Good suggestions for tabling at Cons, Steven. I'm still a newbie at the whole con circuit thing, having done only 3 small shows in the local (Boston) area. I'm slowly learning the ropes however. Here are a few more tips.
- Just to piggyback on the pop-up suggestion, you need to look at your booth from the eye of the con-goer. If you simply lay your wares flat down on the table, you're not going to catch anyone's eyes from across the room and you are forcing con-goers to look down. There's a reason comic books are displayed in shops the way they are, and not laid out on tables. Find ways to turn the rather 2D table into more of a 3D presentation, using stands.
- Have something free to give out. For the past three shows, I've had a stack of beautiful, high-gloss, Super Seed postcards that I've handed out to people that walk by. It's human nature to almost automatically take something handed to you with a smile, and in the time it takes to hand them the postcard, I can say something like, "Hey, check out my comic Super Seed, about the world's first super powered fertility clinic." That's it. I wait half a second, and more times than not it registers, and if I get a favorable reaction, I'll let them know it's available to be read online, and I just so happen to be selling print copies here. Sometimes they buy a few books. Sometimes they check it out online, and sometimes they leave it in the bathroom before they even leave. But handing out that something is a great way to break the ice.
I'm running low on Super Seed postcards at the moment, so I decided to do an even less expensive giveaway...I took an article on writing I wrote on my blog that got a favorable reaction from some readers and used it as a little news flyer that I can hand out to people. It's got plenty of links to all my projects, should they be interested in checking them out.
- Get people to come to the show to see YOU. For the first time, at a con I did a few weeks ago, I had a person come to my table who I had never met before, tell me he had been following my stuff online. He had a bunch of questions on the projects I was working on, and it was clear that he had planned to seek me out at my table that day. That was really cool. And it got me thinking...How can I get more people to be looking forward to coming to see ME at the shows I'm going to be doing?
Well, I'll let you know how it turns out, but one idea I had was to offer free sketches PRIOR to the convention. The BOSTON COMIC CON is coming up (April 4-5.) So, what I decided to do was run a Facebook Ad, that would show up only for people who live in Mass and have the word "Comic Book" in their profile. The Ad was short and sweet (because FB ads are limited) but the gist was "Attending the Boston Comic Con? Want a Free Sketch?" And the ad linked to a post from my blog, where I offered free sketches to a limited number of con-goers who emailed me for one, no strings attached.
Will this pay off? Who knows? But what'd it cost? The Facebook ad cost less than $10 bucks. My blog got a few hundred extra hits. And there are a handful of people who are coming to the Boston Comic Con not just to get their copies of Wetworks signed by Whilce Portacio or a Madman sketch from Mike Allred, but to also see little old me. And they'll walk away from the con with a free, original sketch of a character of their choice...and perhaps a few issues of Super Seed to boot.
Anyway, I learn something new at every con. I'm sure the next one will be no different.