CON CIRCUIT: Shaun Keenan Returns

THE CON CIRCUIT is a new regular column that focuses on life on the convention trail – from the perspective of exhibitors, organisers, volunteers and attendees. There’s so many different ways to approach these kinds of events (big and small) – so hopefully this column will help you to better prepare your own shows, by learning from the mistakes and successes of others. If you’ve got a convention story you’d like to share with us, get in touch!

This week we’re joined by Shaun Keenan, who has been running his COMICS2MOVIES stall for the last 7 years across 4 countries, selling a range of locally-produced and international artist prints, as well as his self-published comic series, XCT: Xtreme Champion Tournament.

 

6 months of 2018 down already. What have I learned?

Have a plan. Now that’s easier said than done, especially if you have never done conventions before,
but I can tell you that I have done better in the last 6 months than I have done in the 18 previous.

It all started late last year when I finally had no conventions and some time to think about the year
ahead. I wanted to shift my focus away from my limited-edition print business and focus more on
both my comic book series the Xtreme Champion Tournament and the publishing side of comics.
This has resulted in a massive increase in comic sales as well as a larger junk of my overall sales for
the financial year.

So, what was the key?

  1. Set targets
  2. Understand who you’re selling to.
  3. Hold myself to account
  4. Review and adapt

Set reasonable and realistic targets was a main focus and something quite simple to implement.
Although when talking to a lot of other convention exhibitors this is something people rarely do.
Having a target not only kept me focus across the weekend but when I reached the initial target I
was able to celebrate and then reset for my next target.

Understand who your selling to is a big one. For example, the people attending Walker Stalker Con
are a very different market to those attending Indie Comic Con. Adjusting my selling style, the stock I
took to the convention and understanding who I’m trying to sell to really helped me maximise my
sales and hit those targets from point one.

Holding myself to account is the key to making this work. This is difficult if you’re not 100% honest
with yourself. For me if I didn’t hit a target or I wasn’t putting in 100% I would make sure I held
myself to account and not make excuses for my results. It’s easy to blame everything and everyone
else but by setting realistic targets before the convention it helped keep things in focus and
understand what I could control.

The fourth point which is review and adapt is about making sure I’m not just doing the same thing
convention in and convention out. I had several different setups this year, most worked better and I
was able to replicate them at different conventions. I was more mindful of what was and wasn’t
selling and what was the best way to sell more comics in different settings.

I put the above 4 simple steps in place and believe that they are the key to the improvement I have
had. There are other factors that come into play e.g. attendance at conventions, more comics, booth
position but they are a good foundation on which to build.

I look forward to the next 6 months with some international conventions, new goals and more
comics with XCT: Breakout being released in October and the debut of our Sci-Fi series Terralympus.
So, make sure you keep an eye out for COMICS2MOVIES at a convention near you.

From Your Friendly Convention Exhibitor
Shaun Keenan

About Darren Close

Darren Close
Darren is the creator and publisher of the KILLEROO series, and also the creator of the OzComics website and subsequent drawing challenge on Facebook. He's been around the local comic scene for far too long for many people's liking. Gary Chaloner was foolish enough to make him the new Managing Editor of AustralianComicsJournal.com

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