Tabling at Your First FCBD
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What is Free Comic Book Day:
On Free Comic Book Day, participating comic book store retailers give away specially printed copies of free comic books, and some offer special deals and creator signings to those visiting their establishments. However, retailers do not receive the issues for free; they pay 12–50 cents per copy for the comics they give away during the event. In addition to comic books, some stores also give away other merchandise, such as mini posters and other movie tie-in memorabilia.[
Source: Wikipedia: Free Comic Book Day
Free Comic Book Day is an opportunity to table at your local comic shop, and sell comics, commissions, and originals. Many comic shops offer this space free of charge, so this is a great opportunity for your first table experience. Most Free Comic Book Day events tend to be low key with an initial rush early in the day that peters off.
This is primarily aimed at local comic creators, but your local shop may also be interested in your work if you have novels, children's books, a video game to demo, board games, or other geeky media for sale.
For a recap of Free Comic Book Day 2017, and a look at what I had for sale, check out this video:
My local store:
This year, my local comic shop, Rick's Comic City, rented out the large empty storefront next door for FBCD. This seemed like a great change- there is plenty of room to grow, and I know there are many Nashville-area artists who are interested in tabling at local events.
The people in the back are digging through the stacks- 50cent issues of old Marvel, DC, Vertigo titles.
Tabling at Free Comic Book Day
Ok, so you've decided you want to give Free Comic Book Day a shot. Here's what you'll need to do:
Before the show:
- Check the Free Comic Book Day site to see if stores in your area are participating
- Call or email your local store to request a table approx 2 weeks ahead of time
- Decide what you want to bring and what you'll need to prepare
- Promote your appearance on your favorite social networks- Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, even YouTube- make sure you tag Free Comic Book Day, FBCD, and your city to help people find you!
Check out this post on my top asked questions about tabling at conventions for a primer on what you'll need to get started.
At the show:
- Show up on time
- Be prepared to engage the crowd
- Design an engaging setup. You can check out How to be a Con Artist for advice!
Keep in mind:
- Your venue may not have bathroom facilities- we had to leave the premises and drive over to a McDonald's to use the bathroom.
- Your venue may have terrible lighting- if this is something you're sensitive to, make sure to take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.
- There's a huge rush initially to grab the best 'free' comics, this tapers off as the day goes on if the shop doesn't have events planned to keep people around.
- If FCBD is new to your area, people may not realize artists are selling their wares there, and may not bring money.
- Retailers have to pay for their Free Comic Book Day samples, so try to purchase something from the store, and make sure you thank the owner for hosting.
Things that sell well at Free Comic Book Day:
- Perfect bound, professionally printed comics
- Mini comics
- Small things for kids- charms, stickers, mini prints
- Original art
If you're a comic artist, and you can't participate at a physical store location, there are still ways you can celebrate Free Comic Book Day
- Use Free Comic Book Day to promote your webcomic on Twitter and Instagram! Make sure you use the hashtag #freecomicbookday and #fcbd when plugging your comic- and don't forget to include a link and a visual
- Consider putting your mini comics up on Gumroad or Itch.io for Pay What You Want. You can then promote this using the #FreeComicBookDay and #fcbd tags.
More about Free Comic Book Day