Originally billed as an evening with Ken Knudtsen (pronounced Nood-sen), we lucked out that he brought his friend and fellow comic professional Jerry Ma. For those who don’t know Ken is the writer/artist of My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer, Crowpsey/Rufus & Cleveland, and I hate Zombies. Jerry is a graphic designer, T-Shirt Designer and Art Director of a comic anthology Secret Identities.
If the advice given could be boiled down to a word, it would be: Persistence. Also to simplify what it is to work in comics: Sacrifice.
To be more specific though, Ken and Jerry gave a lot of advice on how to network, talk to both fans and professionals and promote yourself in a gorilla fashion. so here are some key points that they shared with us:
On getting work from major companies
No amount of rejection is too much, keep going and be persistent.
Make the big 2 have to hire you. Take a queue for Eric Powell, creator of The Goon. Create enough of a demand/fan base that the companies are forced to give you work.
Stick with your idea, show commitment and consistency.
Don’t do 10 titles with 1 issue a piece, do 1 title with 10 issues.
Go with the project you are most passionate about when deciding what to commit too.
Get at least 1 issue published and have the other ideas Xeroxed, it will show your commitment.
On working The Con
Make sure to walk through and talk to a lot of artists in Artists Alley.
Buy from the people you talk to, who are kind enough to give you advice.
Make sure to give them something as well.
Talk to everyone.
Always ask for submission guidelines from every company you talk too. They vary from company to company.
On working The Table
When behind the table at a con, be engaging and personable.
Don’t just sit there and expect the masses to come to you. Ken and Jerry like to toss an XFL football around when traffic is slow, it attracts attention and is a good conversation starter.
Start a conversation, ask people how they are doing, and if the conversation goes away from comics, let it.
Bring non-comics friends with you to the con, especially if they want to help. They will be even more passionate about selling your book then you.
When you have a table the goal isn’t just to sell books that year, but to get that person to come back to you in 3 years.
On collaborating with other creators and publishers
Writer if you are unsure about an artist ask for 3 pages.
Set the expectations up right off the bat.
If someone is holding you back, you have to cut them loose.
Make sure everything is set up in a contract.
Creators make money after publishers make back there costs 1st.
On promoting and selling
Look to guerrilla marketing and distribution.
Just cause you are in Diamond, doesn’t mean anything.
Don’t be ashamed to ask you friends to go an buy your comics at a store. Jerry once had 40 asian girls come into Midtown comics to buy his book.
Be creative and shameless.
Make contacts with store owners at the convention. Try to get the retailer to buy 2 books.
You need to have structure.
Constantly be doing something art-wise.
Sacrifice is the name of the game.
You do get rewarded for doing hard work.
Now you don’t have to take my word for it, feel free to read the other side of things by going to Ken’s blog: http://kenknudtsen.blogspot.com/2010/12/talking-about-myselfpart-2.html
Also check out what both Ken and Jerry are working on and doing:
Well that is everything. Hope to see you on December 14th for our Creative Meeting. It will be at 7pm at Pronto Pizza on 41st St. between Broadway and 6th Ave.
Take care and Happy Holidays!
Pronto Comics: If one succeeds, we all succeed!