Going to conventions is one of the best way to learn about the industry, meet new people and get advice from peers and pros. But often wannabe creators will waste the opportunity to learn by talking about themselves or asking the wrong questions.
“How do I break into comics?” is one of the questions I hear a lot by aspiring creators. The question is not easy to answer in a meaningful manner – and it certainly won’t be a short answer (my best and shortest possible answer is this podcast episode). It also requires a lot of background information on the person asking the question.
When not asking impossible questions like the one above, these creators will try and impress whoever they are talking to, pitch their comics ideas, tell rambling stories about their journey and aspirations – instead of using the opportunity to gain new insights and valuable knowledge. I’ve certainly been guilty of this myself. Becoming a better listener and asking smarter questions is something I would like to improve. So you could say this post is just as much for me as it is for you.
So instead of asking “how do I break into comics?” here is a list of smarter questions you may ask peers and pros alike, when you get a few minutes of face time at a convention or pin them down in a Twitter conversation:
- What areas of my art do you see needs improvement?
- What are your favorite cons to go to and why?
- Who do you think I should meet while I’m here?
- What is one thing people get wrong about the way the business works?
- Is there any resource you can point me towards that could help me learn more about X?
- What’s a mistake you see a lot of beginners make?
And then I also recommend taking notes! Either during the conversation or directly after. You can’t even memorize your Mom’s phone number so I’m willing to bet you can’t remember a key insight from a conversation a week later. It’s one thing to ask better questions but you also need to actually listen to the answers.
If you have a question for me, leave a comment below!