Another fun and successful weekend in the books!
This weekend I was fortunate to be one of the dozens upon dozens of talented artists at Rochester's annual convention celebrating all things nerd culture, Flower City Comic Con. This was my second big event, following the Corn Hill Arts Festival earlier this summer. It was a much different vibe, but just as fun and exciting. And as a big lover of anime and comics, frankly, I felt right at home.
My booth in Artist Alley, set up next to other authors, comic book artists and colorful prints
The First Day
The morning began a little hectic because I forgot to grab change for my booth, and my bank was closed. So before setting up, I had to run to the local grocery store to use their ATM and break 20's with a cashier. Then rush to set up haha.
While in the past the convention took place at the Blue Cross Arena downtown, F.C.C.C. now takes place at an indoor sports complex called Total Sports Experience. We were set up on one of the fields, which honestly made standing for hours at a time much easier than at Corn Hill, where I was on concrete the entire time.
Anyway, by 10 a.m., families and fans dressed in cosplay were allowed to enter. And while it took an hour or so for things to really pick up, before long I had my first sale! I had anticipated the convention would be filled with younger people, with less disposable income. And competing against wonderful art and similar books, I wondered if it would be challenging to get a sale: this book from an unknown author, or this really cool print of (insert favorite character here)?
My first customer! Cosplaying as Tanjiro from Demon Slayer,
And I was right, people were being selective. But that just made each sale mean so much more to me. Especially from the people who would say, "I'll be back to grab this later." I worked as a salesman through college, and know that phrase universally means they actually won't be coming back. But to my pleasant surprise, that wasn't the case here, and I had many returning customers. It's just a convention, and holding a book all day would've been a pain. Seeing them return really made me happy! (For future events, I want to remember to buy book bags haha)
Fortunately, I was selling at least one book an hour, and I seemed to be doing better than some of the other self-published authors I chatted with. Which, as an aside, networking with other self-published authors and discussing the trade was really valuable! By the end of the weekend, I sold two dozen books, which was half of what I brought. Yay!!
I saw so many clever and colorful cosplays across the weekend, and of course, I had to do some shopping myself. I found a local vendor called the Crafty Fox where I purchased the cutest little addition to my booth, pictured below.
This will be on my booth at all future events! Very apothecary, no?
The Second Day
The second day was a shorter day, and a little slower. But though there wasn't as much traffic, I was still selling about a book an hour. What was really cool, however, was some of my customers from day one stopped by to say hello and chat for a bit. Not only that, but I even was able to say hello to a customer from the Corn Hill Arts Festival. He told me he finished my book, and really, really enjoyed it. I was so glad to hear that, and his praise meant a lot.
Look how cute! These Stranger Things fans want to read my book as a family!
The crowd across the weekend was much more diverse than I expected. Of course, there were a bunch of younger people. But there were lots of families, friend groups and older couples. I even met a Batman '66 cosplayer who was in his 80's! Unfortunately, I forgot to grab a picture with him. But getting to interact with so many different fans with so many backgrounds was the best part about the weekend, and it was cool seeing this community come together to celebrate this shared love.
These were my people!
Cosplayers would compliment one another on their outfits. Fans would grab photos with those dressed as their favorite characters, or squeal in delight when they saw an artist had drawn one of their favorites. Anime fans, Marvel fans, DC comic fans... even if the exact interests were different, everyone was enjoying this shared culture together. And from behind my booth, it was a treat getting to watch this kind, fun and loving community.
And while work on my sequel has been a little slower than I'd like, getting to share my love with others gets me fired up! All weekend I got to talk about Isabel and the apothecary, and when someone would get excited as I explained the book, saying, "I have to have this!" - wow, what a feeling. It was an incredible weekend, and I appreciate each and every person who took a chance on me with their merch money. Hopefully, I can create some fans of my own! And who knows what future comic cons will bring? Isabel cosplay, anyone?
Until next time, thanks for reading!
There's someone behind me, isn't there?