Monday, July 23, 2018

Is That Convention or Festival a Good Fit For Authors?

Getting out to events is a great way to network, learn, and sell books. But not all conventions and festivals are the same. You have to know exactly what kind of audience they attract and go prepared. Otherwise, you might be disappointed.

Book Festivals
Usually these are geared towards readers and encourage the purchase of books. Some are a few hours long while others span a three-day weekend. Be aware of the cost of a table or booth and if there will be travel expenses. Check past attendance and talk to authors/publishers who attended the previous year. A high-cost table coupled with hotel expenses will likely result in a financial loss - unless exposure is also a major goal of yours. They also provide a great opportunity to network with other authors/publishers.

Book Expos
These are often similar to book festivals, but some expos are geared toward the publishing industry and book buyers. (Think Book Expo where publishers give out hundreds of free books.) It might be a better opportunity for networking.

Writer Conferences and Conventions
Geared toward writers, these are rarely good opportunities for selling books unless your book is aimed specifically at writers and authors. It is a great opportunity for networking and learning, as there will be many panels and sessions during the event. There may even be publishers and agents on hand to take pitches.

Sci-fi and Comic Conventions
Geared toward fans of sci-fi, comic books, horror, etc., these are good for selling books in the sci-fi, fantasy, graphic novel, comic book, and horror genre. Again, check price of booth and past attendance. There are opportunities for networking, plus you can place ads in the program guide and offer giveaways for bags and auctions.

Trade Show
A trade show is geared toward one basic type of product - boat shows, car shows, etc. They attract an audience that is interested in purchasing that type of product or has one and is a big fan. If your book fits the subject matter and would be of interest to attendees, it might be a good opportunity. Again, check booth cost and previous year’s attendance.

Art Festivals & Fairs
These feature artistic and craft items, along with a ton of food and general vendors. Sometimes books are considered art and sometimes not. They are usually not the best place to sell books though. Research each one carefully before considering.

General Festivals
These tend to focus even more on food and general vendors. Only with a very specific and targeted book will you sell well if at all.

Know what type of convention or festival you are looking for and research carefully before plunking down money for a table or booth. And always go in with an open mind, a good attitude, and a willingness to network.



Dancing Lemur Press, L.L.C. will be at a sci-fi convention July 27-29 - Raleigh Supercon.

We’ve sent bookmarks for giveaway bags and books for auctions and door prizes and we’ve placed ads in program guides. But this will be the first time we’ve had a booth at a science fiction convention.

Attendance for this event was huge last year (its first one) and it came highly recommended by another author. Factor in the cost ($425 for the booth which includes two $75 3-day passes) and the fact it’s within driving distance every day, and we decided it was worth the investment to see what happens.

We also booked three other smaller shows - Cape Fear Comic Con in Wilmington, NC on Aug. 25, Fayetteville Comic Con on Oct. 20-21, and Fanta Sci in Raleigh, NC on Mar. 22-24, 2019.

We’ll be taking photos of cosplayers (holding our books of course) and posting them on Instagram all weekend. Follow us there for some fun photos from the event.

We also posted a pre-show video on Thursday night:


Of course, if you can, come see us this weekend, July 27-29, and register to win free books!

34 comments:

  1. There sure are many different types. One has to know indeed as the investment can be large. Hope Supercon goes grand and lots of sales come due.

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  2. Good overview of all the different types of events. Hope Raleigh goes well!

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  3. I wish North Carolina was closer. I would visit your booth. Have a good time.

    Good to know the different venues. The book biz makes me think of the antique biz. You invest in what you like. You won't be disappointed in the returns even when you don't make money.

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  4. Sounds like you're going to fun - hope it proves well worth it! :)

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  5. Ann, it's all in the expectations. If you just want sales, you could be very disappointed.

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  6. Good luck at the Supercon. It should be fun to see all the people (and hopefully sell some books too).

    One day I hope to go to a writer's conference. I'd love to mingle with all the writers!

