Wednesday, 22 June 2016

4 Things I Learnt from Attending Supanova - A Pop Culture Expo

Let me start by saying that Supanova was amazing! Having never attended a pop culture expo before,  I had no idea what to expect, nor whether a dark urban fantasy author like me would fit in. After all, Supanova is for afficionados of comic book heroes, epic fantasy and sci-fi TV shows and movies, and gamers. Cosplayers strut around in the most incredible costumes, posing for fan photos, demonstrating their skills and taking part in re-enactments.
It's a theatrical parade and somewhere in-between are the illustrators and the authors.
So I'm happy to say, that I fit right in.

Apart from the spectacle, and the fun, what did I learn?

1. Readers attend these events to buy books, particularly paperbacks. 
As I've heard many times, most people enjoy the feel of a book and they're willing to spend their money on a series rather than on a stand-alone. I sold eleven box sets over the Supanova weekend. For a mid-list author like me, that's excellent.
Now, not having a physical box cover into which I could slot my books, I had to get creative. A pretty purple ribbon and Dantonville pen did the trick. Offering the box-set at a sizeable discount and throwing in a gift or two, proved even better.

2. Include giveaways.
Never underestimate the power of a gift. Everyone loves free merchandise, and for the occasion I'd ordered some personalised pens and a dozen mugs displaying the Dantonville logo. Then I made a range of different-coloured charm bracelets and blood-vial pendants. Excuse the pun, but they worked a charm!

3. Hand out as many business cards as you can.
Everyone who receives a card is a potential new reader and future fan. Yay! Can never have enough of them.
Keep the cards front and centre where people can easily pick them up. I included my website, Facebook author page and twitter handle on the front rather than on the back of the card, where people rarely look.
Over the next three days, I noticed an increase in the humber of visits and likes to my Facebook page, and sales of the ebook version of my books - on Amazon AU - rose as well.
Proves that people are interested. They wouldn't take a card if they weren't.

4. Not everyone is interested in signing up to a newsletter.
Many people either ignored the newsletter sheet, or were reluctant to sign up when asked. And I don't blame them. I'm an unknown quantity, and who wants to receive more spam in the email? That's why I prefer to hand out business cards. It gives people the chance to check out my website, peruse my books and decide whether they'd want to be on my mailing list, so when they do sign up, it's genuine.

Will I attend Supanova next year? Not sure. It's a lot of work setting up and dismantling, but I introduced my series to a whole bunch of new readers. That alone made it worth it. Did I make a profit? No, but I wasn't expecting to. It was nice to break even, though. Supanova was my opportunity to reach a new - and local - audience, and it worked.


Claudette Melanson said...

Some great tips Tima and I agree with all of them! I always give a free gift with a book sale. Take them from my Kawii box subscription. My $100 quarterly giveaway is a great draw for newsletter sign ups. As soon as I say I give away $100 cash they leave their email rather quickly in my little notebook ;). I also give out biz cards to everyone I know. When I go to a coffee shop...Tims up here. I always place some cards sneakily around.....LOL

Tima Maria said...

Thanks Claudette. I never tried doing the $100 gift card - can't afford to do that especially with the current exchange rate. Must try leaving my card in coffee shops, lol.