Senpai Didn’t Notice Me.
I had a wild hope going in to DragonCon this year. One of my favorite comic book writers was going to be there, and I wanted to meet them. I wanted to say hello, tell them how I admired their work and how it inspired my own, and maybe buy something from them to commemorate the occasion. I got to achieve all of those things, and it was a pleasant experience all around. But that wasn’t my wild hope. My wild hope was for that comic book writer to later stroll past our table, having remembered the pleasant exchange with an eager fellow, and become so intrigued by the look of STAR POWER that they would pick up a book and give us a try. Maybe then, that would lead to a shout-out on Twitter or something, because having your work recognized and recommended by someone you admire is a great feeling.
I didn’t get to experience that, because it didn’t happen. Was I sad? Yes. Was I disappointed? Yes. Was I discouraged? No.
It would have been nice to have that happen, but let’s be realistic. Comic book writers who work for Marvel and DC are busy. They have tons of people approaching them at shows, whether they’re fans or aspiring creators or both. They have tons of people pitching ideas to them, saying “my booth is just down that way and I’d love if you stopped by,” and fishing for social media links or shout-outs. I like to think I stand out in a crowd, but realistically I’m just another voice in a vast chorus.
And then it got me thinking to all the times I’ve possibly done that to aspiring creators at shows, albeit on a much smaller scale. I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met at shows giving me business cards or asking me to drop by their booth in a shared Artist Alley. I often lose business cards during travel, and I never leave my booth in an Artist Alley because I have a ridiculous need to always be available at my table. Have I ever come across as disinterested to someone who admired me? Have I ever made someone feel like their work wasn’t worth noticing when all that really happened was that I got distracted by other things? The answer to all of that is probably “yes.”
It’s fine to be sad and disappointed when you’re not noticed on that “next level,” but it’s important not to get discouraged. Don’t pin your self-worth or feeling of accomplishment on recognition from those more popular than you. It’s a nice bonus, but it’s certainly not necessary. You get to define your accomplishments.
I’ll just have to make STAR POWER so popular that my favorite writers will have no choice but to notice me.