Never, ever, before did the LA Convention Center saw as many super-heroes per square meter as during Stan Lee’s LA Comic Con, October 27-29. Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, Jedis, Iron Man, and other comic books superheroes took over the first floor. And so did authors, both self and traditionally published, for whom this convention was a great opportunity to promote their books and engage with a new audience. Vanta M. Black, Susan Lee, Sean Patrick Traver, and Valinda Rothman are the writers who caught our eye. We sit and talked about the opportunities, challenges and lessons they learned at LA Comic Con 2017.
“I had a great time at the LA ComicCon. Sold a lot of books to new readers, and more than a few to returning readers who were looking for my new titles,” says Sean Patrick Traver who recently launched Red Witch, event which we covered in a previous article. The author’s book publicist, Desiree Duffy, founder of Black Chateau Enterprises, organized a successful book signing during the second day of the event. Not few were those who stopped by to get a signed copy of their favorite book. A book signing is a great idea as long as you make sure you advertise it properly. A poster at your booth announcing the book signing, posts on your social media channels, and distributing flyers on the premises are some of the actions you could take.”For me as an author it’s an important show because it’s here in my hometown, for one thing, which is also the setting of my work. My plots can veer toward a graphic-novel-like sensibility, and I find a receptive, open minded audience looking to embrace unusual work at this show every year,” says Sean Patrick Traver.
Going to an event such as Comic Con as an exhibitor can serve you in various ways. It is not just about the sales, but also about PR. You can take pictures of you and your books and use them on your social media channels, connect with other artists and maybe get interviewed.
No matter how many books you read and book marketing workshops you attend nothing can teach you as much as rolling up your sleeves and jumping into action. It is the same as ballroom dancing. You need to get on the floor and just dance. Getting early to the venue, before the crowd starts to pour in, to have the time for set up is something you may take for granted until faced with the situation.
GET OUT OF YOUR CONFORT ZONE
Comic Cons are a great place to connect with new readers. “The best thing about conventions is meeting new people and inviting them to discover your work. The best thing was my panel – “Women on the Dark Side”. I created this panel so that my voice, which tends to come from a darker, more twisted side, could be heard, but I’m discovering there are so many women and men out there that want to be heard as well. It fills my soul to connect with the people who attended the panel and got something out of it,” confesses author Susan Lee, comic book creator and novelist.
“I think it’s important to be at conventions and events so you can introduce people to your work directly. It’s hard to reach people through websites and Amazon, but if they’re right in front of you, you can engage and discuss and leave that person with a real experience. Conventions and events build my fanbase and also let me find out what people like and don’t like, helping me to refine my marketing and my process,” says Susan Lee. “Someone once asked me what to do if you hit a place in a story that scares you. My response was, Then write it. You have to be willing to dig into the scary places and push past them in order to be an authentic writer. If you’re scared that people won’t read it, then write it anyway. If you’re scared that you’re not experienced enough or mature enough as a writer to write it, write it anyway. You will grow. If you’re scared just because you’re writing about the deep, dark scary inside of you, then definitely write it because that is the truth that lives within you.”
WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES
As crazy or vain this may seam, it is important that you feel good at any event. You want to feel relaxed and in a good mood so that you can greet everybody with a contagious smile instead of a frown. For Vanta M. Black, author of Oubliette, comfortable shoes are one of her secret tricks that make conventions a success for her. Add to that her genuine interest in meeting people.
“LA Comic-Con was fantastic. It is a great way to connect with readers and fans of pop culture. This year was even bigger than last. It is fun to watch this convention grow. I enjoyed meeting so many people who like to have fun. The cosplayers are always fantastic and it is energizing to be in this community,” says Vanta M. Black. “I enjoy being able to meet people and tell them about my book. As an author of a thriller/horror novel, being at LA Comic-Con means I can connect with people who enjoy genre fiction.”
We would like to thank Desiree Duffy, founder of Black Chateau Enterprieses and Publicist of the Year 2017 in Southern California, for facilitating our team access to this event.