Hey all! So this is the week of the AWESOME New York City Comic Con, and to get geared up for it, here’s a three part post on how to prepare to sell your work, your brand, and yourself at a convention! This post is geared mostly towards exhibitors, production houses, small presses, and professionals, but there are some tips for other folks too!
Sell & Promote Your Work and Selling Your Brand
I’m a firm believer in appealing to the five senses, which means colors, sounds, smells, and more. Comic cons can get very crowded and crazy, and you want your work and your booth to stand out as much as possible. Here’s a list of things you’ll need to sell your work, whether you’re selling books, comics, graphic novels, video games or more!
1. COPIES OF YOUR WORK! If you are an exhibitor, you are most likely selling your work. If you are conference-goer, you are more likely either shopping or promoting your work. (People are less likely to buy from roamers than they are from established static booths, by the way.) If you’re a novelist and professional exhibitor, I suggest bringing about 100 copies of your book . If you have more than one novel out, maybe you want to bring 20-50 copies of each to light up your exhibition. If you are a comic writer, since comics are smaller, you can obviously bring more copies! The decision is up to you. If you aren’t a professional exhibitor, then you might want to bring a book bag with you to carry a few copies or so of your work. This is just in case you strike up a convo with someone at a booth or at a panel and they’re so interested in your work that they request a copy.
2. POSTERS and a POSTER FLIP BOOK: Posters should be strictly for sale, mainly because they are a bit costly to produce. But they are essential for your booth, and you should hang a few up for people to look at. Posters are designed to attract because they are larger and more colorful and people love graphics (it’s a comics convention after all). If you have say, 10 different kinds of posters to sell, then you might want to have about 20 copies of each in a bin. You should also have a couple of poster flip books. A poster flip book is an 8.5 x 11 sized book containing smaller versions of the posters, which makes it easier for folks to browse and choose what they want.
3. TWO LICENSING BOOKS: a digital version and a hardcopy version. A licensing book is an in-depth book of everything your company, brand, and work is about. You should have your label / logo, your mission statement, a listing of your products, and maybe a short summary of where your company is headed in the next few years. It should also probably have the key bios of the major people who work at your company (like a bio of the Founder or of any long standing artists or writers). You should also have sections that detail the aspects of each intellectual property you own. For example, my intellectual property is “The Books of Ezekiel”. For this property, I should have my character sketches, character concepts, and bios (including special abilities and more). I should also have a description of the fantasy world, including a detailed description and artwork of the Guilds; a description and concept art for the four civilizations that appear in BOE; a guide to the languages that I’ve created for the world; and if possible, a copy of the book cover and blurb for each novel that exists in the Books of Ezekiel series. Try to keep your licensing book up-to-date. If you like, give “sneak peeks” of what is to come as well.
TIP: Don’t give away too much in your book! Small sneak peeks is the key word. You want to inspire wonder and curiosity, not plagiarism, lol. One key to a great licensing book, though, is LOTS of concept art and great blurbs. As your world grows and your characters change and events happen, that particular chapter for your licensing book will reflect that. This should be an iterative process you undertake for EACH property you have going on. Also, make sure your book is organized. For the NYCC of 2014, Rebel Ragdoll’s licensing book will have four major sections: digital and print work, film and tv, web series, and video games. The Books of Ezekiel will be included in the digital / print category. And so on and so forth.
4. BUSINESS CARDS: business cards that are double-sided, bright, glossy, and colorful, are always a great way to promote your work and yourself at the same time. I’d say to save these cards for actual business contacts who want to procure you for services, or are interested in taking your current professional conversation further. If you want to give a colorful advertisement to these pros OR to potential buyers and customers who want to know more about your work, then you should probably have…
5. POSTCARDS: These are just a bigger version of your business card, except you would have the covers or illustrations of your work on both sides with your contact information. You ESPECIALLY want to include your email and web address. NOTE: Only give postcards out to people stopping by your booth, not for those just passing through. Postcards are an expense, especially the nice ones, and you want to make sure you use them on folks who are genuinely interested in your work. For the other 80% of convention goers, giving them an awesome black-and-white graphic flyer should do the trick.
TIP: For the professionals and licensors who want to talk to you, you can double up by giving them a business card AND a postcard paper-clipped together. Just make sure that the graphics on your business card are different than the graphics on your postcard. (You should have at least two kinds of postcards). You want to give the pros and the licensors a unique experience with each piece of material they take from you, and you want to pique their interest in your art and in your work.
So this is all for the “Sell and Promote Your Work” section in my three part “Preparing for a Comic Convention” blog series. There will be more tips on selling and promoting work, yourself, and your brand coming up in a few days! So tell me, what do you do to prepare for a convention? List your tips below, and in the meantime…
Keep it indie, and remember, dolls set the trend! (And ENJOY NYCC!)