Thursday, March 17, 2011

Con Preparation 101

The Farmer In The Dell
and other

Special Prints for WonderCon 2011

There is so much to consider when preparing for tabling at a convention. Listen to me talk, like I've done this before, but there is, and I thought I'd share with you things that I have found to be helpful.

#1. Podcasts. Especially Art & Story #124 The Big Convention Field Guide
in this episode, Jerzy Drozed & Mark Rudolph spell it out. all you need to know as well as a link to a very helpful spread sheet that details the costs you might expect.

#2 No point in having a table if you have now wares to sell.
There is no better POD service for comics in the world. and as long as you get all your files right, your books will arrive perfect and on time if you send them early
enough. I would recommend a minimum of two months lead time on a new book. they
now have a 10 day turn around for reprints so that is good news, but on new titles, the
bigger the window the better.

#3 for SWAG. Post Cards Business cards, Flyers & such
you have to invest generously in free stuff! Every one loves Free stuff. Convention Swag is a tradition and one of the best ways to get your message across to attendees with a hope for future business. Also Banners! you gotta have Banners and is the BEST source for all this, and FAST!!! It is usually just a 4-5 day turn around for me. 500 post cards 3.5x5.5 run around $12.00 bucks! with full color front & Black & white Back. a 4'x5' Banner in the neighborhood of $34. Full color glossy reinforced vinyl!

#4 MORE STUFF! Buttons, Magnets, Coffee mugs, Etc.
For this I gotta sing Zazzles praises! Keep watch on their 4 hour specials. I've takes advantage of a 50% off mug sale, and a 50%off Magnet sale. Excellent quality. and making a 50% profit aint bad either. You just need to be diligent and watch for the specials.
For buttons I'm trying Busy Beaver Buttons. Reasonable prices and I've heard good quality.
It always helps to have tie ins to your books and why not take advantage of these?

#5 All the other stuff.
You will need:
❶ A cash box... with cash for change.
❷ Receipt book. I'm taking a couple with carbonized pages. Important for record keeping!
❸ Display materials. I purchased clear lucite 8x11 displayers from Office Max for $7.99 each.
this will allow you to display your wares vertically, perhaps setting on a pile of the sale copies.
❹ A folding dolly. I got a great one called a Magna cart for $21.98 at Sam's Club.
❺ A way to display your Banners. I'm experimenting with a rather inexpensive PVC pipe
system. (Working at a hardware store these things come to you.) It is lite, CHEEP! and
very portable. Hope it works.
❻ All the other stuff your bound to forget.

#6 self run prints, limited, exclusive editions, signed by you the artist.
This is something that I hope works out. Provided that you get good results from your printer.I have a wide format hp office jet K8600. I can print up to 13"x19" border-less prints. A pack of 20, 13x19 high gloss photo paper from office max ran $34@ and many prints this size go for
around $20-$40 at these cons, so if you pick a few of your BEST work to print out & personalize for potential patrons, and smaller 8x10's for $5.00 you might just have a little more revenue to make up for your expenses. Think of doing a special design that you will limit and sell only at said event. WonderCon special. Just might get some attention.

At any rate, these are just a few of the things that I have taken into consideration in my preparing for this event. If you are planning on attending WonderCon 2011 I do hope you will stop by Small Press area #14 and say hello!

See you at the show!


  1. Looking good, Sam!
    Great post on setting up for a show. I've heard advice on this on this before, but I hadn't seen it put together so well like this.
    Best of luck!

  2. Thank you Jose! I will be recording a much of the events as posable.