I sold books at my first comic con this February, at the Great Lakes Comic Con in Warren, Michigan. I was nervous to get into comic cons, mostly because there is a lot of investment in event fees, getting there, taking time off from my other work, dealing with the kids, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to sell enough books to even start to make up for that. But, my friend Lisa talked me into it – and I’m glad. It went pretty well, especially for a first try.
When I first got there, Chris realized that, in his desire to load it at the last minute, he’d left the cover poster in Ohio. Signs are important, as they draw interest and can cause people to see what your writing (or other art) is about. So while he rushed off on a mission to print a substitute (he made it happen, super-hero style!) I set up the station.
Once I had the books out on the gorgeous new table runner my mom made me, it took about ten seconds for my first mishap. I saw a bottle and thought, “Oh, Chris got me this carbonated drink to enjoy. How nice.” And I opened it, being sure to turn the cap slowly. Not slowly enough. In a multi-directional explosion of berry-flavored water that I can’t really exaggerate, I somehow managed to spray this stuff on myself, on the floor, on the chair – with drops landing all the way up to the books. Yet, not a single book was touched. I feel like some sort of writer magic overtook me in this moment as I contorted myself to block the spray while I resealed the cap. A man was walking by, and I’m not even going to try to describe the look he gave me. So it must have been pretty dramatic. Why I didn’t snap a picture of the aftermath, I can’t explain. Shock, probably. It would have been quite a picture. When Chris returned with the sign about ten seconds before the show started, the rest of the water (after what I could do with paper towels from the restroom) had finally dried up, and we were ready to go.
I really enjoyed meeting the people. There is a real comradery at events like this (I have attended them just never been a guest before), between people that aren’t afraid to enjoy a bit of magic in their lives, and also who use that magic as an outlet to help with other challenges they face. In significant ways, these were my people, and I had a great time talking to them. Which says a lot, as those types of interactions can be difficult for me.
I have an admittedly hard time promoting my own products, but Anna’s lovely covers certainly helped. Also, I learned a new trick: offer that people can read the reviews online. I was surprised how effective that was, even in a face-to-face setting. You, my reviewers, are my best asset, as a few people even came back to buy the book after reading the reviews on their phone. I sold quite a few copies of both The Banished Craft and Spireseeker – yay! I love getting my stories into people’s hands. : )
So I’ve got the hang of this now. It’s still going to be a challenge financially and logistically, but I’ll work it out. If you like what I do, please tell people about it and encourage them to buy and gift copies of the books. And keep leaving those reviews – they appear to sell books much better than I do! If you’d like to see me this spring, please stop by Gem City Comic Con, Dayton, Ohio, 2-3 April, or Motor City Comic Con in Novi (Detroit), Michigan, 13-15 May. I would love that.
And don’t forget to follow along at http://facebook.com/epicheals – the cover for The Fettered Flame will be up very soon! The book is basically finished now, as I am in the copy editing and proofreading stages. I’m still looking for reviewers of repute for the back cover, so if you know anyone that would be interested, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m very happy with how it turned out, and hope you’ll like it too.
Cheers – E.D.E. Bell, 19 March 2016