|A doodle Herb Apon drew for our Emerald City Comic Con appearance|
That meant that I suddenly had to hustle to make sure I had enough swag to make having a booth worth while and to ensure that I'd have things to give away for the whole four days of the con. So, I ordered another batch of Fish Wielder socks and also put in an order for T-shirts. I'd been wary about ordering T-shirts through any of the online T-shirt places I've worked with before. First, the on-demand printers I've worked with previously didn't always deliver consistent quality with dark T-shirts because each shirt was a one off. That made it iffy to put in a big order. Second, the shirts were very expensive--about $30 each, which meant that I wouldn't be able to order very many shirts. But then Herb recommended a local shop called Bomm Apparel. They turned out to be great and even went so far as to run me a test print on a dark green shirt so I could approve the quality. They were awesome, said they could get the shirts done on time for the con, and could print the shirts for less than a third of the price! So bam!
I went with the same sock guys I used before and they put a rush on the order so that I could get them on time for the con too. Love those guys at Eversox.
In addition to T-shirts and socks, I also got a bunch of copies of my graphic novel The Helm, from Dark Horse, to give away, I ordered another 1,000 buttons (two varieties--Brad buttons and Cover Art buttons), some business cards with a QR code for the book trailer, more Brad stickers, cover art stickers, QR code stickers, and a re-designed tote bag that is bigger, brighter and has a QR code for the website. I also had a bunch of book marks left over from the previous con, a bunch of temporary tattoos, and a bunch of posters as well. And then, my excellent publisher created a series of Character collector's cards and promotional postcards from some new Herb Apon art and put a rush on the order so that I'd have them on time. Here's the whole collection:
|SWAG! SWAG! And more SWAG!|
And the con went great! Well, there was a little hiccough at the beginning. When we got to the convention center on the day of the con, we discovered that there was no booth for us--just a gap where our booth was supposed to be. We found that out with a few hours to go before the floor opened for guests. But we managed to parlay that error into a free second table for our booth! Score.
We met lots of great people who seemed very interested and enthusiastic about the book. We gave away tons of stuff. And, we even met a couple of people who were already familiar with the book and had even read this page!
For those of you who may make your own con appearances in support of your books, here are some things that worked:
1. We put out an email sign up sheet and got several hundred email addresses.
2. We offered our big, bright, branded bags to anyone who walked by with their hands full. We managed to give out 500 bags, each with the book title and a QR code for the website on them--which gave us a big traffic boost to the website and also a lot of exposure at the con from people walking around with our bags.
3. The coloring book pages were actually a big hit, and more with adults than with kids. I guess adult coloring is a super-fast growing publishing segment these days.
4. We mostly gave away the high value swag (socks or T-shirts) to people who watched the book trailer and came back to the booth to tell us about it. That helped drive a lot of traffic to the trailer on YouTube.
As long as I'm on the topic of the trailer, I should mention that there's a new trailer that's going to be released soon. See, the deal with the first trailer was that it was supposed to go live on the day the book went on pre-sale. The plan was to get people excited about the book with the trailer so that they would click a link to buy the book on presale. Only, due to some technical difficulties, the book wasn't ready for pre-sale on time for the trailer launch. But the trailer launch couldn't be cancelled because a whole bunch of blogs and websites had already agreed to link to it on the reveal day. So, we launched the trailer with no book to buy.
|A still from the new trailer|
And finally, once the new trailer was complete, the con was over and my breathing had returned to normal, I started thinking about other ways to promote the book. One of the interesting things that happened at ECCC was that people would come over to the booth, see the characters cards and assume that we were selling a table top game. The whole card game idea has been banging around in the back of my head ever since my publisher suggested making character cards. So Herb and I fell to talking about card games and Herb told me he'd be happy to create illustrations for a game if I designed one. So...I did. I've been working on it for the last few weeks and am almost done with it now. It's tentatively titled "CARD WIELDER" and it's been through three rounds of play testing so far. In fact, I just ran a playtesting session at my local game store, Cloud Cap Games, tonight. Designing and play testing a card game has been an interesting experience. I've learned something new and had to make modifications to the rules every time I sit down to play the game with folks.
I think the prototype and the rules are basically done, and response to the game has been enthusiastic enough that I think now it's time to start figuring out how to produce the game and whether it's something I can afford to do as a promo for the book.
|Card Wielder, the epically silly Fish Wielder epic card game!|