Embrace Conventions

I recently attended StarFest in Denver, a sci-fi and fantasy convention. Due to a busy schedule, I was only there for a few hours a couple of times over the weekend. I got the opportunity to speak on a panel about writing combat in fantasy, which I found both educational and inspiring. I registered too late to get an author table so I simply walked around with a messenger bag full of copies of my book, hoping to sell them.

I sold one. And I didn’t even sell it, I traded it to another author for her book.

I’m still basically a convention virgin, but here’s a few suggestions, as much for my future convention-going self as anyone.

– Register early. Sort of a no-brainer. Sign up and get an author table. I can’t think of a better way to get yourself and your book in front of your target audience.

– Talk to people. Drink a little if you need to calm your nerves, but you have to talk to people. Tell them you’re an author. Tell them about your book. Ask about their interests. Make connections. Learn about other conventions; they’re all marketed there. Make plans to go to other conventions. Make friends.

– Don’t be afraid to be a nerd. Ask about games people are playing. Talk about Avengers movies.

– Find a way to maximize profits on every book sold. Most authors were selling their books for $10; mine costs almost $10 to print. That’s a poor business model. Even if you’re just giving books away for free to get exposure, you can only do that for so long at $10 a book.

– People will be interested to learn that you’ve just published a new book. Use that. Being new to the scene isn’t a bad thing, it’s an asset.

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