Steam Crow is a publishers/novelty/poster/art company we’ve noticed at shows before because of their great display and attractive merchandise. They are not an outright comics publisher, as they concentrate on buttons, prints, art and so on but they do publish some books. Their style is distinctive — a cute/horror/steampunk kind of mashup . They’ve just posted selling tips from San Diego that EVERYONE SHOULD READ, as it contains solid advice about making sales at the show — despite being across the aisle from a giant movie booth. Although their product line makes this a bit different from a comic-only booth, the reality is that selling ancillary merchandise is a major revenue stream for most comics publishers these days, small and large, and these observations are valuable for just about everyone. A sample:
Tips for sales success
It’s difficult to suggest a “one size fits all” plan, as everybody’s audience and product mix is different. The worst thing that you can do is just try to copy someone else’s model. It pays to be unique… so keep that in the forefront of that skull of yours.
• Don’t roll into SDCC just trying to earn back your table costs; develop a strategy to make a profit right away.
• Make product lines or sets, so you can sell more than just 1.
• Develop products that have a very focused appeal. Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
• Have many different price points – $1 to $100 would be ideal. You should have the most choices at $20 level; we concentrate our efforts there.
• Work on your Con products and plan all year long. You won’t be able to bust out a successful con 3 weeks before the show.
• Be unique. Be unique in your brand. Be unique in your approach. Be unique in your product offerings.
• Go big. Get out of the Small Press area as soon as you 1) have ample product and 2) you have some audience to support it. We started from zero.
• Follow your passion. You can’t fake your stuff based on sales. Make what you’re passionate about.
• Don’t disappear for the rest of the year. Use social media, blogging and such to connect to your followers all year long. You already knew that, though.
Much, much more in the link.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.