The Checklist of Dooooooooom!Shop Talk
Okay, so it’s not of DOOOOOOOOOM! It’s my show/con checklist. I have photos and everything! We’ve done three or four shows and I want to preface this with we’re still learning over here.
Here are a couple of up front costs I recommend if you plan to do the “con” circuit. A 5 x 8 trailer you can tow things in. We can’t afford one right now, but it’s on my list. We purchased an SUV right before Atlanta Comic Con because we needed a second vehicle and our hybrid wasn’t big enough for all the show things! A 5 x 8 trailer will allow you to stack and store so much more and leave your vehicle open for humans (and pets)!
Since I usually run my crafty business alongside my author table, some of the items we pack are used to display the crafty items! I put a * next to the ones that we use for that.
I try to make my table look appeasing and focus on what I want people to purchase. Book tables with the books stacked like a clearance table at Barnes & Noble overload me and I will walk right by them without a second glance (even if they are my book jams!). So I only put one hardback copy on the table for people to pick up, peruse, and flip through while I give them my sales pitch.
We took ALL THE INVENTORY to Atlanta Comic Con and it took up the entirety of the 2019 Equinox cargo space. The cool thing about the long comic book bins is they let us mix and match the books for the size show we’re doing. For Whale of a Sale I only took 10 paperbacks and 5 hardbacks of each book (3 long bins) and it was the right amount. The comic book bins are meant to keep everything in pristine condition and they have little nubs that let them click together and stack neatly.
You want a backdrop even if you don’t have prints. The very first show we did, we didn’t have one, and the booth behind us didn’t have one either, so people were looking through our booths at stuff. It was weird and I felt naked. The backdrop allows us to section off and to display things we don’t want on the table with the books.
The modular drawers are AMAZING. They house all the other stuff you need at the show and make it easy to get to. We had these adorable clasping trunks for things and it was just too hard to get in and out of during the show. With the drawers, we know where everything is, it takes up less space, and we have an additional horizontal surface if we need it for the “cash register”. When I work a booth by myself I have a batman wallet I keep the cash in because the drawer is too hard to keep track of.
We use PayPal Zettle for our POS/Cash drawer. They have the lowest fees with the best card reader. My card reader can accept Apple, Samsung, and Google Pay, along with tap cards and chip cards. We can’t do swipe cards, but 99% of people have a chip or tap option. We’re going to pick up the Zettle cash drawer at some point this year (it’s like 150.00) so we can use it for the cash like a real store!
Pack a snack bag. I don’t leave my booth at shows and that usually means no lunch break. So if a show runs from 8 am to 7 pm, I’m there for the entire time. Since Mr. F goes with me I get bathroom breaks, or I make him wander off to find sustenance, but in general con food is EXPENSIVE. Having water and snacks helps me keep my energy up when I’m pretending to be an extrovert.
Every person is different in what they need/want at their booth. I treat it like a store I can’t leave and want to make sure I have everything so all I have to focus on is selling my wares to people. This last show I had to work the booth all by myself for a day and it was TERRIBLE. I came home wanting to cry. Having the booth buddy gives you someone to talk to, calm your nerves, and to help. If I’m pitching to one person, and they’re purchasing, I can’t help the next person looking who may not wait for me. Mr. F catches more than one person and draws them in, entertaining them while I finish up with the existing person. He also does all the business things like take payment while I get to do the fun things like signing and engaging with new fans!
I don’t have a note about clothes/hotel/luggage but you should add that to your punch list when determining your space. For Atlanta, I completely forgot we needed clothes and had to completely re-arrange our Tetris packing to account for two small carry-on suitcases (we downgraded from our massive suitcase so it would all fit). Wear comfy clothes. We do fun/matching clothes because Mr. F has EPIC Sesame Street Hawaiian shirts.
You want shoes that will support your feet, socks that won’t get sweaty and gross, and clothes that make you feel happy. I have a safety sweater jacket. Normally, I run hot but they crank the AC at shows and more than once having the sweater has helped. I also wear tennis shoes. I’m on my feet most of the show, because a sitting vendor sells less. When traffic is heavy, I get more people to stop and listen to me when I’m standing and talking versus sitting and hoping my pretty display lures them in.
Alright, enough of my rambling!
The Punch List
- A Booth Buddy (Spouse/Kid/Friend/Employee)
- Tiny trash bin
- Sturdy storage tote for carrying display items.
- Paperbacks, Hardbacks, and eBook cards
- Comic book bins (for the books) – BCW Supplies
- Magazine bins (for the journals) – BCW Supplies
- Clear brochure holders big enough for 6 x 9 books – Found Here
- Clear 5 x 7 photo stands for eBook cards and other signage* – Found Here
- Bronzy adjustable bookstands*
- Art prints – pre-bagged & boarded
- Framed art prints for display
- Art folio carrier
- Power strip
- Backdrop (for art prints) – Found Here
- Blackout curtains (for back drop)
- Tiny colorful plastic bins (for stickers)
- Business cards
- Business card holders (for square story cards)
- Bookmarks (paper which double as a business card)
- 8 ft table (only for shows that don’t provide tables)
- 6 ft table* (only for shows that don’t provide tables)
- Pretty corner foldable shelving unit* (only in the 10 x 10 booths, not just tables)
- Tall chairs (most cons provide chairs but they are WAY TOO SHORT for me to get up and down)
- Wagon/pull cart
- Modular drawer system that doubles as checkout podium (or hides under tables well)
- Bags for checkout – Holds 2 6×9 books – Holds 7 6×9 books
- Envelopes for eBook/sticker purchases
- Shiny sticker bags (wedding party favor bags)
- Tiny dry erase board
- Pens for signing (I use Ink Joy multiple colors)
- Pen holder (sits tucked behind the books and allows me to let people pick the colors they want their books signed in)
- Tablet/POS System
- Cash Drawer/Lock Box
- $100.00 Cash (1 twenty, 2 tens, 8 fives, 20 ones)
- Counterfeit pen – Found Here
- Card Reader – PayPal Zettle
- Hand Iron
- Cables to charge all electronics
- Go Box
- Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Aleeve
- Magnets for dry erase board
- Travel crochet hook*
- Paper clips
- Tiny post-it notes (for pricing labels)
- Address labels (for pricing/covering up changes in other signs)
- Lint Roller
- Hand wipes/Sanitizer
- Face masks
- Black Sharpie
- Emergency sewing kit
- Cough Drops
- Snack Bag/Cooler
- Bottled Water (cons usually charge 3.00-5.00 for a bottle of water)
- Protein Bars
- Granola Bars
- Snacky treats of your choosing