Thursday, July 5, 2012

30th Annual Heroes Convention

Charlotte, NC
June 22-24, 2012

< ---- Pic of my badge! :)

My first convention and boy, what a learning experience! HUGE thank you to John Hartness for the invite to the con and for taking time to talk me though some of the ins and outs. I learned so much from him. Not just talking to him about the profession of indie writing, but also by watching him. That man has an awesome elevator pitch for both his vampire series AND his short story series. I was jealous and I'm still trying to figure out one for mine. This is WICKED hard, in case you were curious. :)


My previous convention experience was attending/working New York Comic Con. Well, Heroes Con is a wee bit smaller and it's all in one room. Here's a pic:

This was on load in day and you can't see the other aisles to the right and left. But I'm sure you get the picture (pun intended).

The three problems for me at this con were...

A) It was a con for graphic novels/artwork/etc and I write novels w/o the graphic (for now).
B) My books have no "southern appeal."
C) I don't have a full "series."

Part of the draw for John and Stuart's books were that they took place in the south (and this was a southern convention) AND they both had a full three-part series...and people like to get a full series.
I think I can fix these three problems. How so? Well...

First off, I'll very likely have all three NYC short stories of the Clandestine Conflict done by NYCC and can sell them seperately or together. The next four take place in Boston, and the next four in Charlotte, NC. So...if we can have THOSE four done by NEXT June...we'll have a deal! In the end, I plan to take the four books for each location put into a novella and printed. So we'll have "The Clandestine Conflict - NYC" (which'll hold the story Heroes Square & the next three in New York), "The Clandestine Conflict - Boston," and so on and so forth. Each will hold four that's be 60K word count each, which works well for a single book.

Secondly, I plan to work with Ana to get our first comic for the graphic novels that will be Moon Over Manhattan ready by next summer. I got GREAT feedback on the concept and artwork I had with me at the that was a highlight for sure!

Now, I think my urban fantasy stuff will do better at NYCC than Heroes Con, but I don't plan to order too many books. Probably 30-40 vs. the 50 I'd considered before. I also will be setting up our booth differently at NYCC than at Heroes Con. Why? Well, here's the other thing I discovered/learned about myself that weekend.

I hate standing behind a table trying to sell my book. People walk by, and they know that if they stop to look at a book, the author is watching them. I know as a previous con attendee, that it makes shoppers a wee bit uncomfortable as the author or artist watches them inspect their stuff. So, as the coin has flipped and I AM the author, what did it feel like? Well,  like I was a bug in a jar who had to prove I was worth their money so they'd let me out.

You know how if you try to shop and a salesperson is loomig over you going, "Can I help you with anything? grabbed those pants? Here's a few shirts that go with those, and some jewelry...and here's a belt!" hate it. I did too. I also didn't sell as well. The minute I was out from the table I felt better and sold my book to two artists w/o even trying hard. So...the booth at NYCC will be more shopping friendly. Stay tuned for pics of how it will be. Here's how it WAS:

L to R - Stuart Jaffe, me, John Hartness

To get out from behind this table we had to walk though the back of other's booths. At NYCC they don't set it up that way (they hang short black divider curtains btwn each) so it'll be easier to redo the space.

All that said, I didn't do badly at the con. I sold 12 books of 20 there, 2 more the day after, and 2 more the day I got back. So, 16 books of the 20 purchased for the con. Not too shabby. Plus, I moved all 50 copies of my short story so that's saying something. You can get it now on Smashwords for 99 cents!

What surprised me the most was the love of those darn stickers I decided to do at the last minute! We used my new logo and had words around it with my name, website, twitter handle, etc. They were about an inch wide circular sticker and they were crazy popular! LOL! And that was BEFORE they knew there was a number on the back to win a free thumb drive with books and pics on it. We will have more at NYCC!

Pause post for a pic of me in my new platform boots! They made me as tall as Stuart! #Winning

Now, where was I? Oh yes, what else did I learn that weekend? That the chicken fingers and fries were the best option for food at the concession stand and that con vendors take more pictures of people in costume than those attending the con. LOL! What else are we to do when we don't have anyone at our table...that said, I hope we're so busy, we get NO costume pics while I'm at NYCC. ;)

Now, before I let you go, it's important I introduce you to someone very special to me. He was with me every day of the con...just down the aisle from me...making my day better. Might I introduce to you...Sir Roger Plymouth, in his Friday, Saturday, and Sunday a row!

Sir Roger belongs to Hushicho Phoenix (an artist who does some hilarous drawings...such as Wolverine Disco Dancing or Adult drawings...such as one that answers the question of which brother is more well endowed, Thor or Loki?). He's not only a darling man, but a talented one to boot!  And he wasn't the only one I met during the con. I also met Shane Pierce. He and his wife Michelle were there with his amazing paintings, Rachel Deering was there with her wife and their horror comic (Anathema, which is excellent, btw), and Jordan Hawk was there with her husband showing off their web comic character Elaine Corvidae (but she also writes M/M Paranormal Romance. Her book, "Hainted," looks fantastic!)

I'll tell you...time with these artists and meeting the loverly Natalie Foreman with McFarland Publishing made my weekend. It truly was an honor, not only to meet these folks, but to spend the weekend working side by side with them. I think those were the highlights of the con for me. Learning from John and Stuart and meeting these super talented artists! That made it all worth while. I can't wait to see who I'll meet at NYCC!

And on that note, I shall let you go! But have no fear...I will post more about my vacation (for I did more than just go to the convention) in the next week.


Tamsin :)

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