You may have noticed a few weeks ago that I put a post up that I would be attending London Anime Con 2012. This was something that I had been looking forward to for a long time - but was also dreading at the same time. It was my first convention that I had ever been to as a dealer so I didn't have a clue what to expect. Nevertheless, when I saw an advert for it I knew that I had to give it a go and hope that the anime artwork my book contains would be enough to win the manga crowd over.
Originally, my parents were going to help me out with this convention, but as my dad had been a bit under the weather, Mum had to fill in for him. I won't lie that I felt a bit unsure of this, given that manga or fantasy was not my mum's usual cup of tea - so I did have some dread that this would be a complete disaster.
Nevertheless, Saturday morning we set off for London, found the place and unloaded the gear. I had a bit of a fit trying to find a place to leave the car (London can be a real bitch to find places to park nearby!), but after that bit of stress, we were shown to our table, set it up - then sat down to play the waiting game.
I had put a lot of money into getting ready for this convention, printing off cards, leaflets, getting a banner made and (of course) printing off copies of my book. I must say, I had some doubt about this, considering that many of the dealers here had been coming here for years and had built up a following. However, the ones we were sat near (Animepang) were really nice and gave us some good advice. Still, as I was new to this, I knew that this was going to be a bit of a struggle.
So how did it go? Was it a success? Well, I'd be lying if I said that I sold EVERY copy of my book and made thousands of pounds (in fact I probably didn't even break even once all the costs where considered), but for me it was a resounding YES! The amount of people who brought the book seemed geniunely interested in it and thanks to my Mum (who was an amazing sales person) we got a decent number of sales to justify us being there. I honestly don't think I could have coped without my mum being there! Not only that, but I got talking to a few other dealers there and exchanged cards and details with them, was recorded by the local camera man for the event AND I was interviewed for an upcoming documentary about fandom. Ok, I may not actually be shown, but at least it was good publicity!
Not only that, but one guy who brought a copy actually asked my advice on self-publishing and I gave him a few pointed. That and my Mum managed to intimdate someone dressed as Darth Vader to buy a book - the Force was clearly strong with my Mum that weekend!
The whole weekend was a real eye opener and I had a great time. Of course I took some pictures! Here are just a few of them. I'll have more up soon!
I also want to give a special mention to the newest fans of Trapped on Draconica - Jessica and Vicky, who were lucky enough to get a signed copy!
They were actually my first sale of both days! Vicky purchased a copy of it, came back the next day and her sister brought one! They were so kind in their words - even saying I was on par with Terry Pratchett! Being that's an author I have the most respect for, I was humbled by that! Thanks for making my day girls!
So I guess the question from all this experience is, would I recommend doing conventions. The answer to that is a resounding YES! They are great ways of not just promoting your work, but networking as well! Obviously, I do not recommend you going into them with the intention of selling LOTS of stuff, and you also need to pick the right convention that's best for your product. I think that any author, artist, or anyone who sells things related to a convention should use it as a stepping stone for their work. You're never too sure how it may turn out! They aren't cheap, but they are certainly worth it if you work hard at it.
A big thanks to Animeleague for giving me this opportunity and to all the dealers and exhibitions that provided kind words. A huge thanks to anyone who brought a copy of the book or artwork and also, to my Mum for being such a trooper! I honestly could not have done it without her!
More pictures of the event to follow. Also keep an eye on my blog as I will be having some special offers of the paperback coming very soon!
Until next time.
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