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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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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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