In my last article, I talked about various kinds of Table Displays for your first convention as well as revealing mistakes I had made with my first con. Today I will continue talking about preparing for your first convention, and I’ll focus on support items for your table like business cards and hand outs.
DO I NEED TO PRINT BUSINESS CARDS TO GIVE TO PEOPLE?
If you would have asked me this a year ago I would have told you yes you do, why that’s a silly question! Over the last few months, however, my attitude has completely changed on this subject.
Why, you ask? Simple, I wasn’t seeing a return on my investment in those cards.
I would get 100 cards printed at a time, and on average they would be 11 cents a piece. (I always went for the quality.) As you can see in the photo, I’ve gone through three variations, tweaking each one as I went and refined the text on them. At conventions, I would get a lot of people who would stop by my table and take one, to “check my stuff out later” as they would say, and that would be it. No sales ever came from anyone who took a card. They were clearly just collecting cards that most likely would be thrown away later anyway.
How do I know I didn’t get any sales from a business card? Well, sadly one of the parts of my comic “career” is that I struggle with online sales. I can tell you that in the last year and a half of selling my merch, I’ve only had two online sales, and they were to friends of mine. So, in this particular case, I was quite the authority on knowing that if 30 people walked away with business cards at a convention, that was a loss of $3 or so for me. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but it does add up over time. It was losing me money, so now I only give cards out to people who buy my stuff.
WHAT DO YOU USE INSTEAD?
I went the tried and true route of photo copies. One thing my business cards lacked was a description of what the comic was about. With these new promo strips, I had the comic name, my name, a description of the comic, and the website. Now if someone wants to take one home, they would have access to the most important selling points I want to get across to them, even if all they plan to do was throw it away. At least now it costs me virtually nothing to produce, so I’m not out nearly as much as I was before. Back at conventions, I found that I had the same amount of people taking these strips as they did with the business cards, so the low tech approach didn’t get in the way.
OTHER IDEAS FOR HANDOUTS
If you have the money to give away full or half sheets of paper, you can go one step further and include things like short descriptions (with pics) of each of the cast of characters from your comic. You can add review blurbs (if you are so fortunate to get a review), or an actual episode from your comic as a teaser. Remember this piece of paper, no matter what the size, is promotional material for your work! You need to figure out what makes your comic sell and promote on those points to entice people to check your work out and buy it.
In the next article, I will discuss one thing I failed to mention a couple weeks ago about getting your comic ready for print. I’m talking about making a physical mockup of your comic before you send it to print! (Yes, exciting stuff?) Stay tuned!
Prepping for your first convention – Business cards and handouts by Todd Tevlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.