London comic mart – first event of the year

I attended the London Comic Mart on 20th February. The first thing I noticed, I was the only indie comic creator there. It was filled with comic book and merchandise dealers. The second thing I noticed, I was placed in a small room right at the back of the venue. There were six dealers in the room but the location undoubtedly meant less footfall. What’s up with that?

Anyway, I always look for opportunities in these situations. I met a dealer who will be opening a comic book store in Watford this year and he was looking for creators who might want to get involved in activities at the store. Of course I’m up for that! I have a potential review from another dealer so hopefully that happens. I was also told about other conventions that I might be interested in. So all was not lost.

I recently read an article about increasing awareness and attracting followers by offering something for free. So, on this occasion I offered a freebie. Attendees could have issue 1 for free. At first it didn’t seem to work at all, as if no-one wanted a freebie and some people looked on with suspicion. However, business did pick up. A few people admitted they were attracted by the word ‘free’ but others said they weren’t in to the genre and did not take a comic. I thought that was very honest of people. One guy paid £1 because he was a comic book writer himself and felt bad taking a comic for free so kudos to him!

Overall, it was a low key, low attendance event. The weather did not help but at the end of the event one of the organisers spoke to everyone, asked how it went and if I’d like to book the next event. I thought that was a nice touch. I just about broke even. I would get myself a table at the next event, but the next event is on Mother’s Day and I’m not sure that would go down well! I’ll continue to give these events a go and see where it takes me.

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Steven Sweeney BSc(Hons), MSc

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