staple! Oh, I had high hopes. I had invested over $500 between my table cost, hotel expense, gas and merchandise additions…. I sold $27 worth of stuff. I sold a button, a sticker at half price and a sketch cover at half price. I lost SO MUCH MONEY!!!! I don’t want to talk about this one anymore. I had gang members outside my hotel door all night talking and drinking. My neighbor at the show left after the first day due to poor sales so I was all alone waiting for someone, anyone to walk by and talk to me on Sunday at the show. The venue and date had changed so attendance suffered. Let’s move on….
Next up was East Texas Comic Con in Tyler. The show was tiny. I was afraid I made a huge mistake. NOPE! I had a blast. This was one of the most fun shows I have ever appeared at! The promoter had me up on stage doing my very first panel. I was so nervous, but I nailed it. What is even more amazing is the fact that I broke even. Dead even. That is the goal…. to have a break even year. The promoter, George, was so awesome. I so want to be back in 2018 if my schedule permits!
At this point for the year, I am about a grand in the hole. I have one last show in Austin… Oh no, not Austin again. Well, this one is actually in Round Rock… at a high school. I grabbed a cheap hotel and only had to make $100 to break even. When the dust settled, I made $105…. making a profit of five bucks!!!! WINNER WINNER!!! I broke even for the show…. but ended up a grand in the hole for the year.
I had myself braced for such a loss. My goal here was a failure. To be honest, I really had hoped to break even. Next year, I must break even when all is said and done or my road shows may indeed be “all said and done”… lol. I truly believe that returning to Bell County and Alamo City will prove profitable next year. I also believe Greater Austin Comic Con will be a huge show for me as well.
This was a building year so I have nothing to feel bad about. Next year will be amazing after all the hard work I exerted throughout 2017 in these cities. I am hungry for more. Bring it on 2018!
GOAL NUMBER 3 from 2017 – Become syndicated
Well, technically…. the answer is “no”. I did not get syndicated by Gocomics, King Features or Creator’s syndicate. Creator send me a form letter. GoComics emailed me and said, “the answer is still no” which I took as a hint to stop bugging them… lol. That won’t happen because I plan on wearing them down. Then there is King Features who never responds.
Like I said, technically, the answer is, NO.
But what is the definition of “syndicated”? Well, the definition is, “to be published or broadcast simultaneously in a number of newspapers, television stations, etc”. Um, wait a minute….. hey, I am now running in three newspapers… simultaneously at that. Wait a minute… I AM SYNDICATED!!!!!
Yes, I am “self syndicated”. Guess what? THAT COUNTS!!!!! I WIN!!!!!!!!!
Mark that goal COMPLETED!!!
Stay TOON’ed because I will be making more crazy goals for next year. 2018 will be a crazy year. I hope you all enjoy the ride. Success is just around the corner!