My 3rd comic con – The big one!

Following the previous comic conventions you’d be forgiven for thinking I should just give up. But every comic con is a learning experience and has something new to offer.

A few weeks ago I had a table in Artist Alley at the London Film & Comic Con at Olympia. Wow! It was manic! There were so many celebrities, a little bit of cosplay and I was surrounded by so many really impressive artists, writers and comic book creators.

A friend of mine, novelist Kevin Grover (writer of Dead Again, Fathers Song and others) came down to geek out and help me out on Friday and Sunday (thanks Kev). I also saw my friend from Comic Con News who creates his awesome walk through videos.

The venue is massive! Thousands of people attended over the 3 day event. I even got a little time to attend a symposium on story boarding with Mike Collins (Doctor Who, The Flash, justice league, uncanny X-Men, Superman, sherlock) and marketing with Paul Good enough (ceo of aerian studios, writer: the chimerean, dreamworks dragons). They were both so useful so I really appreciate those guys taking the time.

So, the Friday was pretty slow but that was expected. I’d already been informed of this by the guys and girls who’ve been doing this for several years. However, in that first day I matched the sales of the last two comic cons combined, so I was quite pleased.

Then on to Saturday. I was expecting some kind of crazy rush as the masses filled the arena but that didn’t really happen. It was busy. It was mega busy! But the number of people did not equate to a higher level interest, interaction or sales. This was true for others too, so I took a little comfort in knowing it wasn’t just me. I did however match my Fridays sales so it wasn’t all bad. The attendees were of course there to see their favourite stars, get pics with them and autographs. That seemed to be the main focus of the comic con. On Sunday it was even slower but I did 80% of my Saturday sales.

I’m still finding my feet when it comes to engaging with potential customers. I watched one of the creators spend the weekend actively encouraging passers by to come and take a look. He smiled a lot, he called out to people passing and he danced a little. He said he does find a few additional sales that way. I saw some creators simply sit with their head down while they draw. I think that’s fine too as long as you’re aware of people coming over for a look and are able to throw them a smile or a hello. One of the creators encouraged people to read their comic if they were looking and most people obliged. Personally, I had more success somewhere in between. I definitely achieved the majority of sales by interacting with the customer. However, initially I kept it brief to allow them to take a look. Some people approach and want to buy a comic book almost immediately. Others need to be convinced. So, I’d say hello, let them browse and then ask them what kind of comics they’re in to. I’d then tell them about The Brink. Most of my sales were achieved this way. The weird thing is, my table got more attention while Kev and I were busy inventing a new card game.

In summary, I broke even. Not good from a business perspective but I met more other great creators, had fun and had a little time to draw which I don’t get a lot of time for. I’ll leave you with one of my drawings.

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Steven Sweeney BSc(Hons), MSc

'The Brink' comic creator, author, Web developer and musician with 5 albums.