Meant to post this yesterday but sure then I mean to post more regular as it is and that never works out.
So, Sunday was the final day of Dublin Comic Con 2015 and I didn't exactly have a lot of stock to get rid of. This made for a hilarious but interesting day on my part.
I rocked in slightly later than the day before and actual bet my stall buddy to our spot. Mr. Larsen had decided that the pair of us where no longer worth sitting near and had shifted desk over to a much better spot. To be fair who could blame him, all myself and the stall buddy did the day before was joke around. Anyway as I set up I found an extra copy of "The Impossible Vicitm".
Seven books just suddenly became eight. Now I had more to work with. Except not really. The day started off a little different to Saturday. Maybe it was because as I arrived the doors where open for the general public, whereas on Saturday I had shown up for the VIP ticket holders. Anyway straight away I had some customers come fishing around. They bought the pair of books and carried on their merry way very happy with the purchase. So far, so good. Not long after a group of friends, I'd say in their mid-twenties, walked past the desk. One of them came over, had a chat with me about the books, read the first chapter of each, then bought both. Straight away his buddy and girlfriend came over. I didn't even have to try the sales pitch with the friend, he just took both and was on his way. However the girlfriend made me hit my stock speed bump.
She also wanted both books.
Here I had a sure fire sale, but only half of the merch that was being asked and no real way to fix it. That is until I brought out the business cards.
See coming up to the con myself and the lady friend had thought up of little gimmicks that might work at the stall. One of them was printing business cards for Filthy Henry but instead of a logo stick on a QR code that linked to the books. It worked a treat. People that didn't have cash, or had cash but would have liked it on Kindle instead, took the cards and went on their way. So I stuck a card into the book, explained situation to the lovely girl, and boom: sale.
Eventually, at around three in the afternoon, I got down to my final copy. A few jokey signs that suggested the purchase would come with a free hug secured the sale and I was done for the weekend.
Which brings us to more lessons learned from the con.
The curse of the male members of my family is that our neutral facial expression, as in default no muscles doing anything mode, is one which suggests "Piss off" would be better than "Approach for chit chat". This bit me over the weekend as I sat at the table and checked out some of the impressive costumes that were on show. A lady came over, didn't buy anything mind you, and just said "You don't look like you want to be here.". This led to me making a conscience effort all weekend to try and at least be smirking at the table.
My face actually hurt afterwards.
While obviously the lesson about stock is a big one, the other is that I need to have more things to sell. T-shirts were one suggested item, but they cost a pretty penny to get made up. However another suggestion was prints of the cover art. This can be done, at very little real cost, but people will buy them hand over fist even if they don't get the book at all. So next year that will be one thing I bring along, maybe even some bookmarks with Filthy Henry artwork on them.
The business cards where a great idea, but they lacked a few details. Namely that I have a facebook page for Filthy Henry and that one code was Kindle and the other was paperback. The cards are getting redesigned and will be back again next time.
Over the weekend you get a strange sense of having said the same words before. This is because you have said them before. Many times, in fact. One thing that I had done prior to the con was print up a few signs that explained who I was, what the series of books was about and what the deal at the table was. This helped out a lot as casual passers didn't have to come up to me and ask questions. They could decide at a glance. Which also cut down on the amount of interaction I had to do with people. Those who approached had decided themselves that they wanted more info on the book.
Next time I will be doing the same. The signs had some comedy on them as well, a fact that people mentioned liking when we started to chat, but it didn't have a lot of info on each book. Next year I will have pop up stands that explain things better.
Which brings me to...
Pop up stand
The lady friend is a dab had at public relations and mentioned that I should get a pop up stand for the stall. As they cost a few pennies and I wasn't sure if I was doing another con after this I decided to pass.
Nearly all the self published comics had them and they are eye-catchers. Next year I will have one as well.
Which means that, in summary, next year I should probably start planning for .
Today was the first day of Dublin Comic Con 2015 and my first time going to a convention full stop as a person selling stuff to the convention population. I wasn't really sure what to expect if I am being honest. I've been to cons in the past, game ones mainly, and last year attended Dublin Comic Con. So I at least knew about the costumes and the people with personalities buzzing with energy.
But as a person selling stuff: no idea.
