10 February 2019
One of my favourite small-press folk, zinester and former pop musician Raechel Leigh Carter asked Twitter the following question regarding how to approach people at conventions.
@tinynoggin #smallpress #zines #comics people - can I ask, when you’re tabling what is your approach to selling? I’m not v good at it because I don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by talking to them in case they don’t want to engage. What works best? Any advice much appreciated
I thought I'd just repost my answers here, in case anyone else is interested.
My stock opener is some kind of variation on "How's your day going?/How are you finding the show?" followed up with an invitation to "Feel free to have a look thru anything you like" If they then stop at a particular book I then give em a quick hopefully amusing little pitch line - "Think Only Fools And Horses but with more immigrants!"
If they laugh/smile or look like they get the pop-culture references then I go into a bit more detail and maybe steer them to my portfolio to look at the original comic pages. If they make comics themselves then the craft conversation is always a good one to have.
As for feeling uncomfortable about trying to engage people the thing I reckon is EVERYONE at the con has come to at least look at if not buy comics and engaging with creators has got to be the biggest draw of being at a con over buying from a creator's website or finding someone on Etsy.
If they don't want to engage/don't like the look of your work (eejits!) then they'll just respond with a hi or thanks and shuffle off to the next table with a pained polite smile on their lips, no biggie. I can't think of a single time I've made a sale because the person felt obliged to buy!
Two last thoughts:
I always try to make the interaction about them, what do they like, what are they reading and then go from there - Iost count of the number of times I've ended up chatting for a good while about somebody's animation project or their MA & not sold em a thing!
Have as much variety of product and range of price points on your table as you can. If someone does feel "obliged" to buy something - or rather wants to support you just can't afford so much then they can happily bung you 50p for a badge or stickerpack etc. Similarly the person who isn't vibing your book that much may very well love your prints or stickers or may decide to get a postcard to send to a friend, etc.