Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I stepped away from thinking about APE last night, just to clear my head a bit. I spent all night with my mind completely removed from comics—only to find myself lying awake for too many hours, thinking about table design for MoCCA.

I was planning on looking at some other tables at APE, and I did, but the best observations I made were at our own table.

Observation 1: while it is good to be alert, pleasant and available at your table, don't watch people until they make eye contact with you.

Observation 2: (related to above) I thought putting my new books up in a vertical position would help their visibility, but many people's eyes stay along the edge of the table—they are trying to avoid you until they've had a quick look at your books. They've just walked through an entire convention floor being harrassed by desperate people trying to make them feel guilty for not buying or looking at their books.

This means that the front edge of the table, maybe 4-6" deep, is your primary advertising space. It's not at eye level. It's not just below eye level. It's customer crotch level. This space essentially needs to be more interesting than the customer's own crotch, or they will pass it by. Kenny put his Fomori there and they drew attention like crizzy. He then moved them back four inches to display his mini and that attracted attention.

Observation 3: (also related) The table is 30" deep. The back 15 is dead space. As soon as I moved my display up from the back of the table, I noticed people starting to pick it up. I can only imagine what would have happened if I had put the new books right at the front of the table and the old issues on the display.

Observation 4: While that first 6" is your fastball target, you want to be able to cover the entire strikezone with eye-catchingness (this doesn't mean crowd the zone). From the middle of the chest to just above the knees should be all about showing off the books.

Challenge: Create a display that grabs the right attention in those first 6" and then moves the customer up through the other books. The books do sell when people look at them. The challenge, as ever, is to get them to make that first step.

Thoughts: The display I had at the show wasn't all that I'd hoped. I somehow forgot to apply the front pieces that would have made it look a bit better (and then left them in NJ). I quickly scribbled out descriptions and prices for the books, but I should have had that signage done beforehand (and it should have been typeset). Still, without understading the lessons above, it wouldn't have made that much of a difference.


Blogger Marcos Perez said...

probably right about the difference making. I think better thought out signs, either typeset or neatly stylized handlettering, looks nicer. and the new stuff should be at the fronts always. most people picked up tm#4 and #3, not because they were more recent. but they were close. Another theory for why people do this is, they DONT want to get close to you. I think if they like what they see ( and this is soley from how i approach a table) they get close enough to look at covers and read them. if they are intriqued they pick up the closest thing. if they like it, the shyer folk will just buy, others will ask questions, then you interact. I find it annoying if im looking and i can feel someones eyes on me, or they start talking to me to eagerly. its often more comfortable if there are other people at the table, so the attention isnt solely on you. i think standing up and being excited is good (though standing is neither here nor there to me), but leaning forward, aggressive posturing, and sales pitches that aren't asked for are turn-offs. they make you want to leave the table. i think there is a relaxed center. I find proprietors that are having a good time themselves are ones whose tables i like and whom im more likely to get into a conversation with about their books. In the end alot of this industry is about people liking you. they are that much more likely to give you a shot if they like the vibe they get. and i think what happend with us was a palpable tenseness. people sense that shit and dont want to interact. its like wimmins. ya gotta let em' know that u dont care if they buy your books or not, cuz if they dont someone else will. run that game.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

I think all of that is true. I also think it was a bad show (supposedly NBM couldn't GIVE their books away).

I definitely think we never really found our comfort groove. That ease we carry so well. I almost wonder what it'd have been like if we had gotten some of our edginess out at an earlier show.

I think we normally come across as the guys people are actually relieved to be around, but we didn't really have that this year.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Marcos Perez said...

im curious how it went for others. havent seen many posts yet.

2:34 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

I actually went to the engine, following Floopie Spurge's finger pointing at the Oni first-day review. They couldn't have done better, apparently. The show was a roaring success.

Then a guy from NBM pointed out that the show actually sucked.

2:41 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Also, Ian Brill mentioned that he was hearing a lot of attendance complaints from vendors.

2:42 PM  

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