Holy. Smokes. Denver Comic Con was AMAZING!
Below is an honest, full disclosure report of how things went. I want to do this to show beginning artists what kind of hurdles, failures, and successes they can encounter when tabling at shows.
First up is my expenses, such as table fee, hotel, etc. As you can see I come out of this with a $578 LOSS! But, the image explains why. But yes, tabling at a con, in my opinion, should not be thought of as a money making venture. Sure, it might happen, but that shouldn't be your main focus when starting out.
Now, lets move on to my actual sales. Here is a breakdown of my book and sketch card sales:
Now, if you're comparing how much I said I made in sales and double check it with my actual sales, it will NOT come out the same. Why? I gave discounts when people bought multiple books. For the anthologies I charged $20 a piece, $35 for 2, and $50 for 3.
Now, here is a look at my table set up for Day 1 and Day 2&3. Two and three's set up was the same. I learned some things from day one and changed it for 2 and 3. If you really want to know you can ask. It was nothing major, just flow of traffic and so forth.
Day one I had my price guide down on the table, which wasn't good because people didn't see it there and kept having to ask me what the prices were. So, day two I took the "review" of Pest Control and replaced it with the price guide. That helped, but people still had to ask. So for the next show I think I'll just make little tags to put next to each product or something. I don't know.
For day two I moved the banner over to the right of me so you could see it better. I pretty much flipped my table backwards to fit with the traffic flow. I now have the ink sketch cards on the table.
And lastly, if you have an iPad, iPhone, or Android smart phone, I HIGHLY recommend getting yourself a Square reader and register app. This bad boy was a life saver (when the Wi-Fi was working). Over $100 of my sales were from taking credit cards. It's easy to use and works great.
Now, I think I'd like to address some table etiquette that I actually saw that works and doesn't work.
DO's and DON'Ts
TABLING AT SHOWS
- Chill out. Relax.
- If someone stops and looks at something on your table, then talk to them. If they're just walking by and not making eye contact with you, then let them be.
- I don't care what your brand is, be friendly to people.
- Make it look like you actually want to be there. Because you do, right? RIGHT?!
- Always look like you're having fun, even at the slow periods where you might not be having any.
- For crying out loud, make yourself look presentable. Shower, comb your hair, iron your shirt. I don't know, just look nice. Sheesh.
- While someone is thumbing through your book, tell them what it's about if they having asked.
- Let them touch stuff. Let them look at your book/art. Let them experience your work.
- Make yourself look like a professional. Get a banner. Use good graphic design. Make it look like you belong with the "big boys". Make it look like you know what you're doing and that people should buy your work for what it's worth.
- Charge for what it's worth. You're an artist. You can do things that the average person can not. So, charge them for it. If a drawing SHOULD BE worth $20, don't sell it for $5, sell it for $20. Believe it or not if you charge too little for your work, it will be a turn off. People will wonder what's wrong with it.
- Yell at people from behind your table. If you do, you have become a door-to-door salesman. And who likes those?
- Going along with that first one, don't make a spectacle of yourself. Because if you do, then you're selling a spectacle, not your work. Spectacles don't make money.
- Try and MAKE someone stop at your table.
- Don't make the sad, desperate puppy face.
- Eat in front of people at your table. Do I even have to say this?
- Undercharge. You're worth it. Act like it.
- Have a 5 minute explanation of your book/art. If you can't explain it in 30 seconds or less, then rework it until you can.
I give you these because me and some other artists around me did the things in the DO list and had a GREAT show. On the other side of the coin I saw artists around me do the things in the DON'T list and they had a bad show. Coincidence? I think not.
Anyways, that's about it. It was a really great show and will do what I can to make it there next year. If you have any specific questions, just leave a comment below and I'll answer it the best I can.
If it will let you, you can click HERE to see some of the cosplay and other photos from DCC.