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STAPLE! | House of Whack

STAPLE!

I hadn’t heard about STAPLE! until last year. Chris Nicholas, a guy I met in improv classes at The New Movement, created and organized it. It is basically a mini convention for indie comic creators, game designers, and artists in general. You can find out more at www.staple-austin.org .

I had never been a vendor at a convention, so I didn’t know what to expect. Chris warned me that STAPLE! kind of spoils vendors for other conventions because it is such a cool experience. He was not wrong. My vague plan was to roll in there with copies of House of Whack and The Stork and see what happened.

Before I left home, I created a little hand drawn sign which had the prices on it. Under The Stork I thought about adding the phrase “It Will Alter Your Life”, but then thought it was silly and hyperbolic. But, of course, that was the Cuckoo trying to thwart me. So I went ahead and wrote it in red. I think it made all the difference because I ended up selling 30 copies.

I didn’t have a fancy sign like a lot of the other vendors. I didn’t even have a table cloth. Apparently that didn’t matter in the end. I set up a demo of House of Whack and a pile of The Stork and my little sign. To my left was Big Head Press with graphic novels endorsed by Alan Moore. To my right was David McGuire, the soft spoken creator of the Grastrophobia web comic.

I wasn’t really sure I could suddenly become a marketing guy who sat at a booth all day, trying to get people to buy my stuff. But I engaged most of the people who walked by, starting conversations with them, giving the elevator pitch for both products. A guy bought House of Whack just because I started talking to him about board games in general. The Stork was the easiest sell of anything I’ve ever done. For one, it was $1. Secondly, when people grokked what it was about, they bought it, sometimes before I could even finish describing it.

I met all kinds of cool people and made potential contacts. I wasn’t even trying to network with anyone, but people would just hand me their card and tell me who to talk to in order to get House of Whack in their store.

All in all, it was a fantastic experience.


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