Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Survived Being a Vendor at My First Comic Con and Even Sold Some Books

The Grand Rapids Comic Con was my first con experience and I enjoyed the fun atmosphere.

On October 12th I attended the Grand Rapids Comic Con as a vendor. I arrived at dawn and set up a little shop and got my fantasy books on display. The event was letting early birds in at 9 a.m. so I had to be ready. There was already a bit of a line even at 7:30. These early risers certainly had no worse wait than the rest of the people that showed up that day. Thousands more than expected had arrived by noon and the Comic Con had to unhappily turn away approximately two thousand people due to the limitations of the venue.

I spent the day ensconced deeply in the vendor room and rather oblivious to the epic queuing outside. I was taking in my first Comic Con experience. It was a really good scene. All the costume groups were thoroughly entertaining. There were many Doctor Who groups. One young man had the David Tenant Doctor Who's hair perfect. The Kick Ass group was very good tool. Hit Girl was a hit. Spider-Man wandered about browsing comics. And zombies plodded by.

Of course there were the obligatory storm troopers and Darth Vader and Jedi in attendance. I suspect that there is more than one Darth Vader but they are never seen together. Maybe it was a situation similar to how Saddam Hussein had body doubles. But I can say that one Darth Vader who walked by my table was noticeably heavier than the other.

I like Darth's Uncle Sam needs you for Imperial Army pose.
My table had the illustrious honor of being next to the Mach 5 from Speed Racer. This exhibition is put on by a family. They tour to various conventions and show off their Mach 5. They were hobbyist superfans, not even selling anything. They had a great time, and the crowd loved the Mach 5. The Speed Racer display also provided a good landmark for describing where my table was. I hired my niece to go around the crowd and pass out coupons and she would tell people they could go look at my books by the Mach 5.

As far as selling fantasy books at the Comic Con, I did pretty well. I sold 24 books. I was running a gift pack deal on The Rys Chronicles in paperback and selling Rys Rising: Book I and its sequels for $10 each. Also I was promoting my website like crazy. I got a lot of flyers and business cards out there and collected a page of emails. Overall I was pretty pleased with my first attempt. I already have ideas for improving my table's merchandising for my next convention. I'll definitely get my sheets with review excerpts from various retailers up in stands so people can see them better.

The atmosphere at the convention was fun. It was so nice to see so many people being themselves. Costuming gives people so much joy. And there are many people, grown ups and children, who get warm and fuzzy in a place where they can happily shop for action figures and comics and feel like the world is catering to them.

Meeting other artists and dealers was a great part of the experience for me too. It's good to know that I'm not the only creative person devoted to his or her art.