By Nathan Cosby
(PLEASE NOTE: I banged this post out on Tuesday morning at 12:16a.m. after 17 hours of packing to move to Colorado, packing to go in San Diego, prepping for the con, editing a 100-page book, writing 10 pages of script, crafting four solicits, running 7 miles, drinking 3 beers, watching Pardon The Interruption, and giving my bulldog a bath. So the following may make no sense.)
So as you’re reading this, I’m either on Delta flight 547 eating a Clif Bar, or I’ve already landed in beeyootiful San Diego, California. Figured I should get there a few days before SDCC, see some sights, see if San Diego PBR tastes different from New York PBR.
The convention experience has evolved for me throughout the years. I’ve had four cycles:
Cycle A: Baby. I didn’t go to any conventions, because I was a baby.
Cycle B: Child. I didn’t go to any conventions, because I didn’t have any money.
Cycle C: Employee at Marvel Comics. I was forced to go to conventions and hated it, because Tim Dillon (who runs the Marvel booth) would make me stack boxes.
Cycle D: Freelancer. Not so bad, but I get absolutely SICK of talking about myself.
I’m currently in Cycle D (here’s hoping I get to Cycle E, the Freelancer With A Drug Problem stage. I’m told that’s the funnest cycle). Being a freelancer at a convention can be a stressful time, because as you walk around the floor, you are deathly afraid of two things:
1. That someone will recognize you. 2. That no one will recognize you.
I experienced both of these firsthand at San Francisco’s WonderCon back in March. The first day I was stopped a few times (Person: “You’re Nate!” Me: “Are you sure?”) and asked to do sketches, chat about what I’ve been doing since leaving Marvel, etc. It kinda freaked me out. But then the next day, no one stopped me, no one recognized me. My ego was confused.
But I’m getting the hang of it, getting more comfortable meeting strangers that just want to talk about the stuff they like. That’s really what cons are, a chance for like- minded people to smush themselves into a huge-ass room and
basically announce “HEY COMPANIES! I LIKE YOUR SHIT SO MUCH THAT I PAID TO GET IN HERE SO THAT YOU CAN ADVERTISE TO ME!”
The personal advertising/marketing stuff is still pretty new for me. I wrote solicits and did interviews as a Marvel editor, but it’s a whole different deal when you’re writing/producing projects for a bunch of different companies. You’ve gotta be proactive, coordinate your own schedule, set up a lot of your own press, email/re-email/ re-re-re-email bosses and marketing departments to verify what you’re allowed to announce and when…it’s stressful, but balanced by the fact that you finally get to talk about what you’ve been working on so hard on for months.
Can’t wait to talk about the announcements coming up this week! I’ll do my best to give you behind-the-scenes info, how projects came about, why we picked San Diego to announce, etc. Cali-HO!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.