Going to Have a Small Comic book Show. Looking for ideas/thoughts
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I am very tired of driving to other cities for comic book shows.

I live in Souther Indiana near Evansville and we have around 250K in the area or so. I have
secured a venue for mid Spring for a show.  Locally I am pretty sure I can find 7 dealers
along with me to do the show. I am hoping find 7 more regionally or locally to commit.
Anyone been thru this before? I am not looking to make money here just break even and
have a show in my area. The local baseball card group has one every 2 months so I know
it's possible to do more shows if we are successful. 

What I am looking for are just thoughts on how I can make it a smooth venture. Along with
another local dealer we are slowly laying out thoughts and ideas for advertising and 
getting the word out. I am not against other types of sellers, but I am not looking for 
costume convention either. I looked at a local hotel as well and it was too small. I plan
to look at another couple of hotels as well, but the location I like is an older shopping
mall with plenty of space. 

Thoughts?

Edited by fastballspecial
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You can bet any collector from your surrounding area is also tired of having to drive to other cities for comic book shows.  Don't be shy about looking out within an hour's drive of Evansville for your marketing efforts.

Everyone responsible for their own set-up (tables, chairs, wall, etc)?  

How's the venue lighting?  Someone was on here complaining about a show they set up at where they ended up having to bring their own it was so poor.

How will you ensure that everyone entering the show has paid for a ticket (if you're charging attendees and not just vendors that is).?  Money-handling, payment options?

Wi-Fi so that anyone wanting to take electronic payments can do so?

Covid protocols, if any, and enforcement/security, if any?

 

 

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On 11/22/2021 at 5:24 PM, MattTheDuck said:

You can bet any collector from your surrounding area is also tired of having to drive to other cities for comic book shows.  Don't be shy about looking out within an hour's drive of Evansville for your marketing efforts.

Everyone responsible for their own set-up (tables, chairs, wall, etc)?  

How's the venue lighting?  Someone was on here complaining about a show they set up at where they ended up having to bring their own it was so poor.

How will you ensure that everyone entering the show has paid for a ticket (if you're charging attendees and not just vendors that is).?  Money-handling, payment options?

Wi-Fi so that anyone wanting to take electronic payments can do so?

Covid protocols, if any, and enforcement/security, if any?

 

 

I am not going to charge for attendance. Its an open floor mall plan so plenty of space.
I am just looking to pilfer other dealers :devil:and move some inventory. lol
(Just kidding)

Covid protocols will be interesting I will have to wait till we get closer on that. 

Lighting won't be a problem its pretty bright and they have skylights as well. 

The mall does have some tables so that should make setup pretty easy, 
I will stop in there to review with the planner to make sure on that. 

Wi-fi should be fine in that area I have never had any issues. 

Again not looking to make a profit from setup. Hoping for some good networking
as well. So dealers wont feel like they are getting robbed. I will set up just like them.

Edited by fastballspecial
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I did this for a friend. Fair warning he didn't think more than few hundred would show up and it was closer to 10k than a thousand. I am not sure we are as good of friends since this. So your goal is to break even and not profit. Then every dealer lcs within 2 or 3 hours should want to show up. Probably further if you sell them on it. The ones who don't will next time. Advertising is free. Message boards at businesses. Flyers at lcs. Facebook groups. Local radio stations will let you come on and talk about it. Local newspaper will do a interview and story. Craigslist cities near you. If you want thousands of people then craigslist Chicago, Louisville, st Louis, Cincinnati Columbus, Indianapolis etc etc. What are costume convention? Cosplay? People love cosplayers, good thing to bring in people. Anybody who doesn't hear about your con will when they see cosplayers wandering around town. Another point, flyers at local businesses. It benefits them to have a large number of people out and about in their town. Food vendors, people want to eat and drink and will stay longer. Food trucks. Any comic book artist within a few hours of you? Contact them. Don't forget to have dinner and drinks with them and get a few things signed if that is your think. Free to attend? Your going to need a bigger boat. There's my blueprint. I am not responsible for long bathroom lines, people selling drugs,or stopping someone from just grabbing and taking off with a expensive book etc. Good luck.

