Marc Alan Fishman: New York, New Sales, New Aggravation
So Unshaven Comics finds itself once again in the loving bosom of the Javits Center and the New York Comic Con. As I reminded you last week, Unshaven split its booth space with ComicMix in 2013. This year we split with the lovely Jim McClain of the Solution Squad (and subsequently Reading With Pictures). As of this writing – literally being written hours before you are likely seeing it posted – Unshaven has had some significant ups, and some hilarious downs. Let’s list them until I’ve wasted enough of your time.
It’s always good to see a rise in sales. Given our booth placement (ahem, Marvel-Adjacent) we figured we’d either be in the money or left drowned by lines, crowds, and cheering… and find ourselves in Bone City. Luckily for us, Marvel erected a large wall across from our table. This houses their crowds well enough, and allows us – with a little strain – to be heard. And when we have someone’s ear, according to my data, we’re 40% likely to get that sale. We love those odds. And suffice to say since we learned to upsell our typical single comic to a four-book pack (which includes some freebie swag we’re willing to lose profit on to bolster a larger book sale), we’re seeing far more than the 10% growth in books moved that we seek as a baseline for a return con visit.
Data is Unshaven Comics’ friend. It allows us to transcend anecdotal feelings, and instead supply ourselves with factual evidence when it comes to figuring out if a convention is doing us well or kicking our keister. With that being said, I am sad to report New Yorkers aren’t the nicest people we’ve dealt with. In the same amount of time spent on the show floor, Unshaven Comics is pitching about 20% less than we did at C2E2, or Wizard World Chicago. NYCC boasts traffic on the floor greater than both Chicago shows combined. The simple fact is that people are on the move at this convention. More movement means less fine folks to pitch to.
Up: New Fans!
As I mentioned above, seeing such a high closing rate is compounded by the fact that 90% of our sales are to new faces. New faces to me, proves several fun notions. It stands to argue that seeing new folks continually buy our li’l rags proves our product (and likely our passion and pitch) are worth their mettle. It also stands to consider then that the audience for sequential fiction isn’t on the outs like some would have you believe. While yes, I’m sure DC and Marvel and the like aren’t thriving on the racks like they used to, with the continuing growth of the convention scene, we’re seeing a real change to the shape of the market at large. While fans may not flock to the local comic shop every Wednesday as we’d all hope… New York Comic Con continues to instill in me the idea that maybe the fans are just more apt to explore and sample when they can meet creators face to face.
Down: Our Old Friends! Buses! The Price of Tater Tots!
OK, call this my little rib and stick at those we know and love (and New York at large). We’re two days into the convention, and no one save for Media Goddess herself, Martha Thomas, has made pains to say hello. While our editor Mike Gold dined with Debutantes and Dames at the Puck Building Party, and other East Coast Corroborators did whatever it is they do, they’ve not even waved a “Hi, and go hug yerself!” to we bearded lads. And on top of it, tonight I paid two dollars to upgrade my fries to tater tots, only to be given five of them as a serving. Sorry New York, Chicago understands portion size. And before some crazy Yankees fans point me to Manny’s or what-have-you, Mid Town and sore asses aren’t conducive to jaunts elsewhere. But I digress.
Ups, Down, and All Arounds:
Ultimately, New York Comic Con thus far has been everything we’d hoped it would be. Our sales are tracking on point as desired. Matt and I have enjoyed a few commissions. Our tablemate Jim is learning some valuable lessons (and apparently eating a hell of a lot better than us). And our hosts, the lovely Glenn and Brandy Hauman have been nothing short of perfect inn-keepers. We remain hopeful with two days left on the show floor, the best is yet to come.
Once again, Unshaven Comics would like to remind you they are at booth 1361, and could sure use some extra business to make life dandy. Stop by and mention this article? And Marc will personally thank you, and toss in some free swag with your book purchase.