A Drive-By of ConnectiCon

The sci-fi and fantasy convention scene is one with which I am relatively unfamiliar. You would think with my gaming background, the number of friends I have who are into comics, and my media immersion, that I would have spent a lot of time flitting from convention to convention, but that's not the case.

On the spur of the moment, I decided I was going to jump in the car and head for Connecticut in order to take a look at ConnectiCon, not so much for entertainment purposes, but to research the setting for the sake of using as a possible sales venue for the Faith and Fantasy Alliance.  (If you're wondering what that is all about, it's still pretty undeveloped, but you can find the gist here: http://faithandfantasycon.wordpress.com/about/ )

It's interesting to view a fan event through the eyes of a potential vendor, that's for sure. One of the things I saw that was glaringly obvious: if you want to sell at a Con, you DON'T want to be in the artist/author's area. Talk about a bunch of folks with a huge buffer zone of no foot traffic around them, all looking bored or languidly surfing the internet on their phones. Shopping in the main vending area required maneuvers similar to body checking, whereas the artist tables offered the uncomfortable opportunity to be the only customer looking at the merchandise.

What I also noticed is that just about no vendor was selling just one type of merchandise. That underscores my estimation that to be successful at conventions, the Faith and Fantasy Alliance will need to offer more than books to snag buyers within con circles. Homeschool conventions and tables of just books are a happy marriage. To sell books in convention land, if I'm not a huge publisher that can have a 20 foot high display with fire and animatronics, will require some kind of eye candy for sale to draw folks to the table. Artwork and jewelry are my first choices of items I would hope to offer--preferably items that tie into the books we're selling.

The top three things it seemed to me a person needs to sell at a con are:

  • A flashy gimmick (Which will not be booth girls. Maybe people in very cool costumes, but not skimpy ones.)
  • Products that sell themselves over a lot of white noise
  • A display that says "I am not working from my garage or dining room table." Even if I am, I just can't  LOOK like I am.

Those will be the goals I will be adding to the list as I prepare to solicit merchandise from authors and artisans, so thet can be confident their work will be in a place that will be noticed.


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