The Wyndham was a very nice hotel, excpet for the fact that they actually charged me $30 for the three boxes I had shipped to myself at the hotel. I asked why and they told my it was for storing the books. At ten bucks a book, I saked the guy at the front desk if my boxes had been given a private room. He was stonefaced. Must have heard that one before.
I’ve been travelling for comic conventions since 2000 and this was a first for me. But it was late and I didn’t feel like hassling the poor bellman. I gave the kid $30 plus a 20% tip. When I went to check out Monday, they actually tried to charge me for the boxes again! I told them that I wasn’t thrilled with paying it once and I wasn’t about to pay for it again. After a long, stern conversation, I would up getting screwed by the Wyndham only once — instead of the intended twice.
I wasn’t prepared for the crowds Friday. We opted for the shuttle from the hotel on the first morning and quickly realized that we could have walked it more quickly. As it was, we barely made it to the convention center in time for the BLC panel discussion, which was the first of the morning Friday.
For the rest of BLC, this was their first opportunity to meet Paul Taylor. After a quick round of handshakes and introductions, we lept to the stage and kicked off the discussion. Steve Troop had painstakingly prepared one of his QuickCasts to open the presentation.
After that, we launched headlong into an invigorating discussion of business models for independent cartoonists who use the Web as a primary delivery system. A key point: Webcomics are dead. If you’re going to succeed as a cartoonist, you have to think of yourself as the whole package — including not just the Web, but books, self-syndication, magazine reprint, etc.
The subscription model was hotly debated once more. From our standpoint, we’d love to see the subscription model work. But the fact is, it just doesn’t. You can compare webcomics to cable TV… or pay-per-play videogames… or satellite radio… or any of the dozens of other entertainment entities that survive on the subscription model, but the truth of the matter is readers just aren’t willing to subscribe to a daily comic.
Yours Truly went on one of his very familiar rants when the excuse of the “starving college student” was used as an excuse not to support one’s favorite webcomic. My response, in summary was, (a) I reject that most college students don’t have disposible income (and so does Anheuser-Busch, incidentally) and (b) No one will ever force you to support a cartoonist by buying a book or T-shirt, making a donation, etc…. but you forfeit your right to complain when said cartoonist finally moves on to more lucritive work and leaves the comic you love behind. ‘Nuff said.
There were no Big Announcements and we’ve no plans to add members at this time. That’s just not who we are. We’re a co-op of independent cartoonists who are helping one another succeed in their businesses. The purpose of our panel was to share what we learned in our first year. Oh, and have a ridiculous amount of fun in the process.
From everything I gathered, we succeeded on all counts.