Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Convention Planning Timeline

People keep requesting timelines and checklists on How to Be a Con Artist, not realizing that every artist eventually makes their own.  While my timeline may not work for you, I hope it helps you create one that will.

1 full year in advance

Check the show out as an attendee
Hit up the artist alley
Talk to other artists, get a feel for the show
Buy from other artists, make a few friends
Start following the show on Twitter/Facebook
Find out when the Artist Alley opens, mark calendar
Begin brainstorming new things to sell

As Soon as Artist Alley Opens

Apply for show
Pay for show ASAP
Mark show on my sidebar of convention appearances, so blog readers will know
Rest assured  knowing I have a table

9 months before show

If designing new charms

  • Begin researching companies
  • Design charms
  • Order samples

If ordering through a new company

Determine their production timeline
Find out when next submission period is
Plan your product appropriately to hit that deadline

6 months before the show

Start any new merchandise I'm planning for that con year, if possible
If I decide to share it, watermark it and tag the convention I will debut it at
If ordering charms from a new company, order charms now

3 Months before Show

If intending to make new signage, make new signage
If intending to swap out display, banner, or tablecloth, now is the time to do so

Keep in mind:

Build A Sign has less than one month turnaround on all banners I've ordered from them, but they may make a mistake, and you need to give yourself time to send it back if necessary

1 month in advance

Begin restocking things like prints by reordering
Begin taking inventory of existing stock and determining what to reorder/what to discontinue
Reorder charms if necessary
If assembling an ashcan, begin assembly now
Reorder business cards/postcards if out

2 weeks in advance

Begin working on new original art I plan selling at show
Begin printing and assembling Sassy Buttons
New prices signs, printed and laminated
Go through kitty and make sure I have enough of the appropriate bills


1 week in advance
Print and cut stickers
Print, cut, glue, laminate bookmarks
Print Ashcans at Office Max/Office Depot
Assemble Ashcans

Two days before leaving for show

Pull down 6' table from attic
Demo setup
Photograph final setup for reassembly at show
Pack everything
Con announcements on Twitter, Tumblr, Blog, Instagram with table number

At show, morning of

Tweet appearance at con
Tweet and Instagram commissions throughout the day
Work on some sample commissions to 'seed' the commission pile and inspire customers

After show, night of

Tweet/Tumblr/Instagram commissions completed that day using the convention's hashtag to drive sales for next day