A quick personal note before the blog post begins: Update about Writing On Point – There’s been a lack of regular posts since the end of April. Life sometimes throws a lot of things at you, and this was one of those times for me. The blog took a backseat because I didn’t prepare posts ahead of time, and through April and May I was editing a book, buying a house, and preparing for the convention that you’re about to read about. Moving is the only thing left on my docket, so my work time will once again be open to writing posts for the site. Thanks for sticking around.
This past weekend the Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con took place in the Pennsylvania Convention center. It was our 4th consecutive year (5th year total) as an exhibitor, and we had more fun, sold more books, and met more fantastic people than any year previous. I’m sure it helped that there were some big-name Marvel Cinematic Universe stars (including Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, and Sebastian Stan) bringing in a crowd, but our fellow creators who were caged behind their displays alongside of us were the most amazing group, who would have been just as amazing even without the record convention attendance. Artists and writers, artisans and woodworkers, there was a huge variety and plentiful uniqueness.
The micro-press that I’m a co-founder of had two new books this year, both edited by me. I also had a chance to revisit the back cover blurb on the Vampire Flynn Series and it noticeably made a difference in our in-person sales. We saw a lot of concrete division among our customers who either preferred TVF or the Deathspell Series, with only a few interested in both. But, when they were interested, they were buying two or three books all at once, which definitely speaks to the power of series.
If you’ve never had a chance to be part of a convention and you’re a writer, or creator of any kind, I think it’s absolutely worth doing at least once in your life. You’ll spend a day or two or four surrounded by fellows, and for as much as online marketing is a necessary evil, there is absolutely nothing like standing behind a display of your own creations, watching people in the crowd take notice, and having a chance to talk to the ones who stop to ask you more about your work.
Face-to-face, people can see your passion, and what your stories mean to you. To us writer types, books are living things no matter what format they are in, but being able to talk about them, why you wrote them, the characters that live in them, is like nothing else. Author interviews online cover a lot of those topics, and I imagine pod-cast interviews are a close second to being in-person, but breathing the same air is the only place where you’ll meet readers who are visibly eager to find something different, and new, and usually will ask for your autograph after they decide to buy. (For the author in question, they say it’s both surreal and empowering.)
One of the other reasons this year’s Philly Comic Con stuck out as a fantastic event was the fact that I came home eager to get back to work. I credit the fantastic people I met, including a fellow writer who had a frustrating issue with his business cards that he used as a personalized tale to talk to customers rather than letting it drag him down, a pair of brothers who partnered together to sell both art and jewelry, and a huge amount of encouragement from anyone who noticed my vendor wrist-band and made sure to ask about what I was selling, too.
Seeing that many of us in one place – i.e. people who are pursuing their artistic and creative endeavors – also felt like a small slice of home. We filled a hundred or so tables under one roof, and there was this sense of daring brazenness, like we were doing a little of the impossible, in the air. We met some people that we’ll keep in contact with for years to come, and some that we’d seen in years past that felt like a reunion to see again. And we’ll get to do it all over next year.
To close, here’s a couple distance shots I was able to nab of two of the Marvel cast when I wasn’t behind the booth. Because the Falcon and Bucky rule, and although I’m not a huge celebrity hound, it was very mind bending to realize we were all in the same room – and I got a couple pictures to remember it.