With that in mind, we had to think about all the things that needed to be ready—when we'd run our Kickstarter (which we decided to defer), how long it took for the funds to become available, and so on.
The biggest backwards-planning involved getting finished work to the printer for both the card game (also deferred) and the comic book (which we had—in abundance—at the show.
Leaving enough time (which I didn't do this con) always helps.
getting help and staff
In order to make sure our table was fully staffed at all times, we had to make sure we had staff—and backup staff. Some conventions will penalize you if you leave your booth unattended, and many frown on you packing and leaving early. My business partner really came through for us, getting us staff—even though some bailed (stage fright?) at the last minute. Pictured to the right is Patrick Barnes, one of the colorists on the comic, and all-round adventurer, whose poise and enthusiasm helped keep the booth afloat—especially when I wasn't available.
things you'll need
- an extra chair (only two were provided with our booth rental)
- extension cord (to run power to electronics used in the booth, or even personally while at the booth)
- power bar (to maximize the number of devices you can run)
- tape (to hold down cords so no one trips over them; make sure it is both in compliance with convention regulations—as some will fine you for using duct tape or other tapes that leave a residue—and that it is wide enough to tape down a cord, as I discovered trying to tape down 20 feet of cable with tiny slices of super-thin masking tape)
- an extra end table (good for closing off the end of the corner booth)
- laptop and bigscreen TV with connecting cable (for displaying webseries episodes and garnering audience attention)
- hand sanitizer (for shaking so many hands)
- kleenex (in case somebody gets a nosebleed)
- tablecloth (to cover the unsightly splintering wood of the table)
- signage for prices (which we ended up making and modifying on site to adapt to other prices of the cons)
- pens (for sign up sheets)
- sign-up sheets for the e-mail list (and for voting on the webseries)
- boxes of product (CDs and comics), of course…
- vendor passes to enter the convention
- booth paperwork
In the end, we didn't end up using them all, but it was handy to have many of them around.
OTHER THINGS TO BRING
- food (which we would have brought, except for the ban against it because of the convention center's own concession stand policy)
- water (which I think had the same issue)
- comfortable shoes (which makes sense. My investor/partner had some foot problems afterward standing for so long, and recommended some kind of pad to stand on for the next time we did this)
- eye drops (if needed)
- cash for making change (one-dollar bills seemed to be incredibly in short supply, and seemed unlikely to replenish themselves)
- credit card reader (which we didn't have this time, but multiple times wished we did—good news for us that some people were so into us that they actually went to their ATMs and came back with cash!)
One more thing that I'm thinking I'd like to have for next time is a Facebook page, which I've been avoiding because of throttled content issues, but which we were asked about a number of times.
Thanks to Madeleine Holly-Rosing for the tips!
Running a booth at a con can be a rewarding experience. It certainly was for us!
All the planning and preparation that we put into this helped it be as successful as it was.
Whether it was bplanning backwards, or having the right people and things—all of it came together nicely.