Convention Intervention: How to Survive and Thrive

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The costumes, the books, the people, and the electricity in the air. You know what I’m talking about – this phenomenon is ComicCon. Just the biggest science fiction / superhero / fantasy convention that hits hard with the super fans. I’ll be selling my books and speaking on panels at Rhode Island ComicCon the first weekend in November, and I am so excited about it. But if you’re an author like me and this is your first big multi-day event, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed. And for good reason – being a vendor at an event like this is flat-out exhausting. 

It’s just waves and waves of people walking through – which is fantastic! But it’s also so tiring because you have to be mentally and emotionally “on” the whole time. There’s barely time to use the bathroom or eat, and you gotta bring your A-game when it comes to sale pitches. So this week, as I’m preparing for ComicCon, I’m sharing my best tips for making the most of selling books at any large convention. If you do each of these things, I can personally guarantee you’ll have a great time – and make some great sales. Read on for all of that and more!

Bring more books than you think you’ll need. 

The reason for this is simple – you can always run to the car to get more books if you need them. But you can’t exactly make them poof out of thin air if you don’t. Selling out sounds dope until you realize all the people that you could’ve sold books to but didn’t – and that hurts. Besides, the convention table fees are so expensive, so you’ve got to sell a lot to even break even. Don’t limit your profit margins from the get-go! Books are heavy, I get that. But make sure you have plenty and order them in bulk with plenty of time for shipping delays – trust me, you’ll thank me later. For more reasons why events like these are worth your time, read this recent article HERE.

Have a convention buddy with you.

While it is technically possible to go it alone, I highly recommend having a built-in buddy to assist you. This ranges from setting up, breaking down, covering stuff overnight, and watching your table for you when you need to use the bathroom or participate in a panel. I usually join the event through my author association, so we all help each other succeed. It’s a really nice arrangement, and kinda feels like a big party (with added lightsabers and other cool gear). The more the merrier! And having someone to lean on (figuratively or literally) when you get tired helps a lot.

Decompress so you can be your best!

Self-care does not go out the window just because you’re hustling – I know, shocker. If it’s a multi-day convention especially, pack healthy snacks and non-messy things to eat throughout the day. Some of my favorites are hummus and veggies, pretzels, turkey sandwiches, and dried fruit. Not super exciting, but it gets the job done. At night in between each day, get plenty of sleep, and stay organized so you’re not panicking later. I usually keep an inventory list of everything I’m bringing so I can mark my sales down, broken down by the day. This is a really helpful tool for future show data as well. That way, should you decide to do this all over again, you’ll know what day(s) bring the most traffic and book sales. 

At the end of the day, just have fun with it! Rarely do you get to meet so many new readers so quickly and make a lasting impact on them. So instead of getting nervous and overwhelmed, try to view conventions as a really special opportunity – because they are!

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