The second part to the post found here http://news.deviantart.com/article/38502/
So, hopefully you've got a basic idea of what a sci fi/fantasy convention art show is, the question is... what's next? How do you get your art into the show?
I'll be breaking this journal up into the mechanics behind registering and such for the cons.
Choosing your con
This part is... well it's kind of tricky. It takes experimentation, research, and word of mouth before you settle on what conventions will be your regular ones to send to... or attend.
My favorite place to start is with this site: [link]
The guy who does this is pretty up to date on what's going on with all of the cons, and provides various ways to sort it all out.
Another place to go is [link] It's a yahoo group that was set up by the original art show director for Dragoncon (he's since stepped down and there is a wonderful couple who run it now). They have a calendar area that lists conventions as well.
Generally local cons will sell much less than the big 'name' cons, like dragcon, gencon, comiccon, etc. etc. If you hear everyone and their dog talking about it, then check it out, see if you want to try. The problem is, everyone's art is different and has different appeal. So what sells well in one venue, you can't GIVE away in another. It's all trial and error.
Now once you've chosen your con, the next step is registering. Generally if it's between two and three months before the con, I like to call/email the a.d. (art show director) first and make sure there's still space. Conventions have a limited amount of space and once it sells out... that's it. They also tend to fill up early so you really are looking a few months in advance to book your space. Especially if you're mailing in, because you need to give yourself time to get the art to them (most cons that except mail in art have a deadline to receive it. And it is rarely the actual date of the con).
Do they have space? Great. Now you need to register. Each art show is different on *where* to get the forms from, sometimes you have to poke around their web site or ask the a.d. directly. But the first piece of paperwork you need is your registration. This takes care of reserving your space, is the legal document saying you've read, understood and will abide by the art show rules, and gives the a.d. your contact info and where to send the check to. This is an important piece of paper.
There will be a section for mail in artist's specifically (if the art show accepts mail in art), and also one for agents. I'll explain about that in the next section. Also a question about if you want art in the print shop.
Fill it all out, then mail it in with your payment for your panel. If the a.d. doesn't get back to you about receiving it, it's always good to check and make sure, just in case something's happened. You dont' want to send your art if they don't have the space reserved. And that's it. You're registered.
Mail in art and Agents
If you can't attend a convention in person, you have two other options for getting your art there. You can mail your art in, but there's always a chance that the show doesn't accept mail in art (they'll say yes or no in the rules). And there's having an agent carry your art in for you.
Mail in art
The pro with mail in art is that you can show at more cons then you could possibly attend in person. The con is... you have no bloody clue what'll happen to your art from the moment you put it in the mail until it comes back home to you. There's a lot that can happen, though generally luck is on the artist's side and it tends to be okay. But you are always running a risk when you mail your art anywhere.
You will have to provide a check for the return shipping, and remember... specify that in case your art ALL SELLS, do you want the empty box shipped back to you. Some people do, some don't. It's also good to provide a return shipping label in the box as well, so the A.d. can just slap it on the box and there's no worry that the address might get written wrong. It's all done.
And don't forget. Not all cons accept mail in art. Why? Because the a.d. has to store that art until the art show, unpack and hang it, then pack it up and mail it back out. That's a LOT of extra work in an already packed schedule. But most a.d.s consider it worth it. So just make sure that mail in art is accepted before registering for a con.
Agenting is when you have someone come and put your art up for you. They're your agent, and acting on your behalf. This can be both good and bad... mainly for the same reasons why mailing is both good and bad. One thing, the registration form WILL ask if you want the check made out to the agent or to yourself. The only time you should ever have the check made out to your agent is if you have no physical way of obtaining the money yourself (say you live in another country. You could check with your bank and see if they accept international checks, but that's... not always the case. This is when you make sure your agent has a way to get you the money, usually paypal is the easiest way.). Otherwise the convention art shows will mail the funds directly to you, so again.. no reason to have the agent handle your money at all.
With agents, make sure you've given the proper information to the a.d. and if necessary have signed an agent release form (some cons require these, most don't because they consider the registration form the agent release form as well)
things to remember with both cases
Either way you go, one thing you NEED to remember is that you will not be there to fix things if something happens. So the first thing to do is label, label, label. I mean everything. Sure you have bid sheets on your artwork, but I can't count the number of times I've opened a box with the bid sheets everywhere BUT on the art. So make sure each piece is individually labeled with at the *very* least it's title and your name.
Make sure all of your paper work is filled out. Don't assume it'll be taken care of by the agent/a.d. If you're a mail in artist, I can guarantee the a.d. won't have time to fill out your paperwork for you, and they'll just box your art up and send it back. Your agent will probably be nicer. So fill out every single bit of paperwork!
Make sure when shipping your art, that it's packaged as best as possible. PACKING PEANUTS ARE A STUPID, STUPID THING. Don't use them. First off, they settle and they shift so that the art presses through them *anyway*, but secondly they get all over the place. It sucks to open box after box of packing peanuts. If you must use them, bag them. Seriously get some bags from walmart or something and stick them in them, tie them up. That way they'll provide a little more support for your art and won't go flying around everywhere when the box is opened.
Plus I guarantee you're going to hate those packing peanuts when the a.d. ships them back to you. Yes.
Just what is this ' print shop' you mentioned?
The print shop is an optional thing that most con art shows have. When you have the art show, you're limited to one piece of each image... because it's a *show*. The print shop is kind of like the retail version of the art show. People put in post cards, various products like buttons and such, WITH YOUR ART ON IT, and most importantly... prints.
You can put multiple copies of one image in the print shop and set a base price for the prints. Now one thing to remember about this? *don't* kill your art show sales. I've watched people put images up in the art show, then offer the *exact same print* in the print shop for cheaper. Then wonder why they never got a bid on their pieces. Always try to have variety, and don't put what you have in the art show... in the print shop.
Now if you have originals in the show, the print shop is the best place to sell prints OF that original. In fact, make a little bitty sign (remember, you don't have a lot of space on that panel), saying that prints are available in the print shop. People will move on to get it if they want it but don't have cash for the original.
The OTHER paperwork
Well once you have your space, you know how the art is getting there, you realize that there's MORE paperwork involved in this art show business.
The basics are this. You have a control sheet, and bid sheets. If the art show has a print shop then you'll have to have a separate control sheet for THAT art.
Don't forget to keep a copy of the control sheet for your own records. Not all conventions send you back your control sheet, they just send you a check and a list of what sold. It's good to have one for your records, just in general.
The control sheet will have the identical information that's on your bid sheets. Your name, piece title, and the sale amounts. When filling out your paperwork make sure it *all matches*. You don't want to have your min bid on your bidsheet not match the one on the control sheet.
Ending this journal for now
So now that I've killed you with MORE WORDS I'll end this journal. My next one will be on displaying your art, so that should be a little more helpful for people in general, not just for congoers.
As always, questions? Throw them here and I'll address them on the next one.