This past Saturday, I attended my first ever comic book convention: Hampton Comicon in Hampton, Va. I had a table, roughly 20 copies of all three of my novels, and a slew of business cards, flyers, and bookmarks — both for my work and the work of some other self-published authors I enjoyed. From 9 a.m. until roughly 6 p.m., I sold far more books than I expected. I sold out of my allotment of Bounty (the first book), and I damn near sold out of Behind the Badge (the third book), too.
In all, I more than tripled what I paid for the table space.
But as great as the short-term gain was, what excites me most is the long-term potential. Just about everyone who stopped by my table, whether they bought a book or not, took a business card and a flyer (which had my website, email address, Amazon link, and Facebook and Twitter pages on them). A lot of them perked up when they found out my books were also on Kindle, and just about all of them loved the premise of the series.
So it’ll be interesting to see what my online sales, website hits, and social media follows look like in the coming days and weeks. But perhaps more importantly, I also made connections — meeting several other writers, discovering potential new works to check out, and maybe an artist with whom to work if I decide to dip my toe back into the comic book world.
One man approached my table saying he was looking for novels he could pitch to movie studios. He took a business card. Another man later approached about potential TV series ideas. He also left my table with a business card. Will those go anywhere? I have no idea (I’m accounting for the possibility that they were both blowing smoke up my ass), but just having the conversation was cool enough.
These were conversations I wouldn’t have had staying home, and they’re conversations I normally don’t get to have through social media or on a platform like Goodreads.
So all in all, I had fun — and clearly I’ve got a potential audience in the comic book and genre fiction crowd (which I kinda already knew). I have a library event later this month, and in May I’ll be at Tidewater Comicon (Virginia Beach, Va.). I can’t wait for both of those, and I love that I’ve sold so many books in-person that I now have to order another box or two of author copies.
It’s an added expense, but it pays for itself in the long run.
So anyone who has events like this in their area and never considered them before… maybe give them a chance. I grant my experience likely isn’t typical, but it was eye-opening the way people seemed excited about my stuff — and just how much interacting with someone in-person truly matters.