Knowing is Half the Battle
The following article is written by SWAU moderator Joel Cooke.
Just this time last year, cons were at the top of their game, There was at least one, if not multiple cons happening every week, and they were also attracting A-List talent. As a result of conventions’ immense popularity, convention helpers (people who take people’s items on consignment to be signed by actors/artists at the convention) started appearing in droves, often with fancy names to make them sound more professional, but some of them had no business handling their own, let alone other people’s items. It did not take long for a lot of these people to make a name for themselves, be it good, or bad, as this is a tight knit community.
Now that COVID has thrown a wrench into things, making cons all but a memory of the past for the foreseeable future, meaning that people are looking to adapt and make money, so just like the rise of con helpers, there’s now the rise of private signings.
Now I’m not knocking private signings, as I’ve participated in my fair share of them, but what I am advocating for is that you do your due diligence and ask questions, and be an informed customer. I’ve seen bunch of new groups/companies/individuals that no one has heard of before, or groups that have never before had private signings. Some questions you might want to ask are:
- Do they have an established reputation?
- Do you know anyone who has used them before and can vouch for them?
- Do they know what they are doing?
- Have they done these before?
- What kinds of pens do they use?
- Are they actually facilitating the signing or are they just a partner in the signing?
- Are they actually going to be there for the signing, or are they ust sending items off to the signer?
Another couple of examples I’ve seen, is that two groups that are located in Europe (where they are taking a lot more of an aggressive stance towards stopping the spread of COVID through restricting international travel) are advertising multiple signers that do not reside in the country in which they are based, begging the question: “How are these signings happen, especially when some of these countries are talking about more restrictive measures?” The most likely case for a scenario like that, is that they are just mailing the items in to the signer, and then having the items sent back to them. The least these organizers could do is be open and honest with you and how they go about obtaining the signatures.
In closing, I’m not trying to dissuade you from participating in private signings, but rather take a quick pause and assess the situation for the protection of yourself and your money, and go into a signing with your eyes wide open.