During the past year, we were a part of over 35 appearances (solo or together). They ranged from panels at some of the biggest conventions in the country, to local in-store comic signings, to steampunk events, to live-in-studio radio appearances. Steph even got to teach a one day high school seminar on comic creation! We learned a TON in 2019.
We know 'show life' is different for everyone, so please don't think we are saying that 'our' experience is the be all end all. These are the truths as it pertains to us. Without further adieu, Here are the top thoughts we have.
TOP 5 THINGS WE LEARNED AT (or from) SHOWS IN 2019: * Bigger Isn't Always Better: We have had some of our biggest successes at smaller, one day events. That's not to say that we didn't enjoy some of the larger shows, but bigger doesn't always mean better for the small guy.
We try to look at what we call the 'Total Cost Of Attendance' for each show: - Booth or table cost - Travel - Hotel rental, and most importantly - What is the potential to make sales / gain tangible promotion / make legit connections?
That last point is key. Some shows are designed with creators in mind. Others have high ticket prices and are there for those looking to secure A-List celebrity pics / signatures, even others are more about giving younger cosplayers a place to hang out. Is it well organized, or is it the vendor / artist alley area akin to the wild west?
You also have to look at your current product offerings and determine if you have anything that the target crowd for the show would be receptive to. The show could check off all the boxes that make it amazing, but if its a SCI-FI show and all you have are hand knitted blankets, that may not be the show for you.
Gotta assess all factors involved so informed decisions can be made.
* You never know what might happen when you put yourself out there. Earlier on in the year Matt reached out to a local comic shop that was holding a creators event to see if there was any room. After not hearing back from the store he reached out to those holding the event and got INSYM in the show.
He knew a grand total of one other creator in the building prior to that day. Fast forward to today: Now those that were present are a huge part of our Florida circle of support, in person and online... but none of that would have happened without first reaching out.
* People LOVE it when you have a 'spine': After fulfilling our kickstarter backer purchases for the Heirs of Isildur Issue 11 of 11 and the 268 page trade paperback, we were able to finally sell them at live shows in late October... and did we ever. The first weekend we had them on the table was our best overall (dollar wise) by nearly double. Why? Alongside of our normal offerings, 'book' people actually paid us some mind. Comic people will buy graphic novels. Book people may not pick up 'floppy' media.
It was an eye opening experience for sure.
* The Florida Steampunk Community is a resilient bunch: The most anticipated steampunk show of the year for the area was cancelled with 72 hours prior to doors opening. The community could have sat and sulked, but they decided to make some old timey Lemonade from the lemons they were served.
Multiple 'popup' shows were created (most on less than 24 hours notice) in replacement. We had the ability to attend one at a bar/restaurant and had our best sales day ever at that point.
Just about everyone considered these an overwhelming success under the circumstances.
* Every event you do CAN be a positive experience - you just have to be looking for that angle: Just like a box of chocolates, ya never know what you're going to get when it comes to shows. We've attended everything from the biggest shows in the Country to small pop up events in local bars. Some that we were certain would go well for us ended up falling short of expectations, while others that we predicted might be a bust ended up being our most successful.
No matter the outcome, there was always something positive to gain from every event we were at. Whether it be a particular fan interaction, or being able to sign someone up to back our Kickstarter, cultivating connections and forming friendships with others in the industry, or even gaining a better understanding or what types of shows we want to avoid in the future - there isn't a single show that we can look back on and NOT find a positive in it.
We're fairly certain we could tell you a cool story from EVERY appearance we were at this year, and that, to us, is a win no matter what.
We have released this on facebook as well, and would love for you to share your comments or experiences there! Here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/insym/posts/535529943704314
There you have it. Join us tomorrow, the FIRST day of the 2020, and we'll reveal "The TOP 5 THINGS THINGS WE LEARNED / EXPERIENCED with KICKSTARTER and/or promotion in general in 2019."