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Setting up at Conventions

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by troynos, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

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    Anyone done this as a no-name/self-published/small press author? If so, what were the results? Good times? Not worth it?

    I, spur of the moment, signed up to do a summer series book signing at a local indie and I've been looking at a couple conventions that do author alleys (like artists alley at the comic conventions).

    It could be a lot of fun and a good way to get the name and books out there. But looking for reviews from any that have done it.
     
  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Auror

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    I've attended a quite a number of conventions and author signings, group and individual in a host of venues.

    First, the larger the convention, the more foot traffic, but also the larger number of authors you will be 'competing' against, and some of them very big names--that's what draws people to the literary spectrum of the events.

    Often, you apply to be a guest at many conventions. You are expected to participate on panels and such. Sometimes you're given a table, or you pay a small fee for a table (like $15 or $25 dollars for the weekend) in author ally. Some just have signing times (a couple hours here and there at a designated signing table or booth). Medium and larger conventions, in addition to authors, have artists, movie/television personalities, gaming, cosplay contests and events, etc., and the literary track is sometimes not the main draw. So think of the potential audience and if your writing/books might or might not be a good fit.

    Other smaller events, you are an exhibitioner, and get a table, but don't participate on panels and such. You don't necessarily apply, but you pay for a table. Sometimes those running try to balance out who is there...a good mix of artists, comic book writers/authors, authors (and genres--horror, fantasy, SF, etc.), cosplay, podcast, SCA, etc. (they do this at larger cons/events too) And then there are the actual vendors, that sell books, games, t-shirts, figurines, knickknacks, etc. You meet and greet people passing by. There are some events like at the larger conventions, like cosplay and costume contests, maybe a limited number of panels and events. Some are only one day events, instead of entire weekends.

    Rarely will you earn your expenses back--table fee, food, gas, and possibly hotel stay--in book sales. Sometimes there is a bump in ebook and audiobook sales that follow for a week or so, but still, rarely enough to account for two nights in a hotel--at least it never has for me.

    Every convention is different, so how things are set up at one, may not be exactly how they are set up and run at another.

    You do get to meet readers, fans and other authors, and get to network some. You can learn from panels and talking directly to readers. Sometimes there are editors and publishers there as well (Baen books for example, often has sets up at conventions. They have a traveling road show sort of thing, where they (they being at least an editor and an author) give away books, do a presentation, answer questions, etc. Overall, it's a good time, if conventions and talking to readers about fantasy/SF and such is your sort of thing.

    So, is it 'worth it' depends on your definition. Will you come out a head in profit vs. expenses? Probably not. Is the networking/learning/meeting and greeting of value? Connection with readers? That's hard for me to say for you. Obviously, I am a guest/exhibitioner at events each year. I do presentations at libraries, show up at local arts festivals, etc. So I think it's 'worth it'.

    If you're thinking about it, here are a couple articles I wrote that might be of interest or value:

    What to Bring to a Book Signing
    Participating as a Panelist

    If you do decide to do some conventions/signing events, good luck. While some venues have proven better than others, I think overall doing them is worthwhile.
     
    troynos likes this.
  3. troynos

    troynos Minstrel

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    I'll check out the articles.

    I've been a panelist before and enjoy doing that. Which is funny because I hate public speaking.

    I'm looking at it more for the networking and exposure, getting the name out there.
     
  4. Froboy69

    Froboy69 Dreamer

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    I've always wondered about this since I want to invest in setting up a booth for something like this...
     
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