I recently attended the River City Comic Expo. As an author, I’m always looking for ways to expand my audience. I thought my young adult Whispering Woods series (sci-fi romance) would fit right into this environment.
Several writers of sci-fi and graphic novels were there signing books and serving as panelists in concurrent sessions. My son (who is also the cover artist for my YA series) volunteered to attend as my assistant. To be honest, I might’ve been lost without him. Not only could he identify every superhero who passed the table, he’s an expert on gaming and cosplay.
The organizers of the event did a terrific job of getting all the artists, guests, and vendors into the convention center. The photo to the left was taken before the doors opened to the public. I was totally surprised by the number of attendees. The place was packed!
In addition to sitting at my booth, I spoke on a panel about worldbuilding. My son served as a moderator and asked questions about our processes, inspiration, least and most favorite tasks, etc. By the end of the day, we were both exhausted.
Takeaways from this event:
- Wear comfortable shoes. I almost wore heels, but changed into jeans, t-shirt, and sandals at the last minute. Best last minute decision EVER.
- Be friendly. I’m an introvert like so many writers. This is your time to step outside the invisible box and talk to people. I found it easy to discuss the awesome costumes we saw. I also met readers who bought my books and have already posted reviews online. I was invited by fellow exhibitors to guest at similar conventions taking place this year and next.
- Have something to hand to people walking by your booth. I had bookmarks with a free download for the first book in my series. People rarely turn down a freebie. We also handed out chocolate, but the booth across the way, Shadow Con (an annual convention in West Memphis), handed out suckers that were more popular. There was even rumor of bacon-flavored ones. Hmm…
- Visit with the other vendors/authors. Timothy Koch, author of iTown, was in the booth on one side of us. I loved watching him connect with fans about his dystopian book. Mick and Redbeard, the guys who run the We’re Alive Fancast, were on the other side and so popular. I’ve now subscribed to the zombie podcast that drew so much attention.
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on a setup, so don’t. The breakdown: table rental $50, table banner printed at Walgreens Photo $16, 1000 bookmarks from gotprint.com $36.68, and mini chocolate bars $15. The book stand was new at $25, but I’ll use it again. New readers and connections–priceless.
Brinda Berry lives in the southern US with her family. She’s obsessed with cairn terriers, Kings of Leon, new technology and sandy beaches. She’s also terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.