It’s convention season!
When you work at a graphic novel publisher, you attend a lot of conventions and a lot of small-press shows. And you start to notice patterns – you get a sense of what works and what doesn’t work for the folks who have tables at a show like MoCCA or TCAF or Stumptown or what have you. So with that in mind, a few friendly tips for folks who might be new to the scene.
1) Be at your table! Or if you leave for lunch or a meeting or a walk, don’t just abandon it. Have a friend or neighbor attend your table for you, or failing that, leave a note saying when you’ll be back. Your biggest fan might come by the moment you step away. Don’t leave her hanging!
2) Have your name visible somewhere at your table. Why else are you at a show if not to promote and sell your work? You’re shooting yourself in the foot if you make it harder for someone to make note of you… and to make note of your name. Related: put your name on your mini comics… preferably on the cover or inside front cover but for the love of Pete, put your name on it SOMEWHERE.
3) Do your homework! Are you planning to step away from your table (leave a note!) to pitch your work to some publishers at the show? Find out ahead of time who’s going to be there. Visit their websites. Talk to anyone you know who knows anything about them. Read up on them. Check out their catalogs and backlists. Does your work seem like it matches their sensibility? Do they accept submissions or portfolio reviews at shows? Try to find out as much as you can ahead of time – it will distinguish you from your peers.
4) Everyone loves mini comics! Well, not everyone. But lots of people do. If you have a stack of minis that you can afford to give away, consider handing a few copies out to artists, writers, publishers, and other people you admire. Very few people will turn down a free story, and you never know when getting your work into the right hands will pay off. Just remember to put your name on it.