Monday, June 8, 2009

The Business of Going to Conventions

I have been going to comic book & gaming conventions since I was 15 or 16 years old living in Connecticut. I started with the local conventions; basically anywhere I could drive to or take the train to. When I went to college in Baltimore, afyer I finished and started working for Comic Values Monthly I went to more and more conventions for fun and business. But now with LPJ Design, when I go to a convection it is always about business. I am looking to talk to the professional writers there, looking at new artists and seeing new products. Going to convention can be a LONG and TIRING experience as just someone walking around as a fan, if you exhibiting there, it is many times worse. But I have come with ideas and information that will help you stay ahead of the curve and look more professional while doing it.

First off if you are going to do to conventions right, then you need to get How to Make Webcomics written by by Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, Dave Kellett and Brad Guigar. Read chapter 11: Conventions (Page 158) and this will give you a lot of information on what you need to do and what you should bring. Rather that tell you what they will tell you in the book (Go get it, it is REALLY worth its weight in gold), I will tell you where you can get the sale materials that you will place at your booth. The best company I have seen and used so far for printing marketing material is Clubflyers.com. Clubflyers.com is a great service if you don’t have that much money (1,000 business cards ) or if you don’t have any money (500 Free 4x6 postcards). Most of their turnaround time on a project is 3 business days (normally within 72 hours) and if you are wondering about shipping then take a look at the shipping FAQ page. Now if you are using the LPJ Design “Starter Set method”, here is what you will need for a 10x10 convention booth:
  • Full color 4x6 feet Vinyl Banner: $96.75 US (This one goes in front of your booth as a table banner)
  • (2) Full color 2x6 feet Vinyl banners: $97.50 US (These two go inside you booth as vertical banners)
  • 5,000 Full color, double sided 8.5x11 inch catalog sheets: $325.75 US (You can place information about products on these. You will not giveaway 5,000 sheets at a normal convention more like many 1,000. But now you don’t have to get any more made for your next few conventions.)
  • 1,000 Full color Business Cards: $29.99 US (Same info as the catalog sheet. You can get 5,000 though for $69.99 US)
  • 5,000 Full color 4x6 inch Postcards: $139.99 US (Same info as the catalog sheet.)
  • 500 Full color 4x6 inch Postcards: FREE (You do these to promote something very special like a special discount on a particular product or an exclusive item they can only get with this card.)
  • GRAND TOTAL: $689.98 US
Now if you have some “extra” money laying around, you can always add these:
  • 1,000 Full color 9x12 inch Presentation Folder: $1,200.75 US (You can place all the above items in the folder. Very classy!)
  • 5,000 Full color 12x18 inch Posters: $425.75 (Single sided only)

As you can see the LPJ Design “Starter Set method” should give you enough supplies to last 3 to 5 conventions realistically. Like I said, follow what How to Make Webcomics tells you and use Clubflyers.com and you should be off to a better start at conventions then most people out there. Talk to you later…