If you're a fantasy or science fiction artist, it can be tough to find a way to make enough sales to get your fledgling business off the ground. Comic and pop culture conventions are a great way to not only make some money but also to build a core audience. But in order to be successful at conventions, you need to know how to sell your work correctly. Here are 4 tips for even the newest artist on the convention circuit.
Know the Conventions. Not all comic conventions are created equal. While they all have some things in common, each convention has a different "feel" to it -- and often a different focus. Some are very artist-friendly and have a lot of independent writers and publishers. Others are more focused on costuming or on big studio involvement. To make better sales, learn what conventions are friendlier to your type of books or art and focus your money and energy on these -- even if they're not the most convenient.
Engage the Audience. As convention attendees make the rounds through the dealers' rooms or exhibition halls, they expect more interaction than they used to. To draw them in, get out from behind your booth, chat with passersby and have a few prepared anecdotes about your work. Listen to customers' own stories and show them you're a fellow fan. Make friendly eye contact and smile. Offer some token piece of your art -- a postcard, magnet or key chain, for example -- as an ice breaker. Take advantage of slow traffic or people taking photos by striking up a short conversation -- each time with an eye to building a rapport with at least one potential new customer.
Think About Your Booth. No one expects an immaculate artist's booth -- in fact, it might seem like you don't do the work yourself -- but that doesn't mean you should be presenting a mess either. Your booth or table is the potential customer's first impression, so make it a good one. Have art pieces arranged to easily catch people's eyes -- below eye level, at eye level and even above it. Clearly price the items for sale so that customers can avoid awkward money conversations. And avoid stacks of art, instead placing it in easily-browsed displays.
Bring a Variety. Comic conventions draw people from every point in the financial and commitment spectrum. For this reason, you should have artwork and books available at many different price points to appeal to more folks. Your centerpiece might be a self-published graphic novel or some gorgeous piece of original artwork, but try to complement that with lower-priced items like small prints, hand-drawn cartoons or fun buttons. Even if you don't make a fortune on every sale, each one is an opportunity to create a fan.
By knowing how to market yourself and your work at a pop culture convention, you can turn your passion and hobby into a money-making enterprise -- no matter how small your beginnings might be. Contact a business, such as Meet Chicago Northwest, for more information.