Preparing for a convention Part 3: Freebies

So back on to the topic of preparing for a convention and specifically the use of freebies to drive people to one’s booth.

If used correctly, freebies can help generate sales. They need not be expensive, and they MUST NOT take the place of your pitch. The best sales tool that you have is your pitch, but if you open with a “Hi would you like a bookmark?” It’s a nice way to segue into the pitch if the person accepts one. (However, it should be noted that if the person says no, then we just say “Okay” or “No problem” and leave it at that.)

Generally, we hand out bookmarks for each of our graphic novel titles. To the right is the Carp’s Eye Bookmark. The original is 2 inches by 6 inches and printed on heavy 14pt card stock. The front is glossy and in full color while the back is in b/w with text about the book.

For Out for Souls&Cookies, we have used stickers. In many ways stickers are easier because more people say yes to them, but they can be harder, because people hand them to their kids–even when the book is not for kids. Now Out For Souls&Cookies is technically all ages, however more than once people have pulled their kids away from the “demon dog book.”

The other thing we did for Faminelands: The Carp’s Eye (as it was our first title) we not only had the book mark, but I also created a short mini comic to get people interested. It was not an excerpt from the book, but a short backstory about the main character, Lark.

For Other Systems we are using a similar strategy: we have a 12-page excerpt of Chapter 4 to get people (hopefully!) excited for the novel. While I originally thought I was going to get 1500–a special on booklets at the printer made 2500 the better deal. The same excerpt is available on http://www.other-systems.com.

We also have bookcards to hand out. These are the size of business cards and  these are specifically are for the people who say, “I don’t read e-books.”

After five years I can say without a doubt, we get both sides at the conventions–people who only want digital and people who love print. Other Systems is coming out in e-book on April 1st, so the book card has a link to 48Fourteen’s comment page, I am going to tell them to let 48Fourteen know that they want to read it in print, because if there is a demand for Other Systems to go to print–it will go to print.

On a final note: Business Cards. While people won’t and shouldn’t really consider your business card a “freebie,” as an artist or writer your business cards should make people interested in your work. My business cards are full color had the cover artwork from Lure on the front and a list of all four of my titles on the back. Maria has Lord Fluff cakes from Out for Souls&Cookies on hers. Remember your business cards should not be kept. Give them out! I probably give out 1000 a year. Maria has 500 a year to give out.

 

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