On Business: Tabling

By | Monday, June 02, 2014 Leave a Comment
I attended CAKE this weekend and, by pretty much all accounts, it was a really successful show. There was a good crowd pretty much the entire time, the creators and publishers I chatted with all reported good sales, there didn't seem to be any issues with traffic flow or other issues regarding the space, and everyone seemed to be generally having a good time.

Interestingly, I wound up in a couple of independent conversations with folks who had also just tabled at TCAF, and while both did well at both shows, their experiences were reveresed with regards to how well they did at each show. The short version is that one did much better at TCAF, largely due to generally greater attendence. More people at the show = more people buying stuff. Conversely, the other gent was doing much better at CAKE, which he largely attributed to his actual table location. At TCAF, he was a little more out of the way, whereas at CAKE, he had a pretty good position near the entrance.

CAKE's setup is primarily in, as you can tell by the accompanying photo, a gymnasium. It's basically a large, rectangular room with tables lined three walls and several set up down the middle to create aisles. What I noticed in particular because of this setup was that I had to make a pretty deliberate decision to check out the guys in the corners. It's very easy to go from one wall to another and completely skip over that guy crammed in the corner. This is more or less what happened to that second gent at TCAF.

It's something to consider when booking shows: where exactly would you be sitting, and is it somewhere where you might get looked over? TCAF is larger than CAKE by a magnitude of five or six, but that doesn't mean you'll actually sell five or six times the number of books.

There are a bunch of other considerations when trying to figure out which cons to table at, of course, and keep in mind that I've only been talking about sales and not revenue so far. But my point is that greater attendence numbers do make some conventions more attractive than others, but just because more people walk in the front door doesn't mean that more people will even see, let alone buy, your comics!
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