How To Sell Your Art Like A Pro At A Convention

If you're a pop culture artist looking for a venue to sell your artwork, comic and science fiction conventions can be a great way to get your brand out there and make some money doing so. But as a newbie to the world of selling at a convention, there are some things you need to do to prepare. Here's a handy guide to 7 vital preparations for selling your wares at a convention. 

Have Merchandise. It may seem obvious, but you need to be ready with a good selection of your art to put out for purchase. This supply should include a variety of subjects -- both fan art and original art, if possible -- to appeal to different types of customers. Prepare items in different mediums or with different techniques. And be sure to rotate your display throughout the days to attract people who pass more than once. 

Print Promotional Material. You will be spending the weekend promoting yourself and your business, so have a supply of promotional items prepared in advance. This can include business cards, postcard-size samples of your artwork, keychains, stickers, buttons, pens or similar things. Bring more than you expect to hand out and use them to draw people in to your booth. 

Prepare a Table Kit. You'll be attending both as an artist and as a business person, so have a supply of useful items at the ready at your booth. These should include things like:

  • Cash box
  • Calculator
  • Notebook or other paper
  • Table cloth
  • Snack and drinks
  • Pens (including black or silver sharpies)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Safety pins and hooks

Organize with Storage Containers. Staying organized for the weekend will reduce stress, make sales easier and keep you sane. First, you will need to transport your merchandise and supplies to the convention city or site. Then, you'll want to keep your table tidy, organize sales receipts, protect your wares and keep the space safe. A variety of plastic storage bins, totes, drawers and other containers are the best way to do this. 

For stackable plastic storage containers, click here or do an online search. 

Get a Permit. As a short-term vendor, you will likely need a temporary seller's permit. Visit the website for the state revenue department of the state you will be selling in. You should be able to determine if you need such a permit and how to apply for one online. If in doubt, check with the state well in advance of the convention or speak with the convention's department handling the dealers' room. 

Know the Tax Laws. While applying for any permits, be sure to familiarize yourself with how to charge and collect sales tax. You will need to keep sales records and receipts so you can properly remit taxes once you return home. How you price tax into your merchandise may be up to you -- you can generally choose between adding it to your base listed prices or listing the price including tax for ease of sales. 

Use the Buddy System. Finally, don't go it alone -- especially for your first time. Conventions can get chaotic, so have some help watching your goods and selling items. Be sure to take breaks and enjoy yourself as well. With a trusted friend or partner, you will be much more relaxed and able to handle problems when they arise. 

By following this guide to prepping for your first convention selling experience, you can design a weekend that will be both profitable and fun.