I love a good convention! So here are my convention tips. Norcon is our local one, and it’s been great seeing that one go from strength to strength. But we’ve been going to other events in the country, as have the artists on our team. This has meant we’ve had experience with what to do at a convention (a lot of it from trial and error), so we decided to give you a few tips to help you.
Have someone with you (if you can)
This first convention trip is more of a practical issue. At some point you’ll need a break, and it helps to have someone who can look after the stand while you’re gone without asking someone to cover for you.
Have enough change
Can’t stress this one enough- it’s practically a guarantee that someone will pay with a twenty on the first sale. Ideally you should price it in a way that discourages this (eg bundles for a fiver/tenner) but make sure you have at least £25 in change.
Have a good setup
I am lucky in that when I’ve been to cons I’ve worked with people who can keep things smartened up. Making sure you have the right cover, laying out items neatly and keeping food/rubbish underneath the table will keep everything looking well presented.
My advice is to keep it simple. Better to have a few items that people want rather than a lot of clutter (you can always have less on display and add more as you sell items through the day). Pricing wise it’s always a balance, making sure your costs are covered while at the same time not going overboard. A good way is to have a bundle price for multiple items, as well as smaller items like badges so people on a lower budget can have something.
Another key thing about a convention is getting people down to your stand. An attractive banner and layout will help, as well as a good location. (We were lucky at London MCM as we were next to the autograph section, and so got some decent traffic).
It also helps to be proactive- tell people where you are on social media, take pictures with people by your stand (if they want to) and keep it positive (not always easy, especially near the end of the day, which is why breaks are important to keep the energy up).
Don’t be afraid to walk around and talk to over stall owners as well- have flyers with you but don’t do direct flyering as conventions can be very hard on this (check the rules of the event).
- Sweets- A bowl of sweets by your table is a great way to attract people to your table.
- Display copy/sample- Make sure people don’t mess stock you want to sell!
- Transport- This is usually around three weeks ahead of time. If you have a lot of stuff you may need to take a car, if so prepare to leave early to allow for delays. Public transport is a better option if you have less stuff as you can cut out issues regarding finding location etc.
- Accommodation- This can book up very fast so prepare as early as you can.
- Schedule- Do you have a signing or event you want to go to? Schedule in a break for it. Also if you can avoid a massive drinking session pre-event as it can be hard to keep up the enthusiasm throughout a weekend.
- Questions- If you’re not sure ask the organiser!
We do events throughout the year. As well as conventions like MCM and Norcon, we regularly attend networking events like Norwich Kitty and Norfolk Tweetup, and also created our own with our Reynard City Chronicles launch party at the Gin Temple. If you are interested in our packages find out more on our sponsorship page (we have some goodies lined up for current and future sponsors!)