Archon is St. Louis' biggest and longest-running science fiction/fantasy convention (38 years). Past guests of honor include George R.R. Martin and Stephen King. I actually attended this con last October just to scope things out, and I was determined to sell my books here in 2014.
So hopes were high, and I was nervous. I love selling in person, actually. I'm a natural extrovert, and I always engage with prospective buyers. At this convention, I felt like I was with my true audience. Steampunks and non-steampunks alike wanted to know more about my books.
I love meeting new people anyway, but I had so much fun getting to know my fellow book-lovers. This is why we do what we do, right?
So here's what I've learned this weekend:
1) Presenting your books to the right audience is crucial. The people attending Achon love science fiction/fantasy, so my genre was a perfect fit.
2) You need to ENGAGE with people. So many authors just sit behind their tables and passively wait
|Me and G.P. Ching|
3) Some people at cons are a little...weird. We all know this, but there's a certain segment of the sci-fi population who are socially awkward. I still tried to reach out to them. Some of them welcomed the opportunity to make friends, others...um...not so much. And it was truly painful to see one of these awkward guys trying to talk to a girl. Crash and burn.
4) Visuals are key. Invest is a professional and sturdy banner and display. Don't go cheap. Save up your pennies and do it right. A 6 tiered book rack puts your books up at eye-level, and a banner with your kick ass cover art attracts attention.
5) Which leads me to #5. If our cover art is not eye-catching. It's worth it to spend the money to get one that will draw people's attention. People passing by stopped and looked at my cover art. Oh, and we did have a giant bowl of candy out too. That helped. (We went through 12 bags of candy). I lost count of the compliments and "wows" I got from my cover art. Thank you Enggar Adirasa.
6) The amount of dedication and skill it takes to be a cosplayer is mind-boggling. Tony Acree, author and CEO of Hyra Publications, took a ton of pics. We shared a table and we had an absolute BLAST. We were for sure the two loudest people there. Here's just a few of my favorite cosplayers:
|She made this herself. Amazeballs!|
|Steampunk family. They bought my books!|
|This big dude saw my books and had to have them.|
|I'm not a Trekkie, but I got this one!|
|My #1 pick. These two were so darn authentic.|