If you missed out on a signed WBTH, click this button, I still have a few left.
This is the first time I have ever written “cyclopses.” Anyway, on with the newsletter.
So, how was ComicCon?
It was a lot of fun. Scary at first (mainly for financial reasons) but well worth the effort. I don’t tend to get stage fright unless I’m dealing with expensive tech, so yelling at people over a table suited me perfectly. Set-up was easy, and the convention organisers, security, etc were great.
I did something that on the surface was intentionally silly, and put three distinct things on the table. I had Lego, WBTH, and the Story Machine. The idea was to see which did best. I know this isn’t the best way to make money, but as it was my first convention, I wanted to use it to test the water. I also had some of my art, which did okay, but which really needs its own dedicated space.
I drew this one for my assistant Grace.
Spoiler alert: The book did best. So that’s what will go to the next cons, specifically the Sci-Fi ones. The Story Machine will slowly absorb my sci-fi friends.
The Story Machine did okay, but was overshadowed by WBTH, which is good news to be honest. Some toddlers stole a few stories, but don’t worry, they will soon be traumatised once they learn how to read. So I win.
The Lego did okay too, but again with the toddler problem. They were very courteous but put things back in the wrong place, so I was fighting against these tiny agents of entropy to keep my table from collapsing into a state of chaos (I see you universe, trying to decompose me again. It won’t work).
The whole convention was brilliant. I didn’t get to move around much as I was needed at my table, but that’s a good sign. People loved the book cover, and it overshadowed everything else at my table!
Here is an unedited picture of me shifting through time and space to attend comiccon. This is a real photograph from reality. I was there. This is not edited.
This is the kind of post that would get me removed from Facebook for misinformation
I met a lot of people. I saw a lot of cool cosplays. I made some new connections and some new friends. I can delete this shoutout if needs be, but I wanted to thank Lisa, Collette and Seb in particular for their passionate support, and the anonymous donor of this message and also several organs.
Stuff like this keeps me going. This person got the book on Saturday, read a bit on their train home, and beamed this to me on instagram just as I was starting to lose my mind with the venue’s wifi collapse.
Someone else returned on the Sunday to grab the book, having fallen in love with Lucy’s universe from the free preview.
People were really into THE STORY MACHINE even though it was overshadowed by my ridiculous cardboard cutout and my book cover. So next time I’ll be splitting my table, doing just the author thing or just the publisher thing. The endgoal with The Story Machine being to represent other authors and get them into the convention too, without them having to be there. People were willing to pay the £1 for the microfiction, which is a good sign, but I need some other way to get my author pals noticed, and I’ll be working on that before the next con.
Really, I want one of those huge arcade grabber machines, but for books. I know this is impractical, but so are most of my ideas. It hasn’t stopped me yet.
The book did very well. I sold them for £20 apiece which included my printing costs and an art commission and the fact that I’m signing them too. The price for unsigned on Amazon swings between £11.49 and £14.99 usually, not including postage or silly drawings of aliens, so it works out.
A vendor friend across the aisle from me told me that I was the best author they had seen so far at conventions, which is a good sign. I was also apparently the most successful. I managed to move about a third of my stock, which was enough to recouperate the costs of the table and a bit more.
(we are not counting the bookmarks and stickers in my pricing, though those also cost me money to produce)
If I am to be blunt however, I lost at least £240 of sales from the wifi cutout on the Saturday, which really pissed me off. Not only did I have to turn fans away, I also had to upset a kid who wanted a Lego set. I sent an email when I was outside the venue and the next morning security came up to me and explained they’d got a new wifi with room for more traders. So I was the victim of an avoidable oversight, which is annoying, but at least they fixed it quick. It was fine all Sunday apart from five minutes when they changed the wifi again, to an even more robust one than the initial replacement.
But on top of all that, I had fun. I was right in the middle of the place where 99% of my fanbase lives, so it was great. I met some fellow authors too!
How I pitched my book
I’m part of a comedians group on Patreon right now. Not entirely sure how I got included, but it’s meant I now know even more funny people I can look up to and learn things from. They have inspired me to be funnier.
