2013: The Year Conundrum Went International
Well folks the year is winding down and the storms have hit the Maritimes causing endless snow days for the kids. Time to sit in front of the wood stove and reflect on what has happened here at Conundrum Towers in 2013. A lot! This year our sales were more robust than ever, we think probably due to our focus on the burgeoning graphic novel market and the amazing talent coming our way. We published more books this year than in any other year. 11! See them all here. But the big change around here is that we looked internationally for talent and new markets. The new talent came in the form of the first two books in the Conundrum International Imprint: Hong Kong artist Chihoi's The Library, and from France Antony Huchette's Brooklyn Quesadillas. As for international markets we had the pleasure of attending many festivals this year and sold 25% of all our books there. So this is truly an alternative and lucrative distribution network. We thought of doing a run down of all the festivals and remind everyone of the blog reports that accompanied them. So here we go:
January: Angouleme, France: This was the bucket list Festival for us and we were so honoured to be invited to buy and sell rights. It is the largest festival of its kind in the world. See our report here.
May: TCAF, Toronto, Canada: This is the biggest show of the year for us, one of the best going we think. Had record sales and featured guests. Great to see old friends. Significant report here. Swept the Doug Wright Awards as well. Good times.
June: Festival BD Montreal: Held in a big sweaty tent in the beautiful Parc La Fontaine. More of a francophone crowd and not as exciting for old Conundrum. But good to be back. Report with book launch included...
June: China International Comics and Animation Festival, Hangzhou, China. We sent guest blogger Jane Affleck to China and this is what she had to report.
August: Sappyfest, Sackville, New Brunswick: One of the most popular alternative music festivals in the Maritimes also hosted a zine fair and the book launch for All Citizens. Author Serena McCarroll continued on a East Coast tour. Always a fun time.
August: DCAF: Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Across the harbour from Halifax and held in the ferry terminal. A fun local event hosted by Strange Adventures Comic Shop.
September: Helsinki Comics Festival, Finland. Truly a magical and international festival as my report will make obvious. Canada was a featured country so had three artists accompany me and we were treated like kings!
October: Halifax Pop Explosion: Halifax, Nova Scotia. Replacing the church basement zine fair this year. Very vinyl oriented so not too much interest in the printed matter. Too bad. Halifax we need a decent zine fair! Hexpozine anyone!
November: Comic Arts Brooklyn, New York. The USA is international territory for us and the new incarnation of this hip festival was just as great as last year. Dakota McFadzean and Brooklyn Quesadillas debuted to great success. My report.
November: Expozine: Montreal, Quebec. We co-founded this festival 12 years ago and it has grown into one of the biggest and all inclusive festivals in North America. Totally diverse. Had the next generation of Conundrum artists helping out. Saw old friends as always. Got sentimental, as can be seen in my report.
So that is 2013. We hope to attend all these festivals and more in the new year with new books and new authors. It is amazing to me that I can do this. Meet interesting people, work with some of them, travel the world, sell books. I'm thankful for all those that have supported Conundrum over the years, come to the table and bought something, or just said Hi. I am especially grateful to those who help me behind the table so I can browse. This year as in the past it was Joe Ollmann who did the heavy lifting and held my hand when I cried.
See you next year.