Do your research for the Artist Alley youre attending.
Yes you decide to go to an anime convention and also have noticed that they have an Artist Alley. So you decide you want to attend the Artist Alley too. Heres where you need to do your research on the artist alley. Read the guideline for the convention and the guideline for the Artist Alley at least three times. This is so you can understand what is expected of you for the convention and artist alley. Then figure out your cost to get the convention badge, a table at the artist alley, flight cost and hotel room (if you are going to a convention out of your area or state.) Remember that attending an artist alley at a convention isnt going to be 100% profitable. You man break even on the sales you rake in at artist alley or you may not or you may pull in less than how much it cost you to attend the convention. If youre a popular artist you may break even and OR pull in extra cash.
What should you have at your table/booth?
Free flyers. Make sure they have an interesting example of your art, your name, your website and/or email address. A lot of the time con goers are already so bombarded with purchases that they might not jump right away on your art and buy right there. This helps when you have a crowded Artist Alley the people that maybe interested in your art will just take a flyer, leave and may come back later when the crowd dies down. Make them readily available at your booth for a quick grab-by. Also personally hand one to anyone who buys or even talks to you. Business cards may also be a good substitute for flyers.
A list of prices of what you are selling. It's probably not much of a hassle to print out a page of prices of the items your selling. Such as pre-made prints, plushies, buttons etc. This will cut down on the question "how much it this print?" or "how much is that plushie?" etc... Of course if you are offering commission you might want to price that also that is if you are accepting commission at the convention. If you are not going to accept commission then at least put on the pricing paper that you aren't available for commission.
Put out a sketchbook or a binder that you can let the visitors view while they decide to buy or not to buy your works. If you have a binder out with adult rated artwork be sure to check the viewers ID, but I guess that goes without saying. I know that I like to go through other artist work and see how much they've done and improved over the years. This gives me time to think about buying their works or even commissioning them.
Having the your items/works ready to be shown or sold.
At least a day or two or three before the convention have your stuff ready. If you are hoping to sell prints at your table or booth make sure you have some prints to sell. At least start off printing 10-20 prints of any images you are going to sell the first day. Then when you return home or to your hotel room you can print more for the next day and so forth. However if you are selling plushies or stuffed dolls you may spend a whole long month or two or more to prepare them for sale at your table. At least if you are considering to sell plushies you should be prepared with them a few month ahead of the convention date depending on how much you want to sell. Buttons, stickers and posters may be done a week a before the convention or earlier if you are going through a printer.
How to Commission
Well we all know three day isnt a great time frame to do twenty or so odd commission request unless you are a SUPER ARTIST with super fast hands, which is why I and many other suggests having a commission form out and readying for anyone that is ready to commission you. This will make your days at the artist alley a little easier since you can work on those commissions when you get home. Although I would suggest to have them pay their commission requests at the time of filling out that way when you get done with your commission you dont get ripped off for a free commission work. Or have them pay half and get them to pay you the other half when you are done with the commission through mail or paypal.
GET TO KNOW OTHER ARTISTS IN THE ARTIST ALLEY
Oh come on you think Artist Alley is about showing off your work and making a sale? To me I think the main reason for Artist Alley is to get to know other artist and make friends with them. It is fun to make friends and enjoy the company of other artist in the alley. Who knows they might one day want you to join them in another conventions artist alley or even want to collaborate with you on a project theyre working on.
These are some helpful hints for your time in the Artist Alley and how to better prepare yourself. Im pretty sure theres more and if I come across more Ill make another post about it to help inform you guys better. Or maybe another artist that is experienced in Artist Alley my post more information. I hope this helps you guys.