Yesterday was the first time I ever attended a convention as a trader, and it was quite an experience.
This was BristolCon ninth year, and another writer friend of mine, Will MacMillian Jones, had suggested it would be a good place to promote my steampunk stuff. Well, I’m always up for that kind of thing, especially something that it’s a million miles away from home.
So I contacted the organisers and booked half a table, got to the venue and set up – which took all of ten minutes. Well, it was never going to take long, I only have one steampunk book written!
Of course, I didn’t want to look like a complete newbie, as well as Shades of Aether, I took copies of two other books to sell; Locked Up, my contemporary crime novel; and Cthulhu Cymreag 2, the anthology I have a story in. I wasn’t entirely sure that these were appropriate, but one should never miss an opportunity.
Turns out having additional books was a great idea, table would have looked bare without, especially when it turned out that the person how had the other half of the table dropped out at the last minute, and I got to spread across the whole table.
So I was there, copies of three different books to sell, all I had to do was wait was customers.
Sounds easy, but it never is. Engaging with people is actually rather difficult. It was easy to engage with other traders, with them we are all in the same boat, stuck together for however long the day lasts. Potential customers, however are much harder to catch, especially when you have three books to glance at their covers and your sandwiched between the Oxfam Book Shop with tonnes of second hand books and Grimbold Books, with their many and varied new titles, their cute mascots, and their award – all very impressive.
Still, I engaged enough to sell, though I was a little surprised to find that at a Sci-Fi convention the first thing to sell was Locked Up. By the end of the day I’d sold two Locked Up, two Cthulhu Cymreag and three Shades of Aether. Seven books in one day is not much, but it’s good for what I had to sell. It also means that I sold enough to cover the cost of the table, which is what you need to do at these things because it’s really about exposure. I made some good contacts and booked another table for next year, I might even be on a panel or two.
So I will be at the 10th Anniversary BristolCon next year, and hopefully, I’ll have more titles to sell.