Preparing for a convention Part 2

So last week, I talked about mental prep, this week I am going to talk about they physical prep and packing list.

While some people bring all the inventory they can carry, there is a few reasons not to do that.
1) It might get damaged –and no one wants anything that is not in mint condition at a Comic Con. If the corner is dinged or the cover is scratched, the book is now unsalable.
No one wants to buy a wrinkled t-shirt or a torn poster either.

2) It might get stolen. I have never had a problem with this but I have heard the horror stories.

3) If you are flying, you need to carry it on the airplane or ship it ahead. This gets expensive. And worse, you end up with a lot of inventory at the end, you also have to ship it back. Ouch!

Bring what you think you can sell. Be conservative. 35 copies of each graphic novel title is a good number at a major convention; at a minor convention I sometimes only bring 10. I also have discs with digital copies of the graphic novels. I try to carry 25 of each title. 100 copies of each issue of pamphlets (comic books) Remember extra products: t-shirts, posters and mini buttons.

Marketing supplies: business cards, plus bookmarks, postcards, stickers, or whatever. This year, I am giving away sample chapters of Other Systems and Lure bookmarks.

Signage: Banners, price cards, a printed out bio.

Table clothes: I use forest green Queen sized sheets. I like sheets because then I can fold them over after-hours and hide my inventory.  Maria has them pressed once a year or before any major convention.

Easels, lifts, and literature stands: for displaying the books, posters, discs, etc.

Bags: I carry 50 green plastic bags to be given to customers.

Cooler: filled with grapes, bananas, string cheese, cookies, pb&j sandwiches.  A 24 pack of bottled water, juices. Always have liquid in your booth, it is easy to lose one’s voice at a convention.

Supply Stash: I have a small Rubbermaid set of drawers that holds: breath-mints, first aid kit, lip balm, nail clippers, hair brush, tooth-brush, pens, tape, stapler, Tally sheets for sales. I personally like to do a separate one for each day.

Money sack or box: Whatever you want to use. At least $100 in small bills–$1’s and $5’s plus any change you might need. (For books, we tend to run show specials so we don’t need coins.) I now run credit card sales with my laptop, but I used to have an old school knuckle-buster.

Costumes and clothing: Depending on the convention sometimes we dress up as elves, but I also  have  a clean flattering outfit for each day of the con. Generally a skirt for Friday and Saturday, jeans and a cute top for Thursday and Sunday. Unless you have a costume or company t-shirt, dress in business casual. If you look like a slob, people do not really want to approach you. Cute but comfortable shoes. Accessories must also be comfortable and not obtrusive. A ten hour day of non-stop talking and sketching is the last place you want to be uncomfortable.

Anti-stress floor tiles: I have enough to cover all of a 10 x 10 booth. Not only is it great for us, but it helps keep the inventory clean. Best $100 I ever spent.

So as you can see there is a lot of preparation that goes into having a good convention, I hope this is helpful for everyone.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Shelley Towns on February 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    This is an awesome list about prep for conventions! Your suggestions about the anti-stress floor tiles is such a good tip. I’d also add that having an appealing booth is essential to get results. There are some awesome companies out there (like ) that make really cool trade booth items. Hope this helps!


    • Yes, people should be concerned to create attractive displays. (That can be a whole other blog post.) In my opinion, the most important thing for new exhibitors on a budget, is a nice standard sized banner with book art (and appropriate banner stand) to hang behind your table and readable signage.


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