A few words for traders at Comic Cons

For the past few weekends my vision in front of me has been something like this.

From the front it looks something like this.

It’s old skool comic convention tables. Back issues and new stuff. No Funko Pop’s, no merchandise, no bubble tea. Just comics because even though I’ve been reading comics for five decades, and in and out of the industry for four of those and I have had days when I’ve had, or not wanted anything to do with the industry I’ll tell you a wee secret.

I fucking love comics. Not just for the characters but the entire medium and I love selling them. It isn’t easy. You need to know your stock, plus you’ve got to know what people want to buy as after all if you’re still dragging around a Thunderbolts section that nobody has asked about in years then you’re not just wasting limited space, but you’re putting strain into dead space.

Basically, it isn’t as easy as turning up, throwing open the boxes and sitting back watching the cash flow in. So one of the things I’ve seen a lot of are traders who are sat behind their tables at cons who do nothing to sell their products who then complain to the event organisers they had a terrible show as if to blame them. Yet I’ve seen over the years traders who don’t have great shows because their stock is poor, overpriced or they’re not doing enough to sell it. Here’s a vague example of what I mean. At a show last year I watched a trader spend all day on their phone while people were looking at their stock. No attempt to engage or interact with them meant people walked up interested, but were quickly put off because the trader was too busy on their phone to pull people in.

Another common example is of traders who spend their shows chatting with mates at the expense of potential customers. Worst of all are those traders who are just rude to potential customers, or sometimes you get the perfect storm where traders just so put off customers they don’t attract them.

It takes a lot of time and effort to put together a show. Good show organisers who give you a good few thousand people can’t be blamed for any lack of success however there’s one simple rule in becoming a trader who may end up being successful enough to make this game a full time job but you’ll never do that by sitting on your arse, staring at your phone as people walk by you. Engage people, chat with them. Talk about what they like. Draw them into your stock because you will do shows that are hard, and this is the difference between a bad show, or even an average show, or one that’s good or massively successful. This is a hard industry but it can be fun and of course, rewarding but only if you do a few things to engage people which should make things better for you.

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