I realise now that I should treat trips to conventions like holidays. Go and have fun and don’t stress about making money. But, make the effort to learn from everyone and your mistakes. Trust me, you will lean not to do certain things and to try everything at least ten times to test it out.
Take lots of photos and post it everywhere with every hashtag needed to connect it all up with the main event. Flood social media with it all. Most people won’t realise what you’re doing because they will either not see every single post, or they will scroll by until something catches their eye so don’t worry that you’re being annoying. You’re not, you’re only annoying yourself.
Increase newsletter subscribers with a raffle. “Sign up for the chance to win this cute dragon,” was my sales pitch.
Practice talking to everyone. Being a creative was meant to take me out of the public’s way, but I don’t have an ace team of marketers dealing with people for me, so I’ve had to learn how to pimp myself out. “Hi, having a nice day?” is a great way to start a conversation. And test out different sales pitches. My “Beta is a sci-fi and is like Sword Art Online,” sold more than my description of Blair. “Fantasy adventure, girl goes through a portal to another world and everyone is trying to kill her.” That sounds pathetic. I played around and I’m still not happy, but people looked more interested as they listened to my pitch. Will have to work on that.
Chat with your neighbours. Find common ground and run with it. I was lucky enough to end up beside someone awesome and we had some weird and yet amazing conversations.
Try changing your table’s layout. Spread out, group similar things together. Consider diversifying into things that are more visual and eye catching.
Don’t become bored. Write, draw, chat, do needle work. Avoid social media for two reasons; it looks like you don’t care. And it sucks the battery dry which is terrible if you need the camera on your phone to take a phot of a cosplayer or someone that you meet who could be a good contact to have.
The difference between books and art is huge. Art is visual, it catches the eye immediately and a customer will make a snap decision to purchase it. Books require more time to read the blurb, talk to the stall holder, and decide if they want to invest. Because of that, you won’t sell as many books as an artist will sell pictures. But, you will develop a relationship with those few and they’re more likely to look you up online if they like your story.
Art is impulsive and not many will stand around and have an in depth conversation about the character in the fan art, so it isn’t as focused on developing those relationships and people are less likely to return for more. Which is unfortunate because art is awesome!
My GAMMA Con stats;
Books sold – 13
Newsletter sign ups – 21
Success? I’m not sure. Day one I was bored and disheartened because I was expecting more (I’m an idiot), but I did get to meet a lot of people and have some great conversations, including Andy Trieu from SBS PopAsia (though he got my name wrong in his tweet). Day two was better, more relaxed, a few more sales, and fun. I guess it depends on the attitude you bring to the weekend.