As it happens I learned a few things at the con today.
So, as the lady friend will attest to, I am not the biggest believer in my own work. I don't know what it is and I have spoken about it before on The Bauble, but basically I am my own worst critic. This means that when it came to ordering stock for the con I was a glass half-empty kinda guy. "Nobody is going to buy my crap!" I declared to the lady friend after she suggested I get an order of one hundred books, fifty of each, for the con. After some conversations back and forth we agreed that maybe twenty five of each book would be better, safer even.
Turns out I should have gone with the first number. I walked into the convention centre today with fifty books to sell. At the end of the day I had seven to sell. With another day of the con to sit through. I mean...how daft was that. Turns out people will buy books from a nobody if they like the sound of the book. It turns out that if you have a good deal on the day, people will purchase it.
It turns out people actually do want to read stories about a fairy detective solving magical crime.
Lesson is over order the damn books for next year. What doesn't get sold can be stored for the next con.
Through a bunch of events I was solo at the stall today. Not that this was a huge deal for me, I generally can handle being on my onesie without any bother. Plus the years doing standup comedy have allowed me to develop a "talk to the wall" ability, handy when you need to take with a stranger or twenty.
But when I was going into the centre today I figured that having buddies with the other stall runners around me wouldn't be the dumbest thing in the world to do. Just turns out that the person beside me had the exact same idea. We hit it off fairly handy, joking back and forth. Sharing some tips on our various wares. Watching the gear and what not. To be honest it really did make the day go a lot quicker. During those moments of nobody standing at our table we just had some banter. If anyone reading this ever ends up running a stall at a convention of any sort, make buddies with the stall runners near you.
Great friendships have been forged over less.
Con Stall Rules
This isn't something set in stone, but it bears mention. The guy beside me had been at five conventions before today and over that time had come up with a list of rules. Now, these rules are more like the rules out of "Wedding Crashers", i.e. a random number was assigned to a sweeping statement. However the rules made a lot of sense. They were hilarious, sure, but still there was a nugget of logic behind each of them.
Erik Larsen is a gentleman
Last year there was only one person that I was bothered getting a John Hancock from. This year it was the same. It just turned out that the person I wanted to get something signed was sitting directly behind me. Without any bother to him at all he turned around and signed my comic, even though there was a line of people at his stall at the time. Then when he came back from lunch he stopped to talk with me and see how my day was going. This is a guy who founded Image Comics, talking to a ginger lad from Lucan.
I was interviewed twice during the day. The first time was for the radio and if you listen to Newstalk on Monday at around nine in the morning you might hear my Dublin tones infect your ears. The second time was by these people who are making a documentary about comic conventions in Ireland. What did I learn from these two events?
I need to get my shit together.
I waffled like it was going out of fashion. I have stood on stage in crowded pubs with strangers and rattled off jokes no bother. Yet when I am asked about a subject that I am a bloody subject master on, being that I invented the subject of Filthy Henry, I sound like a drunk who has learned English by accident. Next time I am going to have flash cards and just read off them.
Easier that way.
Overall though, as a first con selling my books, it couldn't have gone better. True I have only seven books to sell tomorrow but sure if I didn't then some of this entry wouldn't have been as entertaining to read .
As the bank holiday weekend draws to a close it signals the last weekend before Dublin Comic Con 2015 kicks off. A convention that I am going to be attending not just as a spectator but as a stall runner.
Things just just interesting.
My supply of both "Filthy Henry: The Fairy Detective" and "The Impossible Victim" were shipped to the office, a handy ten minute walk away from the convention centre where the DCC is going to be held this year. Along with the books I also have some Filthy Henry themed business cards that I will probably be dropping randomly around the convention centre as the day goes along.
Sure it's all a bit of fun at the end of the day right?
Site is acting a bit odd, I had the floor plan here but it won't load (even though it's in the Random folder in the gallery. Anyway I'm at table number 28 in the Artist Alley all weekend.
I've also gone ahead and gotten my Goodreads account updated to an Authors account. Turns out I can link the bauble and the Goodreads blog together, so type once publish many.
If I ain't the laziest author around the blogsphere I don't know who is!
Also prepare for some spam live from the con floor next weekend.
After all I might got mad talking to myself otherwise