After being wristbanded and checked in, we were guided to our (pre-clothed!) table around the corner from the centre aisle. As neighbours, we had Vince Hunt and Tony Esmond from The Awesome Comics Podcast (with their comic, Awesome Comics) (awesome). I was very glad to see them; they’re good lads, and Tony was the first person to review my work on his website (and later on Down The Tubes). Tony further extended his good graces by interviewing me for the podcast, there on the convention floor; I don’t remember a great deal of what I said, other than I took the opportunity once again to screech about KC Green’s Gunshow, which is my default deflection when it comes time to talk about my comics. That will be out on Monday, I think, so if I’ve properly shown my arse on the podcast I won’t know about it until then.
We set up, and we waited. In terms of passing trade, the first two hours were a little nerve-wracking; there were people, but generally the same two dozen or so people doing loops of the floor – one cosplayer seemed to be doing a continuous loop from about 10am to about 5pm. By about 12pm, my wife had, herself, begun doing laps. In the back of my mind, I hoped against hope that the people of Cardiff were just saving the convention until after lunch, but I knew the truth; they had turned their backs. Turned their backs, the lot of them. Here I was, a hometown son, back from the west with my comics inspired by the city that raised me, and these vile turncoats had snubbed their noses, letting out wicked raspy chuckles as they were off doing something else. This couldn’t just be lunch; it was a pointed message.
Turns out it was just lunch, as after 1pm it was chock-a-block and we were dealing with customers pretty much non-stop from 1pm until about 5pm. I think that was the busiest we’ve ever been, and everybody who came to the table was very nice, so if you did stop by, thank you.
Sales were better than I could have hoped, frankly. I attribute this to three things:
- A very, very slight uptick in name recognition. In the time since True Believers I’ve made a bit more of an effort to get my work in front of people, and that seems to have paid off. True Believers was a venture into the unknown, in that literally nobody knew who I was. This time, approximately three people knew who I was. In pure percentage terms, that is an increase of infinity percent.
- Death Roulette seemed to pick up largely by word of mouth; a few people came to the table asking for it specifically, having seen somebody else’s.
- The bumper pack we decided to offer this time around, and were consciously mentioning to anyone who seemed interested. The selling price of all five comics came to £12, and Death Roulette on its own was £5; however, we decided to offer all five comics, plus a print, plus a badge, plus Death Roulette, for £10. It was an easy upsell to anybody considering a comic or Death Roulette on its own, and I don’t mind throwing in Death Roulette as essentially a free sweetener in exchange for getting the comics into people’s hands. I’m going to be sat there anyway, I may as well be doing something - plus, I do enjoy doing them, and seeing their reactions.
It was mainly – definitely, undoubtedly – because of the bumper pack.
As a result of these three things (and again, mainly the bumper pack), we managed to get just over fifty comics out, and did 14 Death Roulettes. We saw a slight dent on return compared to what each of these would have made individually, but frankly, they simply wouldn’t have sold individually in those numbers. The bumper pack is here to stay, and I fully intend to offer it out in future (it will have to be adjusted as more comics come out, obviously, and as the one-shots make up a smaller percentage of the table stock, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out).