Comic cons are meccas of geek activity, drawing the biggest names from niche movie franchises, art, and writing. More importantly, though, they bring together avid fans performing incredible cosplay, collectors, and vendors excited to see what’s new and exciting in the world of comics.
With an eye to the new and exciting, one of the most popular parts of comic cons are the vendor tables – but if you’re thinking about setting up shop, know that you’re going to have a lot of competition. So whether this is your first go at making some sales at a comic con or you’re just hoping to up your numbers, keep these 4 factors in mind and stand out from the pack.
Know What Sells
Different events specialize in different areas of the comics world, so you need to get a feel for the specific event to know what will sell. Some cons are better for artists, while others draw enthusiastic collectors looking for old comic books and merchandise from their favorite franchises. Don’t waste time at cons where you don’t think your products will appeal – table space is expensive.
The rules at comic cons vary between locations, but know that they can be very strict. Also, they’re unlikely to provide you with anything but a table and a single chair. With that in mind, come with a tablecloth, retractable free-standing signage, business cards, and anything else you might need to draw attention to your table.
Have a simple, reliable method of invoicing on the go as well, such as Billdu’s invoice maker and a credit card processing device. People at cons are often on tight schedules, lining up for seats at the most popular panels and squeezing in as many sessions as possible. No one wants to stand around while you fill out credit card slips and write out invoices; you’ll end up forgoing sales because people want to get to the next item on their schedule.
Consider Your Space
Vendors are typically distributed through several different spaces at a given comic con, including on the main floor and in Artist Alley – and different cons will have different rules about where your table can be.
According to Nolan Nasser, an artist with significant experience selling at cons, opting to leave Artist Alley – even if you’re selling art – can be a real advantage. Exhibitor booths typically have more space, meaning that cosplayer props won’t block your table and you’ll have more opportunities to make sales.
Don’t forget to let people know where you are. Sure, you’re likely listed in the event guide, but if you use social media to connect with your fans, you can lead them directly to your table, wherever it is. This is especially important if the organizers have shoved you in a back corner somewhere.
The Price Is Right
Cons are expensive – so it should come as no surprise that people who sell at cons have to price their products higher than they might if they only sold online. As Nicole Dieker observes, even though it might cost $20 to print a sweatshirt, you need to almost double the price to turn a profit at cons in the long term. After all, you’re paying for transportation, table space, all the little promotional extras. You’re likely paying to run a website, you’re paying taxes, and of course, you need to cover your own labor. This is a lot of work.
With that in mind, make that sure you’re building the maximum number of connections at each con. Bring your business cards, an email list sign-up, and some items to attract people to your table. As you get the hang of the sales process and build your status as a con participant, you’ll see your profits skyrocket.