Well, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised (make that ECSTATICALLY surprised) at the wonderful turn-out at this year’s Philadelphia Wizard World Comic Con. Especially compared the the last couple years, it was amazing. It’s like the fans just came out of the woodwork, Saturday being the most crowded I have ever seen a comic con. At one point on Saturday I tried to leave for a second to get some much-needed coffee from Reading Terminal Market.. but when I saw the INSANE line flooding in (very very slowly), I gave up and bought a smoothie from a con vendor instead. Even Friday and Sunday, fans were there, and spending! Hey, maybe the economy IS turning around, huh?

So, how about some new Tips & Tricks I picked up?

Some bullet points:

  • I said it before, and I’ll say it again: FREEBIES. Candy works too, in a pinch.
  • Even if it’s ungodly HOT outside, it may not be inside the convention center. In fact, it may be freezing. Like, REALLY cold. Bring a jacket, even if you feel dumb.
  • This one is compliments of my Table Neighbor Mr. Brad Guigar. Most fans do pay in cash, but it’s helpful to be able to take credit cards as well. That can be pricey, but if you have an iphone there’s an easy way to get around that (to an extent). It’s the app called “square”. You download it (FOR FREE), and sign up online to have the swiper attachment mailed to you (FOR FREE). Where they get you is by taking a percentage of every charge, usually under 3%. Hey, if it means a sale vs no sale.. I’ll gladly give up 3%.
  • Speaking of iphones, they and iPads are super helpful at cons. Some ideas:
  • A Live Photo Blog like I created, using the WordPress app and the camera. Post as you shoot!
  • Twitter about your experience, post pics of commissions or your fans! I use EchoFon.
  • The Maps app helps you find parking, or a coffee shop nearby, or a print shop if you need copies of your fliers.
  • Fun apps like UrbanSpoon gives you suggestions of where to go our for dinner after a long day of promoting your comics!
  • Easy access to your email allows you to add new contacts and network!
  • You never can tell how many books you’ll need. Last time I brought way too many, and only sold a few. This time I figured I had enough (more than double what I sold last time), but I was SOLD OUT by Saturday evening. If you can afford to order more and bring them, do so.. but after a few cons you’ll have a better idea of how many is a good number.
  • If you do run out of books, have an order sheet ready. Keep 1 copy of your book for display (for people to page through), and if they’re interested, they can pay you in advance, and jot down their address and other contact info. Once your next shipment comes in, you can send them their book! I also offered the same “Con Special” price on the order form… $5 cheaper than buying it online (no S&H). It entices people to buy it then and there instead of waiting.
  • If you have an email newsletter(webcomic updates) that you send to your readers, have a list on your table for people to sign up. This is even better than freebies like bookmarks because you will have direct connection to them via the email updates… so you do not have to count on them finding the bookmark, taking it to a computer, and looking up your site.

Now, for some new friends:

These are the awesome new people I met this past weekend. Some are established comic creators and cartoonists, others are just starting out. I wanted to give them all a little link-love for checking out Z&F, so help repay them by checking THEM out! In no particular order:

Joshua Pilch of Redonkulus

Gary Regec Jr. of Planet of the Baked

Joshua Winthrop of Heroes of Crash

Ian & Dan of Bag and Bored

Lonnie Martin of Ningen Manga Productions

Sane or N’Sane

An old college bud Doug and his podcast “Pop Tards”

Last but not least, the guy I ended up unconsciously blankly staring at across the way from my table for half the con, Shawn Harbin. You’ll know him from the picture I took.. the guy waving at me from across the way. Yeah.

And of Course the Photos!

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