Wow, I'm still fired up from my weekend. On Friday March 20th and Saturday March 21st, I was a regional guest at Coast Con 38 in Biloxi, MS. It was my second convention and I attended to sell my books in the Shinobi 7 Series. In a sea of Naruto, Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and other big name shows/animes, I was the minority with my unknown series. That's part of the challenge for writers/artists who are still establishing their name and popularity. I have to make people want to walk over to my table to look at my books. I have to be charismatic, genuine, and friendly. I have to NOT assume a fetal position in the corner of the room and go, "I don't wanna talk to people!" xD
You'd be surprised how much I used to be a turtle. Not an awesome ninja turtle, a hide-in-my-shell turtle. Anyway, this is off subject. Today's blog post is about my Coast Con adventure!
First things first: My outfit. Whahaha! I dressed up as a Martial Artist. Just a random one. That black belt tied around my waist? That's real! I wish I could have cosplayed an actual character, someone like Buttercup from the Powerpuff Girls or even Robin from Batman. I've got the whole "messy short black hair" thing going for me. But I was happy to go as a ninja because my best friend Ethale Lynn helped sew it and basically did all of the work.
Alright, now I'll talk about the actual convention! Friday wasn't a very crowded day. There were a lot of Attack on Titan cosplayers, Batman enthusiasts, and Homestuck. An old man even donned an Attack on Titan outfit! He looked to be around 65-70ish and he was dressed up just like the kids and teens! That was pretty cool :D
Well, there's really not much to say about Friday. I mean, I was with my boyfriend and we spent almost an hour buying gifts for other people XD It was pretty cool because as soon as we showed up to the entrance of the con, I told the person behind the table that I was Lily Benitez, the lady said "Ah, we've been waiting for you." Then she pulls this out:
Ya know what that is? That's a swag badge, ma'am/sir. I will be keeping that forever.
Saturday, the big day!
Okay, so from 1:00 to 2:00 I was selling books. Yes, I was only selling books in a one hour time frame. I was a guest at the con, not a vendor, so I couldn't have the benefits of selling all day without paying for it. As a guest, I was only allowed an hour to sell books. You know how frightening/exciting that was? When I have signings at bookstores I usually sell 1-2 books in an hour time frame. I was in Business-Lily-Mode. More like Business-Black-Belt-Lily-Mode. I was like, "In this hour, I will smile and sell my heart out! For Spartaaaaaa!"
Seven books sold in one hour. Boom. XD
That still blows my mind. Still, to this day, to this minute, to this second. It was brilliant how I did it. Wow, okay, I'm about to sound like a big brag but stay with me, please.
♪ ♫Oh won't you STAAAAAAY with me, cause you're AAAAALLLLL I need. This ain't love it's clear to see.... ♪ ♫
Reader: Lily, focus.
Right, right. Okay. So I had an hour time frame and I didn't show up early enough to talk up my signing. You know, go around and tell people that I was signing from 1-2 and they could get a book. Rookie mistake. Noob move. Like, why didn't I think about that sooner?
I had no hook. Only the people who walked by my table would see me and they didn't walk over because books didn't catch their attention.I wasn't placed inside the vendor room where people are prepared to buy things, I was in a separate section of the con and most of the attendants were going to be part of panels or play in the video game. Certainly a conundrum!
Well, the first hook I had was that I was giving away three free copies of my short story Clash of the Clans. It was free to put your name in and people who were interested in getting a free book were also able to see the other full length books I had for sale. I also had close to thirty bookmarks that I had made two signings ago. These bookmarks were cut in the shape of a kunai weapon and gave my author name and facebook page. Picture example:
So what did I do?
I gave my bookmarks to my friends and told them to go around the con and hand them out for free, also to tell them that there's a book raffle going on. Boom. There were several people who came to my table for the raffle, saw my books on display, and bought some. It really was a cool experience because I didn't plan any of this! Really! None was planned! People don't believe me when I tell them that I swag my way through my problems. Well, that was a prime example. Hahahaha!
Then, in the last minute of my signing, Patrick and I were packing up my books and this random guy walks to the table. More like a strut, actually, he was a pretty chillax guy. He's like, "Are those books in there?"
"As a matter of fact, yes," I say, "I wrote all of them!"
He already had his wallet out. "I'd like one!"
I hurry and get the first Shinobi 7 book out. Patrick is like, "You know, they're a fast read and she's already written a sequel." ((A/N quick thinking Patrick is quick thinking ;w; )
"Great," says the guy, "I'll get them both."
It was so fantastic. The guy bought the first two books and I gave him Clash of the Clans for free because he was genuinely excited to read them. I signed all three of them and he told me to sign his name...
Gino "The Dragon" Phoenix.
Thank you, Gino. You are the best, Gino. Super swag, Gino. Please notice me senpai, Gino xD
So that concludes my con adventure! I'm looking forward to going to a lot more in the future and having fun! Here are three more pictures for the blog post. A thank you to Patrick, who took the pictures xD Ethale Lynn dressed up as humanized Monokuma from Dangan Ronpa. It was a huge hit! And that Lego Guy! SO BRILLIANT! And then there's me in the Doctor Who tardis. Yuss.
Thank you for reading!