Oh, boy! You've gotten your art together and/or your original manga series! Now, it's time to take yourself to the next level and ACTUALLY MAKE SOME MONEY!!!! I've done this convention thing a couple of times myself. I've done otakon twice, awesome con, baltimore comic con, and even faerie con.
IT IS EXTREMELY FUN challenging yourself to sell products and meeting so many new people. However, it is EXTREMELY DIFFICULT TO GET ATTENTION AND SALES. This entry should give you a couple of things to think about as you pave the road which will be a full fledged art career.
1. PACK YOUR STUFF AWAY THE NIGHT BEFORE
Trust me! Get all your products and signs together the NIGHT before! The next morning you will be running around, trying to get showers, eat breakfasts, getting gas, and doing other things. The last thing you want is to get to your venue and then realize you left your major product at home. At least move all of your stuff next to your door. Some things to check off your list; change (some $1s, $5s, and coins), credit card reader for your phone (SO IMPORTANT!!), tape, your charger, receipt book, paper clips, and other things.
2. GET YOUR TABLE ASAP!!
Those tables go by extremely quick! Every aspiring artist and their moma wants a table at the conventions! This is even more important if you are going to a smaller convention like Faerie Con or something. The smaller conventions have lower priced tables. The lower the price, the quicker it will go!
3. GO IMMEDIATELY TO YOUR TABLE!
You need to get to your table immediately! Start setting up so you know exactly how you want to present everything. There is nothing more unprofessional than people waiting for you to get your shit together and you telling them to hold on you'll be done in a minute. If you have extra time, check your supplies. There are some supplies you might not have thought about. Take this time to also see who is around you and build friends. They may be able to help you when you're missing supplies in the heat of battle such as pens or tape or anything.
4. GO DEALER'S ROOM INSTEAD
If you have a good amount of artwork, you might want to set up in the Dealer's Room instead. People generally see the artist alley as a bunch of amateurs. The Dealer's Room is filled with industry professionals so people tend to see it as more of a professional setting. Having your work there instead subconsciously will make you seem more professional. This leads me to #5.
5. TALK TO EVERYONE!!!!
You never know what kind of valuable information you will get from other people or what kind of new friends you'll meet! Whether your near your table, walking around, or taking a piss (well maybe not the bathroom) TALK TO EVERYONE!! I can't tell you how many people I talked to and mentioned my table who became customers for me. Don't be afraid to speak with people!! The industry professionals actually are very friendly (which is why you might want to get into the dealer's room instead).
6. STOCK SMALL
This is a mistake that I made the 1st convention at Otakon. My thinking was "if there are over 30,000 people here! Surely pushing 200 copies of my original manga wouldn't be a problem!"WRONG. WRONG WRONG WRONG. It's going to take more than pretty artwork to make people stop and even look at your stuff or even buy it! So it's best to think small. Our next outing, we only brought 30 copies of the manga AND THEY SOLD OUT! You know how good it makes you feel when you get to tell people it's SOLD OUT! It triggers in their mind that they missed out on something extremely popular which leads me to my last point for this entry....
7. HAVE A FOLLOW UP
You sold out of our main product!?! WONDERFUL! But you still got more con LEFT! People are going to still want your products or want to stay connected for your future products. YOU'RE GOING TO WANT THIS AS WELL!! So, make sure you have business cards with your e-mail, a website, amazon store, twitter, instagram...ANYTHING THAT CAN LINK THEM TO YOU!! This simple fact is one that I ignored so many times and then I would wonder like a dumb ass why I wasn't getting any traction from all the work I was doing. You need a follow up so you can stay fresh in people's mind.
There are even more tips I want to give, but this is getting kind of long!! lol I will be making another list of tips shortly to go with this one so comeback shortly!