“A friend and I are going to sell books at Supanova.”
“Are you going to Cosplay?”
“No. Just to Supanova.”
This was a conversation I had over brunch a week before fellow author, Rebecca Langham, and I, were to sell our books at a comic convention. And while I may be a Trekkie fan, I wasn’t cool enough to know what cosplay meant. My ignorance has since been rectified.
We both had dystopian novels to tempt book lovers with. Rebecca also had an anthology to sell where she and other authors rewrote classic fairy tales, giving them a queer twist. These books sat proudly on our small table in the Indie Artist Zone.
We began people watching as if we were patrons in a Parisian cafe, carefully studying eye-lines as potential buyers glanced over and often, breezed past. Many parents were tempted to stop, but their kids quickly marched them on to the next item of superhero merchandise. But we soon learnt the art of how to catch someone’s eye and start a conversation.
At one stage, a girl who was interested in my novel had to leave as the spirit gum holding her elf ear in place was burning her skin. As funny and tragic as this was, admiring the fans in cosplay is one of the best things about selling at these events. I’m now impressed with anyone who walks all day with a prop in hand just for authenticity. And although I wore a Star Trek t-shirt on Saturday, I didn’t see any Trekkies until Sunday.
We both watched and learnt from the more experienced indie authors. We realised our stand should have been overflowing in artwork and that we needed plenty of promotional material to hand out so that the people who didn’t stop, had information about your books to take home. I ran out of postcards on Sunday morning so I had to resort to writing my website on the back of Rebecca’s cards. It’s okay. She had many.
We both had our best sales when we weren’t at our table. When Rebecca hunted down a celebrity for an autographed picture, I sold six of her books. When I attended the Kathleen Turner Q&A session, several of my books were sold.
This was a three day event and by Sunday we discounted our novels. But we also gave away some freebies. One of mine went to a woman who was active in her local library and another to a guy who was writing his first novel and had already purchased two other books of mine.
Rebecca gave a copy of the Fairy Tale anthology to a woman in a flawless Disney Snow White outfit. This prompted me to think about photographing the best cosplay fans holding our books. It would have been a great way to share our titles on Twitter or Instagram, but at the same time, insult the people we’d ask and make us look like desperate wankers.
We were book-ended by two indie artists with images of famous fictional characters to sell. They were both extremely popular, and while we did make sales, I feel that dystopian literature is the wrong merchandise for this event. Perhaps if we were in America things may have been different. Bigger population. More sales. But if I’m not about to pay someone to turn my book into a graphic novel, then this is not the place for my current works.
Still, I had a lot of fun. I met a few other authors and did a book swap with one of them. K.E. Frazer’s indie novel about a little old lady who saves the city of Adelaide from peril, has been added to my reading pile.