Posted on

An Author’s Guide to Comic Conventions

This may be useful for anyone interested in selling their work at comic conventions, but today we’ll be focusing on authors. If you haven’t yet, check out The Con Game article for more on why I focus my book sales on comic conventions.

First Things First
Let me explain some stuff about my work so you know right where I’m coming from. Conventions may not be a good fit for everyone but if you’re looking for a new way to sell your stories and meet new fans, I think they’re pretty great.

• My books are Middle Grade. If you’re selling original work in a world of super heroes and movie stars, it’s best to know your audience. Comic conventions are full of kids and adults who refuse to grow up, so it’s a good fit for me. If you’re writing fantasy, sci-fi, horror, or super hero stories, you’re sure to find an audience here.

• I’ve got years of experience in customer service. From my days of popcorn slanging in a movie theater to my time of handing out bullets at Gander Mountain, handling a crowd is no problem for me. A big comic convention is like working the holiday rush in retail, except it’s up to you to make the sale instead of the Black Friday doorbuster ad in the newspaper.

• I draw. My books are illustrated, about one picture per ten pages. I have built up a lot of work to add to the visual appeal of my table. While this all isn’t necessary, it does help a lot to make you stand out in the sea of awesomeness that is the Artist Alley. If you aren’t able to produce your own visual supplements to your books, check out my Eye Candy article for some ideas.

Why an Author Should Consider Comic Conventions
Most of the words of wisdom out there for indie publishing focus on getting things going on Amazon. Not today, my fellow scribe!

The internet is hard. In 2014, I totally owned the Scary Stories category during the week of Halloween with my book, Monsters Around the Campfire. Despite a bunch of online promotions I had done, after Halloween, it was back to the crickets I was used to hearing. This was a real bummer because I had released the book only on Kindle. I was broke at the time with one ISBN left (those things are stupid expensive) so I decided to try my hand at a non-print release. I failed.

But now, I’ve got Monsters in print, and just as I’ve been doing since 2010, selling paperbacks is no problemo. But why is it that I can move more books in print at $10 than I can a 99 cent eBook?


There’s so much online and so many people that are good at doing that internet thing, why not narrow down the playing field? While there is plenty of competition at live shows, they give you a chance to meet and talk to your future fans. The people who have bought my books at shows are people that I talked with and got to know, even if for just a couple minutes.

And if you have always focused on online sales, many of the basics still apply here. For example, everyone that buys a book from me, and some that don’t, I get to sign up for the email list so they can get free goodies and I can let them know when the next book is out. See. That’s the con behind conventions. It isn’t to try and make a living by what you earn at shows. It’s to connect directly with your readers and to become an author whose work they look forward to reading. Just like how we do on the internet but I’m willing to bet any reader out there is going to have a fonder memory of the author they met in person over the one who turned up in their “Also Boughts”.

Let’s Get Started
Hmm. This article is looking longer than I had expected to be what with the ramblings and such. So here are some links instead of me adding more to this monstrosity.

Start Small, Start Local

Setting the Stage

Eye Candy

I’m planning on posting some more of these over time because, you know, the internet. If you want to keep an eye on things, sign up for the mailing list. It’s mostly geared toward my fiction audience, but any big news on this other weird stuff will also be coming from there… for now.

Authors! Want to shiny up your display at live events? Check out Ratatat Graphics for custom illustration. See your characters brought to life in the glorious Second Dimension!!!