Exhibiting at Comic Conventions
Let’s take a peek at the cogs inside the machine and talk about why I write and how I write on Behind the Scenes Sunday! Today I’d like to talk about the self-promotion side of being an author, specifically my experiences doing convention appearances. Seemed to be a fitting topic, since this is the final day of Emerald City Comic Con, where I have been exhibiting for the past four days! This is my second year at Emerald City Comic Con and only my second year doing conventions at all, so I thought it might be worthwhile to share what it’s been like, why I do conventions, and tips and tricks I’d recommend employing if you’re thinking about taking the convention route yourself.
First of all, be prepared for a lot of work WELL IN ADVANCE of the convention even starting. This is work in addition to already writing, proofing, and producing at least one (but you should have more than that IMHO) book. You’re going to need a business license and event insurance, you’re going to need to fill out exhibitor applications (complete with juicy bios and pitches for why you deserve a spot at the convention), you’re going to need supplies to decorate and stock and run your booth (such as setting up a way to take electronic payments), and all this before you even step foot in the convention center.
Then, there’s exhibiting during the con – it is an endurance test on your body and your spirit, make no mistake about that! You will be standing for most of an eight hour+ day, selling your wares to strangers, or at least trying to sell your wares to strangers. Not every interaction leads to a sale and, it is true, some social exchanges are going to be less than pleasant.
So why do I do conventions?
I LOVE THEM.
They are so much freakin’ fun. Exhausting, stressful, yes – but ultimately, conventions are where my readers are at and there is nothing that fires up my soul more than connecting face to face with readers. If you’re writing genre fiction, like me, I’d recommend you give convention exhibiting a try, at least once. It doesn’t have to be a huge show like ECCC – start small, start local! There’s nothing wrong with that! But do try it and you might be surprised by how rewarding you find the experience to be.
TOP THREE TIPS FOR EXHIBITING AT A COMIC CONVENTION AS AN AUTHOR:
RULE #1. Have fun!
RULE #2. Celebrate your sales and forget about the ones that got away.
RULE #3. Practice your pitch. Why should someone buy your book? Hook me in as short a time as possible.