Alright, finally home. this’ll be a long one, but fuck it, not going to cost me anything I wouldn’t lose anyway!
THE BRONYCON BREAKDOWN:
Travel: successful (but pretty rough on the back >.< )
Serendipitous socialization (meets that were not arranged or were unexpected): Very successful!
Arranged socialization (via tumblr or other communique): pretty bad.
Costume: Very Successful!
Total monetary gain: negative hundreds
Total follower gain: -3
Swag received: Two prints and one of EC Major’s beautiful play-mats. all of which somehow got left in the hotel >.< hopefully someone can mail them to me. Still not sure how that happened.
Woof, what a rollercoaster.
Well lets start with the ups, huh? because there were many. Aside from getting to spend time with people I only ever see on Skype, through sheer luck and being in the right places at the right time, I got to meet a whole group of people I never thought I’d get to associate with. Ate dinner with Hiroshi-Tea, played Magic with EC-Major, spent a lil bit of time with SweetCream, even got to play a few games of Worms with Ajin of all people, and he knew my pony’s name! I was genuinely shocked. All really nice folks, made the hang-out time really fun.
And along with them were a whole bunch of peeps I’ve been corresponding with for years that I only ever get to see at cons, like Boiler3 and Everfree rat and Kryptchild to name a few. Had a few adventures (stayed up till 430 waiting for NegativeFade to show up on the second night, had to rescue the poor beastie from her own exhaustion and park her truck for her. gah, her suit turned out amazing though. If you saw the really dark furred full-suit luna/nightmare with the glowing eyes, that was her. She put that thing together from nothing in a month and a half.)
Speaking of costumes, mine turned out more fun than even I figured it would be. If you saw a tall BLU spy wandering around harassing the RED team and claiming to be a normal princess horse in a host of various masks, that was me. Lemmee know if you got pictures or video, i didn’t really, other than a kinda messy selfie in the hotel room i dont even want to post. But I had a blast with it. backstabbed the entire RED team during a conga line, had to keep ducking behind corners and changing masks whenever people spychecked, its a fun character to play. I think people enjoyed it, there were a lot of smiles.
But, alas, like all things this too had its downsides.
For one, sales were awful. I ended up giving more doorhangers away than I sold, just because I wanted to feel like I’d contributed something to somebody. Didnt help much really. Got a few thankyous, got a few more perplexed looks. I can only assume it was a terrible product idea.
Sharing a booth with more appealing product probably didn’t help much, but that’s supposition. Boiler3 kindly let me mooch off his table to try and push the things, but to little avail. they just weren’t an object of interest compared to other people’s prints. I’d hoped the novelty of a new product would pull people in, but alas.
Im not sure if it was just the lack of sales or an actual fact, but I felt pretty invisible too. Any time I wasn’t out costuming I was behind the booth, helping out, but there was no recognition to speak of. Even had people coming by asking for signatures on the cards we made last year and skipping me over after getting them from other people, when im sitting there with the cards in front of me XD. I met 4 fans in as many days, and that was wonderful, I was really hoping to meet people who read the blog, but the number is admittedly pretty depressing. By the end of sunday, when artists were swinging by to chat up hobbes (as they should, it was his table and he worked it the entire weekend), every time they’d wander off without so much as a glance toward my badge or a nod of acknowledgement, I sort of fell further and further into a slump. I don’t think it was depression, though. I think it was more acceptance.
I think this blog has pretty much peaked.
For about a year now Ive been sitting at the same follower count, hovering above and below depending on update and unfollow trends, but essentially unmoving. I’ve been aware of it and it bothered me a bit, but I always sort of held out hope that it was just “the tumblr illusion”. Follower counts are untrustworthy things. many people follow without even having an account, and others track through different services or just check in when certain content is posted. They’re still fans, they still appreciate the work, they just don’t show up in the little magic number we all look at. I hoped that was the case with me. I figured if i could get OUT there, to a big con that featured relevant content and a big crowd of people, I could see some of that shadow following and be a little more certain that I was contributing something meaningful. Con has ended, my request for comic ideas that i offered to transform into free, publicly available art has yielded 6 entries (4 from regular contacts), and the overwhelming conclusion I come to is that there isn’t a ‘shadow following’, and I’m really not helping much of anything.
I’m a bit deflated, but less upset than I figured I would be. This was always a weird blog. An OC pony with no canon pony connections, actual, visual porn rather than fades-to-black, mixed with story posts with no division between them, lots of made-up head canon and mountains of text, it asks a lot of a viewer. Ive never begrudged people for liking just the porn, or just the story, or one part versus the other, but the hope was always that, if i provided enough of it, people would latch on to the idea that it was ok to feature both, and actually incorporate both into someone’s life without it being something bizarre or jarring. and it worked a bit, but I think its gone about as far as it can. Im a proponent of persistence, but after a point, you need to step back and rethink your approach.
So what now?
Honestly, I have no idea. Bronycon was the first and likely last opportunity Ill have to communicate directly with the fandom. My baby will be born in December, and its unlikely my production is going to increase or improve once that happens. If i keep doing what I’m doing, I’m not going to achieve a result I want. So logic dictates something needs to change or im going to keep getting the same results. I haven’t yet decided what that something is.
The current story arc will finish in the same format its currently in. I don’t want to shift it to something else halfway through. once its done, I’m probably going to do some redecorating around here. maybe go ask-blog or some kind of hybrid like Wiggles does. Or it might be time to retire the horse, i dont really know. All I know is, I sat back at the end of the day on sunday and looked over the people who had the most success, who got called to the panels, who were declared the representatives of this fandom, and for more of them than I would have liked, I couldn’t figure out why. not all, but probably the majority. I want to feel like I add something to a place. Im glad that I’ve added something to a few individuals, and they’ve told me so. its really wonderful. But I think the verdict here is that im not going to be adding much to the constituent whole, and based on what I see, I’m not willing to do what is required to accomplish that.