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On 11/23/2021 at 4:53 AM, Thisisrequired said:

I did this for a friend. Fair warning he didn't think more than few hundred would show up and it was closer to 10k than a thousand. I am not sure we are as good of friends since this. So your goal is to break even and not profit. Then every dealer lcs within 2 or 3 hours should want to show up. Probably further if you sell them on it. The ones who don't will next time. Advertising is free. Message boards at businesses. Flyers at lcs. Facebook groups. Local radio stations will let you come on and talk about it. Local newspaper will do a interview and story. Craigslist cities near you. If you want thousands of people then craigslist Chicago, Louisville, st Louis, Cincinnati Columbus, Indianapolis etc etc. What are costume convention? Cosplay? People love cosplayers, good thing to bring in people. Anybody who doesn't hear about your con will when they see cosplayers wandering around town. Another point, flyers at local businesses. It benefits them to have a large number of people out and about in their town. Food vendors, people want to eat and drink and will stay longer. Food trucks. Any comic book artist within a few hours of you? Contact them. Don't forget to have dinner and drinks with them and get a few things signed if that is your think. Free to attend? Your going to need a bigger boat. There's my blueprint. I am not responsible for long bathroom lines, people selling drugs,or stopping someone from just grabbing and taking off with a expensive book etc. Good luck.

I don't think you need cosplay, drinks, other collectibles - etc.  We have a comic show that is purely comics only started by the guy that runs one of the LCS.  It's a one day event in a hotel convention room with very cheap admission $1/2, and different costs (but reasonable) to dealers.  Attendance is good because we get dealers from several hours away, and even some fans!  A convention centre or hotel will have washroom facilities, again these are typically day events so unless every one in attendance is 3 years or younger there's no need to have food and drink onsite - I would actually discourage that so people aren't brining it into the main room/hall.

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On 11/22/2021 at 6:24 PM, MattTheDuck said:

You can bet any collector from your surrounding area is also tired of having to drive to other cities for comic book shows.  Don't be shy about looking out within an hour's drive of Evansville for your marketing efforts.

Everyone responsible for their own set-up (tables, chairs, wall, etc)?  

How's the venue lighting?  Someone was on here complaining about a show they set up at where they ended up having to bring their own it was so poor.

How will you ensure that everyone entering the show has paid for a ticket (if you're charging attendees and not just vendors that is).?  Money-handling, payment options?

Wi-Fi so that anyone wanting to take electronic payments can do so?

Covid protocols, if any, and enforcement/security, if any?

 

 

I think the easiest answer to this is to setup at a hotel or convention centre.  Find the space, figure out how many tables/setups you'll have and cost - charge that appropriately to dealers.  Setup a table outside for admission, charge a nominal amount like $1/$2 to at least cover your costs......

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On 11/23/2021 at 9:04 AM, spreads said:

I think the easiest answer to this is to setup at a hotel or convention centre.  Find the space, figure out how many tables/setups you'll have and cost - charge that appropriately to dealers.  Setup a table outside for admission, charge a nominal amount like $1/$2 to at least cover your costs......

I agree. And if he really doesn't want to make money on setup, charge $1 admission, kids are free, and split proceeds from admission sales among dealers who stay until end of show. Then maybe they will also do a little PR for the show and help bring fannies through the door.

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On 11/23/2021 at 9:02 AM, spreads said:

I don't think you need cosplay, drinks, other collectibles - etc.  We have a comic show that is purely comics only started by the guy that runs one of the LCS.  It's a one day event in a hotel convention room with very cheap admission $1/2, and different costs (but reasonable) to dealers.  Attendance is good because we get dealers from several hours away, and even some fans!  A convention centre or hotel will have washroom facilities, again these are typically day events so unless every one in attendance is 3 years or younger there's no need to have food and drink onsite - I would actually discourage that so people aren't brining it into the main room/hall.

You don't need anything. All depends on how many people you want and how much profit or cost you want. 

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On 11/23/2021 at 2:49 PM, Thisisrequired said:

You don't need anything. All depends on how many people you want and how much profit or cost you want. 

Well I don't the motivation was profit driven, but the OP can confirm.  The pure comic show that was setup in my area was specifically designed to keep it only for comics, we have all types of monthly comic/card shows, comic cons (which nowadays are pure money grabs and watered down garbage), and many other hybrid type shows.   

