Last weekend was Geek Girl Con, one of my favourite cons here in the PNW. Every year I dread the thought of crowded panels, and every year I’m pleasantly surprised at how well-organized GGC is and how accessible and inclusive it is. Even this year, where I’m told they had 7,000 attendees, the con was still very chill, and just plain fun.
I spent the bulk of my time in panels. First on the agenda was “How to be a Nerd for a Living.” Guests ranged from Jaimie Cordero- the CEO of Espionage Cosmetics, to VP of Big Fish Games Jina Heverly to web comic creator Rebecca Hicks. What ensued was an inspiring panel both for those like myself who are already “nerds for a living” and those taking their first step into geek business. The general consensus seemed to be to just go out there and try it. If there’s a field you’re interested in working in, do whatever you can even if it means being the coffee person, so you can see how things work and decide if it is right for you. Some panellists suggested even working for free. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I agreed with that one. It’s too easy both as a writer and as an actress to be exploited by doing work “for credit.” I did however really like the quote “don’t follow your dreams, follow your skills,” which I think is what more people should consider doing. You just might be surprised where it takes you.
After that panel, I got to chat with Rebecca Hicks who is a hoot and a half. Since I wasn’t familiar with her work, I decided to check it out after the con. Seriously her Little Vampires comics is too funny. I’m also happy to see that she sells her Wolfie plush online. I felt so bad for not setting one free when I was at the con. Rebecca was quick to point out that success takes time, and also flexibility. Success may not come immediately, but it won’t come at all if you don’t at least try.
My next panel was one I was torn about. I thought about doing the Women in Trek panel, but honestly I was really curious about the Curious About Comics panel. I admit that despite having read The Watchmen, despite being introduced to some very good graphic novels by a comic book artist friend of mine, I still haven’t really gotten in to the medium, so I wanted to hear about comics for non-comic people. As expected, Neil Gaiman’s Sandman came up, and that is one I do intend to eventually read. Various other titles came up as well as suggestions for what to do if you have comic book shop phobia, which is a very real thing. And it’s not just comic book shops. It’s really anything where you feel like an outsider looking in. I used to get it all the time at scuba shops until I got scuba certified. Alas, I don’t think there’s any comic book reader certification. At least, none that I know of. Ordering at websites like Comixology was a good suggestion, to at least get an idea of what is out there, before you try your local neighbourhood store. Going to the Free Comic Book Day was also suggested since it was designed to get people into the medium. But, I admit, the best thing to come out of that panel, was when Jamie Broadnax mentioned there would be a new Jem comic coming out. That made the kid in me squeal with delight, since I used to read the old Jem comics as a girl in England.
Both the Curious Comics panel and the next panel on my agenda (The Business of Self-Promotion) were surprisingly packed. In fact, I nearly didn’t make it into the self-promotion panel simply because it was right after the comic book panel and was on a different floor. It was another interesting time, and although I don’t think much of it applied to where I am in my career there were heaps of good info for new geek business owners to get their name out there
The connections room was filled with the usual suspects, including folks from Amazon, DigiPen and ArenaNet, and somewhere while wondering around the connections rooms, thinking about everything I had learned, I realised Geek Girl Con is like the job fair I wish I had gone to as a kid.