This past weekend I had an awesome event in Minneapolis called GalaxyCon. It’s the biggest event I’ve ever gone to, depending on how one might rank the Mn Renaissance Festival. GalaxyCon was expecting over 30,000 guests for the weekend, and they packed their lineup with a bunch of big-name celebrities.
In fact, the list of celebrities was intimidating for a young indie-crafter such as myself. I was left wondering if attendees would save some money for a little guy like me? Let me list who was advertised.
The remaining members of the original Star Trek series, plus Jonathan Frakes from ST:Next Generation
Several Doctor Who doctors and their ladies.
Guardians of the Galaxy cast: Dave Bautista, Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker (Yondu), And Pom who cancelled last minute.
Several 80s wrestlers
Some Power Rangers
Karate Kid, Cobra Kai cast members
Rocky Horror Picture Show cast members Barry Bostwick and Nell Campbell
Voice actor Steve Blum
Well, the good news is that enough people brought enough money in their wallets to also take a chance on this small-time author they’d never heard of before this weekend. I made a profit and had a LOT of sign ups for my mailing list from my book giveaway. (The winners have been contacted and their books in the mail now.) It was my 3rd best event in gross sales.
But I discovered something about celebrities this past weekend, or at least, how I rated them. Like anyone else, I’ve made a habit of trying to collect a selfie/signature or two from celebrities at the events I attend. This past weekend, I didn’t grab one from any of them. A lot of these folks are big stars that have really entertained me. Yet, not one autograph or picture from any of them to show for it.
There was a load of local talent at GalaxyCon as well. Almost every author or artist that I’ve met at conventions was present. These are all independent authors and crafters trying to make our dreams come true.
The few times I left my booth, I visited them!
I heard Christopher Schmitz’s new book, “50 Shades of Worf” sold out. Ozgur Sahin was pitching his newly released 2nd book, “True Colors”, and that sold well. I learned about Anela Deen’s latest projects and upcoming releases. Horror writer Patrick Marsh nearly sold out of books. I picked up the remainder of artist Nathan Lueth’s “Impure Blood” series. I enjoyed chatting with Kimberlee Ann Bastian and Amanda Meuwissen. I ran into artist Jamie Lee Coker and pitched an idea to him, let’s hope we see some results on that soon! Destiny Davison greeted me with a hug; I met this young artist back at MSP Fallcon. I saw Mighty Pegasus Art set up in my row with some cool drawings. Dragon author Heidi Collotzi set up ahead and on my right, the same orientation our booths had at a craft fair at the start of the year. A new artist, Kat Baumann, impressed me with her style. Jesica Gibson and Kasie Gonczy teamed up to give the kids some great face-painting and glitter next to a dance floor. Toy dealer Old Skool Toros came by and gave a fist-bump.
It seems I was also sitting right next to a local celebrity. Fellow author Scott Burtness pulled in a crowd of people during the convention. He had helped many local indie-authors get some visibility with events he hosted, and it seems everyone knew this guy and took the time to come over and visit. He also had a table-bowling game that no one could resist.
Not to brag too much, but I had one high-profile character come visit me and check out “The Widow Brigade”.
(And if you like his cosplay, check out Maxx Dakota)
This experience taught me something about how I view celebrities. I invested so much time with these local folks, I guess that’s where my favorite celebrities were. A lot of us have the talent, just not the big-name recognition to go along with it. We invest in our dreams and bring them to strangers at conventions, hoping that people will invest in us and realize what we have to offer. A lot of us are pushing full-time day jobs but we jump into a new mentality and personality when we can hang out in geek nests like these conventions.
In this age of broad communication, I’m excited to see more indie projects – visual, literary, audio – get increased attention. The rise of independent creators of all genres leads to more offerings in art and culture than you’d find in the repetitive Hollywood sequels. I’m glad that I can meet an author in-person, enjoy their book, and someday meet the same person over a casual night out at a tavern. It’s great that I can find artists in my local backyard who might one day share a project or do a cover for me. They’re all down-to-earth and approachable. We all answer our own email.
So, I guess this is a shout-out to the local celebrities. This is for all of you that work a 40-hour work week and your coworkers react like, “You write? You draw pictures? Sounds cool” …and leave it at that.
I know your worth. I’ll see you on the other side of our next gateway to other worlds.