The Dos and Don'ts of Convention Tabling
I had thought about doing one of these for awhile. I've been tabling at shows for about six years, so this is after much trial and error. What do you think? Anything to add/subtract?
* Don't cover the whole table with dozens of copies of the same book, as it's perceived as having less value. This is especially true for variant covers.
* Have a reader's copy of each issue flipped open to a page you really like, so it's the first thing they see when they walk up. If you have a book that won't stay flipped open, hand it to them open to a favorite page. (Bookmarks help here.)
* Have your nametag standing at the front of the table so it's not obscured by books. You don't have a standing piece of cardboard with your name on it and whether you're a writer or artist, or both? Maybe even listing your most famous work? Get one.
* Elevate more. Check out my Facebook profile photo. (I put my nametag out right after this was taken, I swear.)
I have almost everything elevated and almost nothing stacked. I have nice condition versions of all issues in a row with bags and boards, and my other works stacked vertically next to them. When someone purchases one, I take it from the back of the table, sign it, hand it to them and give them a bag and board.
* The above is especially important if you have a variant cover with a cover price that's not what you want to sell it at, so you need to bag & board it to sticker a price on it.
* Sign with a cool looking but quick drying ink. This is one I recently learned. Nothing worse than having someone hang around for two minutes awkwardly waiting for their book to dry before they can bag and board it. Wait, there's one worse thing -- a smeared signature.
* Have a price list and a credit card sign, and use the Square or PayPal reader on your phone to take cards.
* Offer package deals for people that buy more than one comic at a time. My books are weird prices: $3 for #0, $3.50 for #1 and $6 for the #1 variant, but I was doing $10 for all three together. When I do my next signing on Wednesday I'll have #2 out, another $3.50 book, and can do $13 for the set.
* Have a five to 10-second pitch for your book when they walk up. Mine is: "Amala's Blade is the story of the world's greatest swordfighter -- just ask her!" Then I say, "It's got swords, romance, action, revenge, and a ghost monkey. Something for everyone."
* Banner stand, banner stand, banner stand. A horizontal one will do, but if you draw a crowd, walkers-by can't see it. The vertical ones help with this. Make sure your name is at the top of it and that it's advertising recent work that you're proud of, not just yourself. Most people won't know you from Adam.
I think that's about it. I sold 114 copies of Amala at ACen doing it this way and this is after a lot of great advice and trial and error. Good luck!