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01.03.072 published on 10 Comments on 01.03.072

Securn came to play o_o;;

Keeping with the ‘ask the readers something’ prompt…this week I’m curious if anyone has an comic con experiences/recommendations? I’ve never done the con thing before but I’m considering coming up with a salte of places to visit next year! Let me know if you have a favorite or a rec! :D

<3 Nate

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AHA, YOU HAVE STUMBLED UPON MY 3RD JOB >:) I don’t know what you really mean by “never done the con thing”, didn’t you have a table at CTNX once maybe? My memory might be faulty, so I’ll just proceed like you’re a total noob just in case. ;D

Conventions are so much fun, and great for connecting with people – but they are exhausting!! First rule of conventions: don’t do a table too many times a year. Burnout sucks. If you’ve really never been to a convention at all, I suggest going to a few just as an attendee to scope them out! Talk to the artists there, observe what’s for sale and what seems to be selling. Different size shows, different crowds… Every convention is different, and there are TONS all over the US.

It can be expensive/harder to recoup cost to run tables at events far away from where you live (unless you can sleep on a friend’s couch!), so to start getting a feel for how you can personally do well at a convention, start local! Internet researching with keywords of different towns, cities or areas near where you live, like “Palo Alto comics convention”, or “Palo Alto sci fi convention”, or anime convention, or pop culture convention, library convention, etc. should start showing you what’s available! Repeat for any place name near you, or anywhere you’re willing to travel. Get a datebook, or print out calendar pages, or start a digital calendar to put in the names, dates, locations and any other relevant info for each event you find, so that you can start mapping out a plan to either attend and scope some of them out, or for planning ahead to buy table space. Large conventions often put up their table space for sale a year in advance, smaller shows might do 6 months or less in advance.

STUFF TO SELL: it’s good to have a variety of prices. A small, fun thing or two that’s a few bucks (buttons, magnets, minicomics, tiny sketches), books in the $10-30 range, original art for $50+. Based on the cost of the table/travel/food/etc, make sure you have enough stuff to sell to make a profit over that; make a goal of how many you want to sell of each item if you want. If you’re going to offer custom art during the show, be careful how you spend your time (don’t spend an hour on a $5 sketch, etc.) And, talking to folks is helpful in making sales, so having your head down drawing the whole time isn’t usually that great. Balance!! :)

Table setup: it all depends on what you have for sale, because you’ll want to cater to displaying that stuff in a cool way. MORE INTERNET RESEARCH!!! Look up DIY table setups and pay attention to the ones selling stuff similar to you for ideas, and if someone has a particular cool setup thing, reach out on social media and ask them if they bought it somewhere or made it!

My personal favorite conventions:
HeroesCon. Charlotte, NC – large convention, lots of SCAD folks; family/art fan crowd. Tables are expensive, but if you have a lot of products to sell (especially original art or custom commissions), or if you hae other goals like reconnecting with friends, it can work out.
CXC Cartoon Crossroads. Columbus, OH – small-medium convention, adult/indie/art student crowd; tons of great panels and awesome guests from comics and animation. But REALLY HARD to get a table unless you have connections to the organizing team, it seems like. I’ve only attended/volunteered at this one.
SPX Small Press Expo. Bethesda, MD – large-medium convention, adult/indie crowd; HUGE show for independent comics!! But, getting a table is based on lottery and it’s become really popular so chances of getting a table are low. I’ve only attended this one, just know folks who have done tables.

I got a lot of words on this topic. :’D

AHHHH Lauren this is so great!! And it’s true, I have done CTN a couple times, but that is such an animation industry event that I don’t feel I’ve done something truly comic (or reader) focused.

The places you mentioned sound great! My family is in Charlotte so it could be a good one to try, haha, and I like the idea of scoping out a con or two before deciding to table!

Such great adviiiiiice, thank you for taking the time to write it! And maybe we can meet up at a con sometime soon :D :D :D

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