Fan-x Experience: It was like Halloween, but more fun
Note: for those that want to read the conclusion and move on, I have flipped this blog post.
Conclusion: What I learned about book promoting.
- Sellers need to have a free something to attract readers, which the customers will display while walking the show. For example, buttons with best lines from the book. When the reader has collected all five, they receive a discount on a book purchase. (This is probably obvious to the seasoned indie author. To a second show rookie it was enlightening).
- It’s harder to sell a series title with only book one available. While watching neighboring authors who had two or three books of a series, occasionally a reader would buy the whole series.
- All the books were purchased in the late afternoon. The buyers did not want to carry them around while walking the show.
- Fifteen bookmarks were distributed randomly through the crowd offering a book discount—only one was redeemed. (Unable to determine why).
- I had assumed that the medieval like setting of Winter’s Thief would be appealing to those with medieval costumes. However, I discovered readers are more concerned about the story than the setting.
- Be prepared with at least two elevator pitches. In my case one for boys and one for girls. It’s possible to need more.
My Fan-x Story.
Fan-x, a downsized version of Comic Con, was my second promotional book event.
Wednesday night, arrived at the convention center to pick-up credentials with hopes of making set-up easier on Thursday morning. After collecting the badges and tax forms, it was time to inspect the booth.
Oops! The space was half the planned size requiring a quick fix to down size the book exhibit furniture. But, the table was perfectly located—next to food vendors, on main aisle, close to the photo-op area, and near a major sponsor’s booth.
Setup was a quick twenty minutes, leaving two hours to checkout the other exhibitors. Most of the book vendors were located in the ten tables placed end to end. Two or three authors shared some tables.
At 3:00 pm the show started with a flood of attendees rushing to cash-in their bonus bucks on merchandise and line up for the first photo shoot.
Book sales were very slow. Okay, they were zero the first day.
Friday morning was when the location questions began—the photo-op lines blocked access to the booth for half of every hour. I began to wonder if any books would sell during the show. Then, mid-afternoon the wizards of book sales smiled and for three hours readers shopped from table to table.
Saturday was a near repeat of Friday. The authors next to us joined in an experiment to boost sales. We distributed fifteen bookmarks randomly throughout the show floor. For two hours a discount was offered on any book purchase. Only one bookmark was redeemed.
Costumes from Batman, Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and many other shows paraded around the show floor. They graciously satisfied hundreds of requests for photos. The costumes were very detailed and quite amazing.
I would like to thank Nate Paret of Woodland Studios for the banners, helping setup, lunch breaks, tearing down, and selling some books. Nate is the artist for Winter’s Thief book cover. Click here to contact Nate Paret.
As a young boy at family gatherings, I recall listening to the men after a meal. The opinions around the subjects of politics, car brands, hippies, and rock n roll filled the room with energy like aromatic smoke from a pipe. But, when the story telling began everyone found a seat or patch of floor. We sat for hours absorbing the stories, fact or fiction, that shaped who we became and it strengthened our imaginations. Fifty years later I know that a world without imagination would be pretty boring.
More at the website www.AndeanWhite.com.