This past weekend marked the completion of my first full year of promoting and attending cons and/or other events for my books. As with many other events, there was the prep, the anticipation, the wondering whether or not I would recoup my costs and hey, even make a little money. Oh, and have a good time - otherwise, what's the point?
I was leery last year when I signed up for Monster-Con 2013, because I only had out one "monster" book, PLAN B: ZOMBIE, only my zombies were funny, if not downright silly, and what if true horror/zombie fans wouldn't respond? As is often the case, balancing my time to write with performing and teaching meant that I was very close to broke. Did I seriously want to shell out money for a market I had no way of really measuring? I didn't write comedy, DIDN'T like zombies, yet there I was, with a ZOM-COM of all things, ready to sell.
But I told myself: This is an investment in ME. In this product and your belief in yourself as a writer. Even if you don't make money back, you'll meet a lot of people and start getting yourself OUT THERE.
And that's exactly what happened. Not only did I meet lots of people, I was suddenly invited to all sorts of events that I had no idea existed - all within my city throughout the year. Just like that, my con was on.
Oh, and I did sell lots of books. Turns out, there is a market for zom-com. I also learned that not everyone will want to read my books, but I shouldn't take it personally. After all, I'm very picky when it comes to buying books, so why would I expect potential readers to be any less than me?
A year and MANY events later, I came full circle by returning to Monster-Con 2014. Instead of one zombie book, I had two, plus another three books (with yet another one only weeks away from premiering). I knew a lot of other vendors and the organizers, and I was familiar with the terrain as well as the market.
As the day started and I zoomed into my marked spot, I had a gut feeling that the event was going to be successful. Everyone was in a good mood, I was in my green zombie makeup, and my setup went smoothly. Before I was halfway completed with laying out my books, I made my first sale. And it just got crazier and more exciting from there.
The entertainment was nice (though the School of Rock <an absolutely talented group of kids> made it hard to hear/talk during their performance). There were many people in costume, from teeny kids to a giant, puppet-like clown. I must say, I enjoyed all the people it managed to frighten! The only drawback would be that it was, at times, hot/humid in the mall, and as someone in costume, I found myself sweating uncomfortably.
My favorite part, though, was seeing all the friends I've made over the past year. No, it was making new friends. No, it was seeing the excitement in the eyes of my future readers as they made their purchases. No, wait, it was all the people eating green zombie finger pops!
Or maybe it was all of that.
Monster-Con 2014 was a wonderful experience that brought me back to where my entire promoting career as a writer began, and as I'd hoped, it was just as rewarding an experience as the first time.
My conclusion: my first year ended with a fabulous bang!
And that makes it worth every minute, sweat and all.