column_breakout.gifEtiquette? What is this…a Mister Manners column now? Nope…still just discussing ways to help aspiring creators get the most out of a convention. These are just some things to keep in mind at the convention. I’m not expecting anyone to dump their personalities and become all goodie-two-shoes because of these. So, let’s get to it!

Honesty. No personality change here. Especially not when I’m kicking this off by telling people to just be themselves. And when you’re out there representing yourself in public…there’s no need to be anything but yourself. When you meet new people, you want to be honest with them, so they get to know who you really are. When you learn knew things, you want to be honest with yourself and get the most out of what’s offered to you. When you’re promoting your current or upcoming work, you want to be honest with potential buyers and fans, so they get the real story to get excited over.

So, just be yourself. People constantly remind the aspiring types that this is a small industry, so it’s always good to make sure the information spreading around about you is accurate (especially if the source of that info is you). Let people know who you really are and what you’re really capable of accomplishing. Wouldn’t you want the person working with you on a project to be trustworthy and upfront about what they can do? Editors and publishers like those kinds of people as well…it makes it easier for them to manage their schedules and deadlines when they know what to expect from someone.

Treat them like people. They truly are real people. They have real needs, desires, passions, frustrations, and dreams. They have family and friends. They lead lives with bills, taxes, traffic, and health problems. Like many other people at the convention, they’ll probably get tired, bored or even hungover. And if they start showing a little attitude or grouchiness, just think about how you might feel if you had people stopping to gush about your latest work and just ramble on and on and on about the same thing that hundreds of other people talked about all day long. Think about how you might feel if people kept interrupting you while you tried to eat or what it might be like to have people trying to strike up a conversation with you while you’re using the restroom. People following you around…sharing crazy dreams that they had about you…reciting your own life story to you…reciting their life story to you. Sounds a bit crazy, doesn’t it? Well, creators deal with those kinds of things because there are some fanatics that treat them like objects to be idolized and praised. Be different. Be professional and treat them like real people.

…but show some respect. No need to deify them, but you do want to show them a little respect. Even if you absolutely despise their art or writing, they did make it into the comics industry, and as many of you know, that’s not an easy task. So, they might produce mediocre or fair work, but many other factors play into working in the industry. Timeliness in getting work done (good work ethics), professionalism, flexibility in dealing with editorial demands, working well with other members of the team…and they didn’t choke when they were given their big break. It’s an incredible accomplishment, so just remember that when you run into a creator that you’re not a fan of. You might be able to draw/write/ink/color/letter rings around them, but you can still learn a lot about all the other aspects of the industry from them.

Be helpful. My past catches up with me here. Early on in my life, my mom taught me about helping others. I took it to heart and tried to help everyone I knew. That didn’t work out too well though…there’s just not enough time to help everyone. But I did what I could, and I felt good about myself. Then I noticed a few occassional perks–people remembered me better after helping them, and when I needed some help with something, volunteers were usually easy to find. All for just donating some time and some hard work to give people a hand.

As with all things, there are no guarantees, so don’t count on those small benefits. People still might forget you…people might not be able to help you out in return due to busy schedules…people might get a touch paranoid and think you’re just helping them to get something from them. So, help out because you want to help out…because it makes you feel good. That alone makes it worthwhile…whatever else you get out of it is just Karma saying thanks.

But how do you help people at a convention though? People looking for directions–point them in the right direction. An artist wandering the crowd looking for another creator to review his/her portfolio–help them out with a few leads. Some aspiring artists and writers stopping by your table in Artist’s Alley–share some tips, advice and experiences with them. All little things…but a lot of times, people appreciate the little things others do to help them out.


That wasn’t so bad, was it? No discussion of what fork to use for different courses of the meal. No pinky lifts. No list of proper ways to address royalty throughout the world. Just some helpful little tidbits that can help you display a good attitude and a show of professionalism…and just might help someone remember your name after the con…or maybe make someone feel more inclined to teach you a few tricks of the trade…or possibly make some people more willing to check out your work.