One day in my Biology class I had a student casually ask if I was going to the mini Comic Con here at the beaches in Jacksonville. Not only was I not going at this point, but somehow, going to Comic Cons had never even crossed my mind. How is that possible?! I am writing young-adult science-fiction after all! I emailed the website's contact two days before the Comic Con with little hope of a reply. To my surprise, only an hour later I received confirmation that I now had a booth (for free!) with my name on it. Whoa!
I belly danced the night before and honestly, had little time to prepare. In my mind a ran through a checklist of the things I would need - lots of copies of my books, business cards, and an easel for my poster. SaLydia had a great idea of doing something with our appearance and so we decided to become Ohmanians, or residents of Ohmani. In my book people can dye the color of their skin or put patterns on their skin (temporarily) and so an hour before the convention started she painted herself blue and I painted a rainbow pattern down one side of my upper body. It looked like a last-minute botch job of cosplaying but, hey, it was better than nothing!
So we get there and my table is set-up in the best spot in the room - by the door! As I looked around the room I realized I was a little over my head. Many of the artists had customized table cloths, had gigantic banner advertisements or even full-on walls behind them with their work. Again, none of this crossed my mind...although I wouldn't have had time to get them designed and printed anyways. I forgot to think of book stands, business card stands, and the little square to take credit card payments.
Well...you live and you learn. I smiled and said hello to everyone who walked by, and many times they would come over. Once that happened I tried to give a short interesting synopsis of my book, which I had plenty of practice perfecting. In the end, I sold 12 books in the three hours it was open! Not bad for my first convention!
Seriously, I felt re-energized about the whole book selling experience after finding out marketing was like talking to a brick wall. I thought to myself, THIS IS IT! This is what I need to do! This is my market! A bunch of proud nerds and geeks :) I loved talking to this diverse and interesting group of people and talking all things comics, books, movies, and TV-shows (except I had little to contribute on the Anime genre). I had a blast!
The best part about the convention though was meeting other artists like me. One gentlemen, Jeff Harmon, was sitting next to me. Jeff's also a self-published author who does the east coast convention circuit. He informed me that conventions were the way to go for book sales, and I must say, after my experience I believe him! He also let me know about several writing clubs...and Jax even has a sci-fi writer association! Um...yes please!
I also met the lovely and talented R.J Jojola (https://www.facebook.com/rjjojolaauthor?fref=ts
). She is a dark epic fantasy writer, and such an awesome person! We've already signed up for a few Comic Cons together and I'm so excited to be sharing in the adventure of conventions with another female writer.
To prepare, I bought my first cosplay outfit :) I will be sporting a leather catsuit and a long auburn wig as I represent Talon for my next book, "An Eagle's Revenge." One of the conventions I'm most excited about is MegaCon2016 in Orlando next year! That's right...MEGACON! I'm stoked and I can't wait! But alas...I must. Catch R.J and I at Ancient City Con here in Jacksonville starting July 17th!
Conventions here I come!