Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

I'm going to be a first-time exhibitor. Does anyone have advice?
JLG at 4:16AM, Feb. 21, 2010
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I'm going to have a booth at the MoCCA convention NYC on April 10th. I've never done this before, and I need to start preparing now. Thing is, I'm not completely sure what the best plan would be. I've had this weekly strip since November ‘08, so that’s 68 strips so far. One idea is to take everything I have up to this point, plus some extra stuff, and make that into a little book. But I've wondered if that's throwing too large a percentage of what I've got out there in one go, since the whole point is to get people to follow you around, so to speak. Maybe it would be smarter to take a very small number of those 68 strips and make it a mini booklet? I just don't know.

If anyone has any suggestions based on experience, plus any other tips based on the material I have (for anyone who's seen it!), I'd be very grateful for the advice.

(NOTE: I apologize for posting this same topic in two different forums—it's also in “conventions”—but I wasn't sure if that one got as much traffic as this one.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
Darth Mongoose at 6:17AM, Feb. 21, 2010
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It depends on whether you're giving the books out for free or selling them.

If you're giving them out free as a taster, pick out say 10-20 of your best strips, or, if there's a narrative, 10-20 strips that can be read in a nice, self-contained chunk. This will give people an idea about your comic and tempt them to give it a go. Make sure the URL is there nice and visible.
Other things I've seen that have been very successful in my experience in small press include posters, mini posters or printing out individual strips with the URL and title on. If it's funny or cool, people will pick it up to put on their wall or check out later. I've seen printed single strips work really well with gag strips, while with story comics, a good poster or teaser bookmark works wonders.

If you're selling the books, put everything in there. Let people get a nice chunk of comic for their money and have it act as a ‘catch up’. Most webcomic readers like to buy the books either for rereading or for catching up with the archive, because reading on paper is faster and more comfortable than the screen.

Don't sell yourself short. Considering the overall quality of your work, I think people would pay for a collection of all the comics you've done so far bound with a nice colour cover. If you're doing it just as a free advertisement, don't go overboard!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
JLG at 9:02PM, Feb. 21, 2010
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Darth, thank you very much for the advice. (And the kind words!) You convinced me. I'll go the whole hog, provided it's not TOO beyond my budget. I'm looking into Lulu.com to get started. Better start conjuring up a poster or teaser stand-alones, too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
Darth Mongoose at 1:35AM, Feb. 22, 2010
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JLG
I'm looking into Lulu.com to get started.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
Don't! They are terrible value and their printing quality isn't even very good! I strongly recommend looking for a good printer in your local area or a different online one. There are loads of printing sites out there, I'm afraid I'm in the UK, so couldn't recommend any, but check out the relevant section of this forum for advice.
What you want ideally is a company who'll allow you to do a short run of maybe 100 comics at a unit price that'll allow you to sell them for $5-10 (I'm sorry, I have no idea what the exchange rate is right now, but for over 80 pages in black and white with a colour cover I'd expect to pay in the region of 3-5 pounds) or so and still make a small profit.

Best of luck at the con!
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
JLG at 8:31PM, Feb. 22, 2010
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posts: 117
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Whoa, thanks. I had figured if Lulu was good enough for the likes of D.C. Simpson (Ozy and Millie) then it should be okay, but now I'll look around a bit more.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
Darth Mongoose at 4:06AM, Feb. 23, 2010
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posts: 488
joined: 1-7-2006
JLG
Whoa, thanks. I had figured if Lulu was good enough for the likes of D.C. Simpson (Ozy and Millie) then it should be okay, but now I'll look around a bit more.

The advantage of Lulu is that they act as an online shop for your books as well. This is very handy if you are short on time or lazy and you're only selling your books online. Generally though, if you're selling them in person at a con, they're really not the best deal, and if you're selling online, you can save a lot of money by running your own online shop and posting them off yourself if you can spare the time involved to do it. Lulu is the printing equivalent of a convenience store. You pay higher prices for the convenience, or you can go further afield, spend more time and effort and pay less.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM

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