So I thought, how about I lean into the comedy side of the book? It’s not something you can get away with on Amazon ads, facebook maybe, but not anything short form. So ComicCon was my chance to put forward the comedic foot of the book.
My pitch evolved a bit over the two days. I started by telling people they looked like they had a sense of humour (I only did this with people who genuinely did look like they had a sense of humour, and I only got one wrong).
By the second day I was asking people if they liked Science Fiction or Comedy. If they said yes to both, I asked them “How would you feel if SciFi and Comedy got together and had weird babies, and there were 47 of those babies, and you could buy them all inside one big book that I will sign for you?”
People loved that.
I didn’t even push the audience participation aspect that’s in the comedic stories, or the fact I was adding drawings to the books. I know, more marketing-oriented authors probably would put the quirky bits first and foremost on the ‘advertising copy’ but I want to provide a product that surprises and entertains people, and you can’t surprise people by telling them all the surprises before they read the damn book.
My point being, I am an entertainer first, author second, marketer third.
Maybe I missed some sales by not pushing the quirkiness of the book, maybe I’m too cautious about how I go about it (Amazon really doesn’t work for interdisciplinary fiction, you’re either serious scifi or comedy, not both in one book) and I need to work on being less cautious and showing people the weird.
I ended the convention by giving people a book and challenging them to read a page and NOT be entertained. This worked better than everything else, which proves my theory that a good book will sell itself.
It’s nice to know I wrote a good book.
My assistant Grace was not pleased to hear on Sunday morning that the previous night I had awoke convinced I had twelve fingers on each hand, and that my mum had kept me alive by spraying me with water every few minutes like a beached whale. I slept a total of two hours, and felt absolutely vile. Sunday morning was not easy, and my feet hurt a lot, but it’s my own fault. I drank a lot more on the Sunday and was fine.
I also got in the official ComicCon flyer, which shall help my quest to become a Blue Tick goblin on social media (I have a lot of shit opinions, and I think a blue tick will offer them an air of legitimacy I otherwise do not have).
A photo of me is included in this flyer feature because I wanted my face on the official ComicCon flyer. It’s been a personal goal for a while.
Snake frame from TKmaxx. An early 30th birthday present from my mum.
Yes. I got to meet David Firth. He is a real man made of human parts and he was very pleasant.
I told him how his unrelenting weirdness convinced me to keep trying at this weird author thing. My stories have always been a bit odd, but it is thanks to David that I decided not to sand my edges down for traditional publishing.
I even got him to sign a spoon, which is my favourite possession now (shame because it’s my sister’s).
I took a book to David on my second trip to his store (to buy my sister another shirt) and gave the book to him. I hope he likes it. I have a feeling he’ll read this newsletter some day, so hello David, thanks again for being an inspiration to me!
And no, you can’t use my author signature to steal my details because I use different signatures. You can however steal my blood if you like. I’m behind the big tesco at 3am. Bring your own tubes. I have a robot cat called Boris who might try to harvest your dreams though, so be careful.
That’s David Firth’s finger by the way. He included it so I had evidence he was really there. The cyclops was on his request, the sextuplenipples were my idea.
I met a lot of fellow nerds. I saw some fantastic cosplays. I made some new friends, and I sold more books in two days than I had in the two months prior.
I also got my Kickstarter book project, The Earthloop Trilogy, nearly 33% funded over the weekend, which is mindbending. If you haven’t already, you can read a free sample here. It’s about a time-travelling alien crab and his various timeloop misadventures. At one point he meets with his older and younger self at a bar. It gets ridiculous, and is very X-Files inspired.
So it’s all gone brilliantly.
I am now confident that my writing would do incredibly well at comic book stores, which is fantastic, but I’ve not been accepted by any yet. I will be trying again tonight however, using my newfound success as a selling point.
But it ain’t easy out here as a darkly comedic sci-fi author. It’s not exactly the biggest, most accessible genre, but I’m hoping to change that.
You have all helped enormously.
Next week I’ll be talking in more detail about Earthloop and my scifi comedy podcast. Maybe I can get a few of you on as guests???
Thanks for being here!
Assistant grace thinks heat strokes a terrible way to enter parallel universes and that you should drink less juice and coke and more water 😂