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This past Saturday, September 23, I exhibited at my second “real” comic convention, real in these terms meaning it wasn’t held at a library. Galaxy Comic Book and Fantasy Art Expo was held in Joliet, IL, a city that’s about 40 miles Southwest of Chicago.

To follow my sales journey and to see how I did at past conventions, click here for the full list of posts.

 

General Impressions

Jody McQuarters, the organizer designed this show to feel like comic conventions of days past. He’s big on the nostalgia factor and wanting his show to be a place where comic book lovers, artists and other creatives can interact with each other without the Hollywood hype taking away the limelight from the source material, the comics. Jody and his staff did a great job of organizing the convention, from recognizing me as soon as I walked into the building, to checking in on me throughout the day as he passed by. Jody and his staff exceeded all my expectations on what an event staff should offer to make a con run smoothly.

 

Location

The show was located in the Joliet Area Historical Museum, which offered a fun and quirky environment, which was a lot more interesting than a boring convention hall. The museum is spread out over four floors and Jody did a great job at laying out tables for artists and vendors at all the available spots, without giving it a claustrophobic feel. Even at times when I would wander throughout the con, I never felt like I was running into people as I wandered through the museum.

Being that it was my first time exhibiting at this convention, and that this show is held between four museum floors, I had no clue what to expect in terms of how things would be laid out, traffic flow, or anything of that matter. I was placed on the Upper Level, right next to the Panel Room. This ended up being a fairly good placement because there was plenty of different panels held throughout the day, which meant the potential for more foot traffic.

 

Display

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With having a six foot table at this show, I had to pick and choose which props I wanted to display in an attempt to make the best use of the table space without having it look too cluttered. Since I had just acquired my third crocheted dust bunny this summer, I decided to make use of the stuffed bunnies over the flat cutouts, which are taller. I got a lot of comments about the stuffed bunnies, so moving forward, I plan to utilize them more over the cutouts, unless I’ve got a bigger display area.

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One of my other recent purchases this summer, between shows was this basket of oranges. For those who are familiar with The Godfather trilogy, this is a nod to the Mystery of the Godfather Oranges, where but oranges pop up with a great frequency in the three Godfather films. Some suggest that they indicate death or the threat of violence for the character interacting with the orange.

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Sales

Being that this was my second real convention, I once again tried to have reasonable expectations for myself. I wanted to grow my newsletter signups by 10% and make table back. I had no problem getting people to sign up for my newsletter. I didn’t even have to push it, those signups just happened naturally with people that were interested in what I was doing. When I interacted with people and they got the pitch I ended up having some fantastic conversations and I believe I’ll see them again at future shows.

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Since this was my first year selling, and I had a handful of library shows this summer, in terms of profits this was my worst sales experience to date. I think part of it has to do with reading the audience passing by, which I’m still learning and less people migrating my way. Being on the upper level, I was at the end of the floor right before the food vendors so I think that people may have taken a quick glance down the way and then decided not to venture down since it’s just food that way.

 

Cool People

Another great thing about this show was the friendliness of the other artists, it was such a welcoming environment. Special shout-outs go to Rafael Nieves, Juan Gomez, and Steve Palencia for introducing me to so many other local artists.

Also, near the end of the show, there was a panel put on by Doc Shaefer where three artists would do live drawing in front of an audience using random prompts all in 3 minutes. It was a fun experience and I even got to tag-in and do some live-drawing.

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Will I Go Back?

Between Jody’s mastery organization of the con and for the networking opportunities alone, I happily plan on returning to Galaxy Con for years to come. Every experience is a potential learning opportunity, and this convention was no different. I already have some plans on how to tweak my setup in order to try to make it a bit more profitable, which I plan to incorporate in coming shows so that next year I can be more profitable.