Thursday, January 7, 2016

Convention Basics: Five Tips to Make Your Book Stand Out

Please welcome today's guest blogger, author A.P. Fuchs who has some great tips for making your book and you stand out at conventions.
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With so many writers these days focusing all their marketing efforts on-line, they’re putting themselves in a corner and limiting their exposure. Off-line sales are where the bread and butter is at if you play your cards right.

I’m talking conventions, which are basically glorified book signings.

Since 2007, I’ve been tabling at Central Canada Comic Con here in Winnipeg, a giant comic book convention. This show is also a big part of my paycheck, and my books fit right in because I write nerdy stuff like monster stories, superhero fiction and sci-fi.

A lot has been learned about having a successful show over the years. Here are some basics to get you started:

1. Display 

Have an eye-catching display. When competing against so many other booths and tables, you need to stand out. Bring a tablecloth because not all shows provide them. Use signage, big ones, like 11”x17” set up on stands so folks catch sight of your book’s cover or what the deal of the day is. Want to really stand out? Get a big banner printed up, one you can put behind you. This can display your name and what you do. It can feature your book covers, a web address. Lots of options.

By all means, lay your books flat if you want, but if you prop them up on book stands, all the better. It raises them above the table and draws the eye. Simple picture frame stands work fine. I use iPad ones because they compact better for transport.

Have a series? Lay them out in order of reading.

Write in multiple genres? Organize them as such on the table. Makes it easier to direct the customer to what’s what.

2. Pricing 

Big sales point. Offer convention-only pricing. I do ten dollars a novel, five bucks a novella. I make sure the customer knows the convention is the only place to get the deal. Get my stuff at a store or on-line and you’ll pay more. Everyone likes saving money.

You can also bundle your books. Have a series? Instead of three books at ten beans each, how about three for twenty-five? You can also do a buy-two-get-one-free thing. Whatever works for you provided you come out in the black all things considered.

3.  Book Stock

Better to bring more books than necessary. Nothing worse than selling out and having someone want something. With time and experience, you’ll learn your top sellers and will stock up accordingly. For a first-time show, I recommend at least fifteen copies of each title. If you only have one book out, bring at least twenty.

4. Miscellaneous Items

Scatter bookmarks and business cards around your table. If someone doesn’t buy something, at least you can send them off with a card for a potential after sale.

5. You

Be courteous, be nice, give the customer the time of day. Don’t be a fake. Answer their questions honestly. Be active. Don’t squirrel yourself away behind your table. Say hi to people as they walk past. Smile. And, please, don’t do the lonely-author thing where you sit there staring at folks, the look in your eyes saying, “Please come talk to me.” Just be cool. Relax. With time and experience, you’ll find what works for you in your personable approach. Ultimately, be yourself. This isn’t a show.

There’s so much to expand on regarding the above, but space doesn’t allow it. Why not sound off in the comments below and exchange tips and tricks with your fellow authors? I’ll tune in when I can and do the same.

About the author: 

A.P. Fuchs is the author of around thirty-five books, a plethora of short stories and comics, and has a thing for a certain ferment hops-based drink. His weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission, goes out Saturdays and is all about writing, publishing, marketing and book stuff. You get a free novelette upon signup at His main website is


Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great tips! But how do you get into these conventions.

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A.P. Fuchs said...


Sorry for the late reply. See what's going on locally? Call up local bookstores and comic shops and see if they know of any local shows. Once you have the name of the show, contact them and they'll give you details on getting a table.

A.P. Fuchs said...

Further, if you're open to traveling, Google up comic cons or horror cons or sci-fi cons and the location of your choice and see what comes up. Go to the convention's website and follow the contact link to get in touch with them. These sites also have info for those looking to table.

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