Thursday, August 14, 2014

Comic Con!

It used to be that the only conventions I raised an eyebrow toward were literary SF/F gatherings.  These get-togethers usually consisted of four to six hundred folks with a vested interest in the genres I write.  When comic-cons started their rising popularity, I felt they were not aimed toward my audiences.  In part this was true for the earlier conventions – at my first comic con I only managed to sell a few books. People weren’t coming with reading at the top of their minds.  Still, the siren call of thousands verses hundreds is hard to ignore when you’re out there trying to promote yourself.

It’s amazing how things change over the course of a few years. 

The comic con audiences are now a more diverse group than ever as the events have gone more mainstream across the board in so far as media is concerned.  Yes, you can buy and sell comics, but that’s simply one aspect of the shows now.  The fact that I was on a writing panel at the San Antonio comic con is an indication of just how spread out interests are now.  My book sales at these conventions easily exceeds any of the smaller conventions I’ve been at – another reflection of how the audience has spread out in their interests.  Attendance has also soared, allowing me even more exposure.

Technology and demographics also play their part in my good fortune.  E-books are by and large the media of choice for most attendees, so I sell more download cards than I do physical books.  Both the price point, and not having to lug a stack of books around the floor, help guide sales.  If you haven’t invested in download cards, you might want to take a look at places like  Don’t skimp – get the glossy cards.  It’s all about showing.

And speaking of displays, you really do need to have your game on when attending these conventions.  You can see my wife and I at our table – pity the left side of the table was cut out as these contained a great download card display.  Still, you can see several types of advertising going on from props (that’s a fanciful steam engine sculpture atop my “Tracks” novels) to iPads, with plenty of signage and vertical displays.  No less than two banners, and we’re planning a second pole banner as well.  Walking in and just slapping your books down on a table doesn’t cut it.

Comic cons, like all conventions, require some planning to arrange both tables and panels.  We’re talking six months to a year out to get your table, and they won’t be cheap.  The average cost is around $300.00 and that amount can go up at the more popular venues.  Remember that you’re there for the exposure.  And the fun (as you can see in lower picture).

See you at the next comic con!  (which in my case will be in October at Austin)



Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Proving once again there's no busines like show business.