DragonCon Diary 09 – To Charge or Not to Charge?

Diary Entries Thus Far:
Dragon Con Diary 09: Pre-Con Prep
Dragon Con Diary 09: To Charge or Not to Charge?
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Rush Begins
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Calm Before the Storm
Dragon Con Diary 09: Matting Madness!
Dragon Con Diary 09: The Aftermath
Dragon Con Diary 09: Video & Photo Stream

When last we left our hero, she was buried under a deadly pile of things to do! But with truth and justice (and coffee!), she has managed to whittle down the lists into something like this:

I’ve managed to do much of the following for Dragon Con this past week:

  • I split up the print inventory between the print shop, art show, and table at the artist’s alley. Phew! Got a butt load of prints to handle this year! About 3 times the amount I’ve ever had at about 27 pieces for the show, 64 for the print shop, and about 50 more for the table itself. Got all the paperwork turned in with a week to spare instead of the night before!
  • I’ve entered said inventory into Microsoft Access and categorized it all. Egads! Organization?? It can be done!
  • I’ve made about 20 new glass tile art pendants and am waiting for some new cabochon settings to arrive so I can play around with a more elegant jewelry design.
  • Planning an Artist’s Alley Table
    I’ve been researching displays of other folks at artist alleys and there’s a few things that I’ve noticed everyone seems to be doing.

  • PVC Display Frame – This seems like a neat way to display your banner and any signs or art you’d like to draw attention to. Displaying the banner across the top of the frame would be much more visible than hanging it from the front where casual browsers will block it. It looks a little ghetto, though. I’m trying to think of ways to spruce it up.
  • Display Portfolios – I still need to sit and prioritize what goes into the portfolio people will be browsing through at the table and make sure there isn’t anything family unfriendly in it. I’m pondering limiting the portfolio to 10-15 of my best pieces, or raising the number to give people a longer journey through the art?
  • Brochures? – I’ve read of other artists who hand out a brochure showing their process, contact info, links, and fun biographical info about them. I’m wondering if this would be worth the extra expense so people have a freebie to take with them?
  • Freebies – Buy 2 prints, get 1 free! Or maybe not. Things are costing me much this year and I am not sure if a sale like that would be smart. Perhaps I can do that on the last day?

    But of course, there will also be free candy with shiny stuff on it to lure people in! Besides that, there are still many things to do! Including the matting of prints and art for display and making sure everything is autographed, bagged, tagged, and ready to go.

    To Charge or Not to Charge?
    But then what happens when people want to pay? I am considering accepting credit cards, but that has opened up a whole other arena of information to explore.

    First off, most of these places charge per transaction and a monthly fee and require you to be a business (which I am not just yet.) Also, there’s extra equipment to carry and so many choices of services that it makes my head spin!

    And let’s not forget how easy it is these days for people to pay with a fake credit card at the expense of the poor sap (me)! It has me considering accepting debit and cash only.

    The Legend Continues…
    Sadly, I won’t be participating in the Dawn Lookalike Contest this year to give my friend some time to really put her all in it, but I am still planning to deck myself out in the 3 tears of the Goddess, tragedy mask, and wrist rose/chain she is so famous for. Now, I just need to sit and make all of that too! (Masochist much?)

    With 52 days left, and counting, it seems there will be never a dull moment around here!


    1. Hayley E. Lavik says:

      I can’t say from any experience with the Con, but a few personal opinions on your options..

      The portfolio… I think 10-15 of your best is wisest. You’re only going to have one portfolio out I assume, or maybe two, and you don’t want one person holding things up going through the whole thing, and preventing others from perusing your work. If it’s shorter, more people can look through it, appreciate it, and let others get in there.

      Brochures.. some form of freebie item is a must in my opinion, thinking about book signings and such, and it shouldn’t just be free candy. The lure is good, but give your visitors something to take away that has your brand on it, rather than a mint they eat and then banish you from their mind. Whatever you choose, whether just business cards, brochures, or something more creative, make sure it doesn’t break the bank for you, and give people the sort of content you talked about in your post on websites. The tidbits, the changing content, etc. If you have space, plug your blog, etc, so people know there’s something worth seeking out online as well as the art. At a Con I’d hazard a lot of your visitors are going to be aspiring artists as well as art appreciators, so offering tips and techniques sounds like a good plan. Again though, give them a bit and then direct them to your website for more.

      Does printing a two-sided piece of paper and folding it in three seem like an affordable method to you? Do you want to take the time to write up that content? If you include images in the brochure (sort of a must, being an artist and all), does that raise the amount of ink you’ll be using?

      I wonder if something else might work better. Whenever I think of workshops and things I’ve been to, I take the brochures, and then they get left in the back of the car, crushed in my bag, etc, and I don’t do anything about them. I’ve heard of authors doing more item-based giveaways such as wooden nickel bus tokens relevant to the book, or toe tags, that people hung on to because they’re neat and unique. It’s like that part of us as kids that always wanted some little thing when we went out. We hang on to things more than paper.

    2. Angela Sasser says:

      Actually, it just occurred to me on the walk with the dog tonight that I could do something like a bookmark for folks. Pretty art on one side and info on the other. It’d be cheaper than a brochure and less likely to be tossed out (I know I adore bookmarks & am always on the search for one)

      I can’t think of anything more quirky than that, however. I’m sure it’ll hit me when I least expect it once I finally get some more themed work going.

      And you’re absolutely right about the portfolio. It’d be nice for people to enjoy the experience, but they also have the website they can go to for that. With such a relatively small outlet, it wouldn’t be smart to have people browsing the portfolio for a really long time.

      Thanks for the comment, darlin! It’s got my juices flowing:D *randomly channeling a bit of Ry O_o*

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