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  7. Hi Diane - good luck with this coming weekend - I'm sure it'll be worth it - sounds a sensible business decision for your Press. Yes understanding the market of your audience is very necessary ... I'm sure all the conferences will be worth while. Enjoy and good luck - cheers Hilary

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  8. The conference sounds like it will be fun. Have fun and much success too.

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  9. Great run down of the different types. Yeah, I sold some books at the local market. Most people there were there for the art and the vegetables though.

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  10. I hope you sell a lot of books. Networking is a huge thing, too. I hope the con is fun.

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  11. Holly, a third of the attendees dressed up last year, so it should be really fun.

    Loni, it does take the right book. I've know authors to sell out at farmer's markets.

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  12. I've been able to take part in a couple of local festivals and fairs. I've never come close to selling out, but I always meet some very cool authors and other industry professionals, so it's all worth it in the end.

    Best of luck at your con. Your set-up looks fantastic!

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  13. Good luck Diane with your convention.

    Yvonne.

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  14. I know I should probably be going to book festivals but comic conventions just sound so much more fun...

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  15. Once upon a time I thought people wrote a book, took it to a publisher and it either sold or didn't. Until I started blogging I had no idea what a lot of effort goes into marketing books.

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  16. MJ, that's just as valuable.

    JE, and Supercon is a ton of fun. We had a blast last year. I already have the talks picked out I want to hear. And I'm getting Michael Dorn's autograph.

    Jo, more effort than writing them, that's for sure.

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  17. Thanks for the tips on the different types of events and which ones are useful. Good luck at the sci-fi one.

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  18. I love the energy of book festivals and conferences. I hope you sell well and get your name out there even more.

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  19. I love sci-fi conventions but I’m not an author. Wish I were in Raleigh for the con! It sounds awesome

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  20. Your booth looks wonderful!
    For some reason I thought you had something going on in Sept.
    Enjoy and have fun.

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  21. Best of luck. I wish it was a little close to where I live. There's a book expo I've attended for three years. The first two were great for selling books with a big crowd. Then last year they held it at a different venue and the crowd was very small. I'm not going back this year.

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  22. I haven't been to a writer's conference in a long while. I miss it.

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  23. Some local friends and I are considering setting up a collective, so we can go in together on booths at some of these events without it being such a large cost for one person. Great information on various events!

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  24. Great post, Diane. After several disasters, (i.e. really slow, demoralizing days), at conventions, I've decided it's not worth my time and expense. I've always made at least a small profit, but is it worth the 16 hours of sitting there that could be spent more productively?

    In a word, no.

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  25. Maurice, the list of guests is amazing. I can't wait to meet Michael Dorn.

    Sandra, I have two big things going on in September, one here in NC.

    Susan, it never works when they switch like that.

    Shannon, that is a great idea.

    JH, now you know.

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  26. Good descriptions of the various events. Hope you enjoy the Supercon and make some good connections. I'd like to know what you think of it when you return.

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  27. You guys are going to have a blast! We expect lots of pictures!

    What a timely post for me. There is going to be a convention here that I thought about attending. My counselor wanted me to promote my book, sign autographs, etc. But then reality set in. Too local. Too many possibilities of running into people my hubby may know and he was uncomfortable with that so I had to say no. Maybe next year when the convention is back in town. Maybe.

    Elsie

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  28. What a great line up! Yeah Michael Dorn, hes the best! He knows so much about Star Trek TNG, probably the most out of all the actors with Marina Sirtis a close second. I wish I was there with you to meet these Sci-Fi heroes.

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  29. Even if they aren't geared to book sales, the art festivals are fun, aren't they?:)

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  30. Good luck this weekend...and thanks for explaining the different venues. Great video too!

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  31. I can see why they'd be more worth it for you. For me, I don't have the time to do anything like that. The few I've done haven't been worth it. Maybe in the future if I can return to writing full time.

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  32. Good luck with the weekend event. The descriptions of all the event types are great and certainly helpful for anyone thinking about participating in one.

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  33. How did the convention go?

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  34. Nice to hear lots of books sold.
    Hope your week is productive and pleasant.

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