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Promoting your book at conventions

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Feo Takahari, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    There are a fair number of science fiction and fantasy conventions in my area, and I'm thinking of trying to promote my book at one. The problem is, I've never attended a convention for anything other than Cub Scouts. I've found a few guides (particularly to what not to do at a convention), but I'm still not entirely certain what I'm doing and what to expect. Any advice?

    Some of the resources I've found so far:
    * A detailed guide meant for comic book writers and artists
    * Bad convention etiquette
    * Worse convention etiquette
  2. Ankari

    Ankari Hero Breaker Moderator

    Are you going to the convention with actual product, or just to advertise? If you're going to advertise, I'd advise just to go as a consumer. Renting a booth can get expensive (the one in South Florida wanted $750). If you're going with products to sell, I can share what experience I collected as an observer/researcher.
  3. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

    Depends on what arrangement I can make with my publisher. If he's willing to spare me a box or two of books, I'm willing to go to the effort of selling them.
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

    Feo Takahari,

    It depends on the convention. You can often purchase table space in a vendor's room. This is often expensive, as Ankari indicated.

    Most conventions have a literary element to them, including panels and lectures and book signings. Some offer table space to invited authors/panelists. You normally need to apply ahead of time and participate on a minimum number of panels. Usually, if accepted, you get a badge for yourself and one other guest, so entry to the convention doesn't cost anything. Some authors do pretty well, but you'll still have travel expenses and lodging and food--unless you're the guest of honor (which at this stage, you won't be--but maybe some day). The odds of just breaking even are pretty long. There's a lot of things going on for guests to spend their money on--T-Shirts, signed photos, figurines, artwork, jewelry, models, and books, lots of books by lots of attending authors, and more.

    It can be a great experience meeting fellow authors, artists, editors, and readers and fans of Fantasy/SF/Gaming, etc.

    Convention etiquette and do's and don'ts are important (indicating the articles you've linked to above). I can't stress enough that being polite and professional--you can't go wrong with that.

    I wrote a couple of articles that might be of interest to you as well:

    Participating as a Panelist

    What to Bring to a Book Signing
    Jabrosky and Ankari like this.
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    I haven't been to a convention. But from what I've heard, it's a big cost for a few sales, and usually a net loss. I know if it were me, I would want to go to a convention, maybe just with business cards that link to the book for sale, and check it out before trying to figure out how to turn a profit at one.

    On the other hand, managing a table is pretty straight forward as far as sales goes. You drape a banner over the table, put up a stand on top of it, get something you can put in people's hands, take names for a mailing list, have a stack of books to sign so people can see you interacting with people, figure out a few versions of your short pitch, try to be a little happier than the person you're talking to, and use some basic techniques for the impulse buy.

    Books are a little cheap to make a profit doing table sales, though. Maybe if you were trying to sell a full series, "Buy 1 or buy all 6 books for a sale," then you might turn a profit. But going through the full sales process for each customer, having most of them walk away, and only making a few dollars when they do stay, isn't going to get you very far.
    Feo Takahari likes this.
  6. Jasonstatham

    Jasonstatham New Member

    It depends at conference. You can often buy desk area in a retailer's space. This is often costly, as if you want to do promotions as other ways you may try seo and social media marketing of your business product.

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