Conventional wisdom: Mini Comic Expo 2011

Last Sunday, I attended the Montreal Mini Comic Con at Place Bonaventure. I was sharing a table with my friend Eve. Even though I did not attend any panels, for there weren’t any, I learned a lot and I’m still processing everything that happened. This was only my 3rd convention as an exhibiting artist and the 2nd time I had a table (after Illuxcon) so it was the first time I attended with the goal of selling work. Illuxcon was really  a promoting and learning experience for me, I wasn’t expecting to sell anything.

Eve at our shared table

The Mini Comic Expo, or Mini Comic Con or however you want to call it is almost more of a fair than a real convention. There isn’t any content, just dealers and artists. I was expecting visitors would be there wanting to buy, and some did buy, but it wasn’t very profitable for me or my neighbors. I’m sure some of the dealers made money and I’m not blaming the visitors. It partly confirmed my hunch that people who go to comic conventions want to see characters they know. It’s not the perfect place for fantasy art. I don’t know that I would have been much more succesful even if I had been working on well known fantasy IP’s. However if I was working on M:tG, I sure as hell would have tried to get next to the card game stores’ booths.

Me with the table

I’m still learning how to address passersby without scaring them into thinking that I’m trying to pressure them to buy. They truth is, I often just seek their impression of the con itself and want to know what they have enjoyed so far. It’s far more general market research. I have also learned from other dealers that this is not a very good event for artists who do anime. I’m also learning that 10am to 5pm is a long time to spend at a table if things are going slow. By 3, a lot of us were looking at our watches and many of the younger attendees and cosplayers were starting  to act up and show their wariness, including but not limited to a game of tag, some acrobatics, lots of noise and some drama in the ladies’ room.

Finally, I’m glad I went. It was not very financially rewarding but it was a good place to practice my salesmanship, and the FSM knows it needs practicing.


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