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On 11/23/2021 at 12:57 PM, sckao said:

The question you should really probably be asking for everything is, "Will I need a permit?"

 

Would the hotel/convention centre not have the answers to that?!  I don't think he's thinking of having people come to his garage.....

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On 11/23/2021 at 9:09 AM, Bird said:

I agree. And if he really doesn't want to make money on setup, charge $1 admission, kids are free, and split proceeds from admission sales among dealers who stay until end of show. Then maybe they will also do a little PR for the show and help bring fannies through the door.

That could be an option too!  Start off cheap as an inaugural show and see where it goes....I think once you get a sense of dealer demand, you can figure out the costs associated pretty quickly.  If the concern is limited space, maybe you have restrictions at the door keeping capacity to a certain threshold....

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Usually, there are regulations and permit requirements for almost everything required for special events... even for cold food onsite vs hot food. You'd think it would be easy, but if you want to actually do it legally and take money for admissions, you have to jump through some hoops usually and it may take some time. (Plus parking/loading/unloading logistics, table and chair rentals, clean-up, garbage disposal, possible security, etc.)

Plus, it may be on you as the promoter to make sure your sellers all have legal permits to sell? (Or have them sign a contract saying so?)

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I live in St Louis an it would only be a 3 hr drive, so I would definitely consider it. I’m also part of a local group of collectors and I know most of them travel as far as five hours to go to shows. 
 

let me know the date and time and I know a few sellers that might be interested as well.

 

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On 11/23/2021 at 3:53 AM, Thisisrequired said:

I did this for a friend. Fair warning he didn't think more than few hundred would show up and it was closer to 10k than a thousand. I am not sure we are as good of friends since this. So your goal is to break even and not profit. Then every dealer lcs within 2 or 3 hours should want to show up. Probably further if you sell them on it. The ones who don't will next time. Advertising is free. Message boards at businesses. Flyers at lcs. Facebook groups. Local radio stations will let you come on and talk about it. Local newspaper will do a interview and story. Craigslist cities near you. If you want thousands of people then craigslist Chicago, Louisville, st Louis, Cincinnati Columbus, Indianapolis etc etc. What are costume convention? Cosplay? People love cosplayers, good thing to bring in people. Anybody who doesn't hear about your con will when they see cosplayers wandering around town. Another point, flyers at local businesses. It benefits them to have a large number of people out and about in their town. Food vendors, people want to eat and drink and will stay longer. Food trucks. Any comic book artist within a few hours of you? Contact them. Don't forget to have dinner and drinks with them and get a few things signed if that is your think. Free to attend? Your going to need a bigger boat. There's my blueprint. I am not responsible for long bathroom lines, people selling drugs,or stopping someone from just grabbing and taking off with a expensive book etc. Good luck.

Thanks thats alot to digest. I am interested in starting small so advertising yes in several areas, but I am going to avoid larger cities for now. I prefer to grown organically since I still work a full time job and this is me being tired of driving to other cities. Below shows the floor space we have in 4 different areas to pick from so space wont be an issue. I need to check on how many tables they have,
image.png.52aabb6a192c485f5e337d4499ac0816.png

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On 11/23/2021 at 8:02 AM, spreads said:

I don't think you need cosplay, drinks, other collectibles - etc.  We have a comic show that is purely comics only started by the guy that runs one of the LCS.  It's a one day event in a hotel convention room with very cheap admission $1/2, and different costs (but reasonable) to dealers.  Attendance is good because we get dealers from several hours away, and even some fans!  A convention centre or hotel will have washroom facilities, again these are typically day events so unless every one in attendance is 3 years or younger there's no need to have food and drink onsite - I would actually discourage that so people aren't brining it into the main room/hall.

Exactly I am not worried about advertising for Cosplay. If they show up great, but its not going to be included. Like other dealers say Cosplayers have no pockets. I checked one local hotel so far, but its was too small at 20x40 during covid thats a mistake. So see the pics below of the mall they have a wide open area in 4 different areas. 
image.png.7adaec8d9abf1d1f16f013ccfd568992.pngimage.png.0741f82364627f9af10391c57ff15345.png

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