Personally, the hardest thing about conventions isn’t even the convention itself.

It’s having to leave my family for days at a time.

Now that may not seem like a big deal when you’re single. But if you ever decide to get married and have kids, traveling becomes a lot harder. It’s one thing when you work for a big company that pays all your travel expenses and every hour of your time is accounted for. No matter what happens, you still get a paycheck.  It is a completely different matter when you’re running your own business and trying to support that and your family at the same time.

I feel responsible. Hell, I am responsible.  I can’t come home to my family unless I achieve what I set to do at every show I attend. There are no excuses. If I screw up, there is no one to blame other than me. Plain and simple.

I live and die by how I perform at conventions. One wrong move could hurt my business tremendously.  As you can imagine, it isn’t easy for my family either.  If I screw up, they pay the price too.

Knowing that people depend on my success is a driving force that gives me the power to stand when I’d really rather sit down.

So today, as I share my latest experience on the battlefield of Planet Comic-Con where YI SOON SHIN sold over a thousand books in the span of three days at our 54th convention appearance–I ask you this–is there a force that drives you to succeed in the field of art? What motivates you to keep moving forward when all your being tells you to stop?

Chances are you probably already know the answer but if you don’t, I hope that my experiences will help you find the answer to this very important question.


1050 Comics and Graphic Novels


Before I left for Kansas City on Thursday night, I really wanted to see my son before leaving for the airport. My wife told me that she planned to pick him up from daycare and wanted to go grocery shopping, thus I wouldn’t be able to see him before my departure.

I was a little let down but I got over it.

Just as I was walking out the door I got a phone call from my wife telling me that when my son found out that he wouldn’t see me before I left, he started crying and demanded to be brought home immediately!

So in order to make our son happy she decided not to go grocery shopping.  She came right home so that Max could say goodbye to me before I left.

It was both the sweetest thing in the world and the hardest fucking thing to have to calm my five year old son down and tell him that I’ll be back in just a few short days when he’s crying uncontrollably.

In these circumstances, it’s up to me to lighten the mood so that I can make sure he’s okay before I go.

Everything I do–everything I stand for–everything I am trying to be in this world is for that boy. I want him to grow up with confidence and faith that he can achieve anything he puts his mind to. Just as my father did for me.

At this point, I already knew I would sell out at Planet Comic-Con. There was no other choice.



DAY 1:

As always, something had to go wrong. The boxes of comics I shipped out the week before the show never arrived at their destination. I cannot begin to tell you how pissed I was.

Fortunately, I managed to track down the boxes quickly.  They were being held very close to the convention center and so I was able to grab them and go.

The moment the showroom floor opened, I was focused and ready for combat.

Kansas City has such a receptive audience for YI SOON SHIN. We performed beautifully and I met some wonderful people at this show. Great customers and just an all around good vibe.

Day 1 ended with three hundred sixty books sold. I was relieved and ready for a great Saturday.


DAY 2:

Of course there is such a thing as convention jitters. Usually for me, they don’t go away until a show is finally over.

The reason is because you never know what to expect at any convention. You can’t control the customer and you can’t control how the convention staff markets the event. There are so many variables that are beyond our own comprehension that you can’t blame someone for having a bad show.

We don’t think about this often but setting up at a convention as an exhibitor is one of the most challenging business models because your clientele is always changing. One day you’re in Kansas City. The next day you’re in Alabama. You’re moving all over the place, with product, and trying to make a buck where you can and how you can.

That’s why, one of the keys to YI SOON SHIN’s ongoing victories is me being very selective of the shows that I attend. Planet Comic-Con is where I had my best performance in a single day at a convention last year. So this year I set out to top it.

And I did.

On Saturday I sold four hundred eighty books. That’s ten copies shy of my first order from Diamond Distributors–the main international comics distributor.

Again, the people at this show were phenomenal. They flocked to my booth and were supportive of my book and my mission. I got lucky. I had a good show.

That doesn’t always happen for me. Some shows I need to work really hard for every sale I make. I consider myself very blessed to have such a great following.


DAY 3:

On the final day of the show I had two hundred ten books left to sell.

As soon as I got on the floor, I told myself that no matter what happens, I will do all I can with the time I have left. I had no idea if I’d sell out or not. I had no idea whether people would show up or not. You just never know!

What I did know is that I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

I have done shows with an amazing Friday and Saturday and a dead Sunday. I’ve done shows with horrible Fridays and Sundays and terrific Saturdays. The only way you know is through experience but even then so much is beyond your control.

All you can ever do is your best.

And let’s say you totally fuck up even though you tried your best–don’t get discouraged! Learn from the experience. The toughest shows I had were ones where I was doing something wrong. Sometimes in order to learn, you have to fall flat on your face so that you can get back up and fight again.

Plus look on the bright side, once you do learn, you can only make new mistakes.

I sold out by 4 PM and immediately packed my stuff and headed for the airport with no books left to trudge home with me. I achieved everything I set out do just in the nick of time. From when the showroom floor opened to when it closed, YI SOON SHIN was open for business.

As always, I put myself out there for my customers and as long as I live and breath I will continue to do this because I believe in my comic series, I believe in my team, and most importantly–I believe in myself.

If you have confidence in your ability to always learn and grow, you can achieve anything!


In a couple weeks, YI SOON SHIN will be hitting Houston for Comicpalooza with another thousand books to sell! We’ll see you there!


Onrie Kompan

[…] Planet Comicon in Kansas City last month, I came across a gentleman selling a comic book series based on the Hideyoshi invasions of Korea, known in Korea as the Imjin War, focused on the escapades of the national hero Admiral Yi Sunshin. […]
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