An Incomplete Guide To Tabling At Cons
In 2017 I attended a lot of cons. Some good, some bad, all (bar one) as an exhibitor. (I meant to blog about them. I didn't... Sorry!) As someone new to the con exhibitor scene I didn't know what to expect and learned as I went. If you're interested at tabling at cons in future, or already do and want to see if you're doing it the way others are, here are a few do's and don'ts from my experience.
DO: Have at least 2 people at your table.
It's a simple thing. Although you might be able to give the pitch and handle the table on your own, at some stage you'll need to go to lunch... or to the toilet. At these moments you'll need someone to be able to take over. They'll need to know your pitch and be able to explain your game to attendees. At the very least try to get a space beside friends who can jump in and save when you're gone.
DO: Get in early.
All cons will allow the exhibitors in before the general public. You should be in and set up before the main doors open. This is basic professionalism. Aim for it.
DON'T: Leave early.
If you leave your table early, especially on multiple days, you may not be asked back to the event. In my experience quite a few events put on discounted or free tables for small or new creators. If you abuse this opportunity by leaving the event a day early or going home at lunch, the organisers will notice and you probably won't be allowed back, especially not at the cut rate.
DO: Dress in layers and bring jumpers.
Cons are either unbearably hot or freezing. They're never comfortable. Unfortunately there's no way to tell which way it will go until the first day. On the first day dress in light layers and bring a jumper and scarf just in case. The next day you'll know what to wear.
DO: Comfortable shoes.
Ok, so occasional sitting is fine, especially if it's quiet. Whenever possible you want to be on eye level with your audience. If you're talking to a child, then lean or sit down. When talking to adults stand up. Sitting down can make you seem disengaged, so only sit when you want to disengage.
DO: Bring Deodorant (spray on)
Bring it. Everyone will thank you. Then everyone will steal some. Then you'll thank them.
DO: Get to know people
When setting up in the morning take some time to wander around and chat to the attendees. See what they're up to and what they're showing. Get to know the folks there. Not only will you start making friends in the con scene you might find people to help out with hearing about events, sharing tables, transport or industry hints and tips. They'll also make your twitter feed cooler.
DON'T: Get lunch at the venue.
The food will always be cheaper outside the venue. Make sure to check it up before hand, or at least on gmaps before going looking, some venues won't have cafes or shops anywhere nearby. Event food prices can be excessive and you don't want to spend your earnings on your lunch.
DO: Pick and choose
Cons can be exhausting. Especially if you also have a full time job. Make sure to pick and choose the best cons for your game/art/comic/thing/etc. You mightn't know at first but as you go along you'll get a feel for the audience. Even if you can afford to do them all, don't. You'll be too tired. Try to get a weekend between each con, or -at the super busy time- to get a weekend off a month. Otherwise you're probably not fit to be around other people.
If you have your own con tips or have questions about them let me know in the comments :)