This past weekend we were at San Fernando Valley Comic Con, and I wanted to do another live edition specifically about small cons. When people think of going to cons, they always think of big cons like San Diego or New York, but we build a lot of our business through smaller cons. These are cons that happen at local rec centers, community centers, or comic shops even.
The reason I love them personally is because they cost is so much less and thus the pressure is off. I don’t have to worry about outlaying $500+ for a table. The table fees are usually well under $100 for a table. Many of them are under $20, and if you do store signing you will probably find tables for free.
And that means you can do what you are there to do, which is build an audience, and talk to fans. Because there are not thousands of people walking through the hall you can have real conversations with your audience, and they build that know, like, trust with you much quicker. Do you get as many people, no. But it’s not always about quantity. It can be about quality too.
Additionally, you don’t have to fight with hundreds of other vendors doing the exact same things as you. At these smaller cons you are usually one of a couple, if not the only person there doing what you do. So people what want your kind of work are more likely to buy from you.
There are also less celebrities and other big name people at these cons, so you don’t have to fight with them for your customer’s precious money. Speaking of money, it’s also much cheaper (if not free) to attend these cons meaning the people there have more money to spend on the vendors.
Small cons are a great way to build your chops and your brand. If you fail at these small cons, there is much less worry than failing at a big one. And you need to fail a lot before you can get good. So the more cons your do on a small level, the better.
First we talked to Daniel De Sosa, who I actually met at San Fernando Valley Comic Con in November. He’s a great guy who’s been conning forever. Super talented too. You can find him at backwardsburd.com and by searching for desosaink on facebook and Instagram.
Then we talked to Lenny Romero, and awesome artist at only his fifth con, so it was great to see how these small cons were helping him. You can find him on instagram @lenzations.
Third, we talked to Steve Waldinger. Steve didn’t have much of his own merch at the table, but he was sharing with the Lady Beaver. They were just getting started too at cons, and this was only their second show. They did Long Beach Comic Expo in February, so it was great to see them compare. There is so much less pressure at these small shows when you don’t have much product too. You can find him on twitter and Instagram @stevewaldinger.
Fourth, we talked to Erika Lipkes, the Lady Beaver herself. She does zines and paintings, stickers and other awesome art. I love seeing zine people at cons because you don’t see them often at bigger cons. Again, the costs are just so high there’s very little chance of making money, especially with the amount of time it takes to make these things by hand from scratch. However, she did Long Beach Comic Expo too, so it was nice to see her compare the two. I loved that one of her students came to see the show too! That’s what you can do when the show costs very little to attend. You can find her online at ladybeaver.com.
Finally we talked to Allen Carter. I see Allen at tons of shows all over the place. Almost every time there is a con he’s be there. He even tells me about lots of cons. So it was great to hear him talk about his books, trades, zines, and other work. You can find him online at the carter comics or the figure of speech mongoose where he does a Mongoose Monday challenge every single week. Check it out.
And that’s it. I really appreciate everybody taking a couple minutes to talk to me. Small cons are so important. The people are nice and gracious, and it’s nice to have sometimes 10 minute conversations with a single fan.