Thursday, 29 June 2017

Preparation is everything.

I've been asked to write something about 'Preparing for a Convention' from the perspective of an independent comic creator.
An interesting request.
Interesting in that we've been doing conventions for so long now, 15 years, that we kind of just get on with it.
I'll do my best though.

1) Booking the event to start with.
It's a challenge getting tables at a lot of Cons in the UK, so when the date for one is announced independent creators across the land hit their iphones and android devices. Only when they've successfully requested their table do they then sit back and look at where the convention fits in their schedule. 
It's useful to have a print out, on a page, of your convention season. There are a number of ways to avoid surfing the net for upcoming events. Sites like www.eventbrite.co.uk are becoming a useful hub for such things and if you're thinking or running your own Comic Event (and we've been tempted over the years) then that seems fairly straightforward too (Eventbrite's registration online page). Regardless of how you've come across the event before you push the 'submit' button consider the logistics of how you can get from the convention before it to the one you are booking, or from the one you are booking to the one that follows. Travel to and from a convention can take up the Friday and the Monday around the weekend that it's on. Another long trip the following weekend will be very draining. Another the weekend that follows may be just too much. Turning up exhausted at a Convention isn't great for sales and it isn't good for you.

2) Get your stock sorted we'll ahead of time.
There's nothing worse than finding out the week before the Convention that you've sold out of the middle issue in your mini-series. Keep an eye on stock levels. There's also nothing worse than looking out of your living room window the day before you travel, hoping that the latest issue of your comic is going to be delivered in time. This is sometimes out of your control a bit, as we all aim a comic at a particular Con, but try to give yourself a few weeks

3) Think about sketch packs, print packs and multi-buys.
If you're going to have some interesting incentive packs on your table then make sure you start pulling these together a week or so ahead of the Con. That way you have time to get comic bags, sellotape etc. Print some nice clear labels with the details and price information. It's nice, if you can, to take Show Specials, with the name of the Con on the labels. Makes it feel limited.

4) Take the right amount of stock.
It does make sense not to take too much stock. There's nothing more soul destroying than lugging a load of boxes of comics to your table at the beginning of a Con, only to lug most of them back to your car again afterwards.
Keep a count of the comics you sell at the Cons you attend. It gives you a feel for what's popular where (although this isn't something you can rely on) and more importantly a feel for how many you're likely to sell when you go back. We tend to take that number plus 25% or so, in the hope that things improve.
Selling out of a title towards the end of the event is not necessarily a bad thing, it gives you a buzz. Selling out an hour into the event however is not good. 
Having an idea of number you're likely to sell helps avoid both.

5) Tell everyone that you'll be at the Convention.
Use Twitter, Blogs, Facebook Groups... and anything else at your disposal to spread the word.

6) On the morning of the event...
Set your alarm clock...

4 comments:

  1. And don't forget booking accommodation, travel, logistics, table top pricing and promo flyers, display items, cash float, fully charged card reader, liasion with event orgs, table cloth, drinks n snacks, sales sheet, sketch paper and - especially for you Dave - signing pens, handily placed :)

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  2. Ha ... they're your bits to organise.

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  3. ah thats what makes us a great team then :)

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  4. Yep ... that and the fact that you know what flavour of tea to get me.

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