Two and a half days at Comic Con in Denver. First time I’ve been to a Comic Con. I had seen plenty of photos and even a video or two of what a Comic Convention is like, and I’d say this pretty fairly lived up to it. Some of the folks who attend these things either are, or should be, professionally doing makeup, costumes and special effects for a living. I saw an Iron Man that might or might not have been this iron man from the 2012 Denver Comic Con. It was an amazing outfit. And, yes, I saw plenty of “slave Leia” bikinis and other comparable fare.
Mostly what I did there was sell books for Wordfire Press. I worked there during the convention all day Saturday and until 5:30pm on Sunday (today). The first day I mostly sold books, meaning I used iPads with a “Square” payment device, and made change. I did talk to a lot of attendees, describing books, encouraging them to consider some books they might be interested in, and more or less doing the work in the stall of manning a booth at a convention. That was tiring and somewhat stressful, but mostly involved making as few errors as possible in using the payment app on the iPads. I think I did OK. 🙂
But the second day I was asked to SELL BOOKS. What’s the difference between “selling books” and “SELLING BOOKS?” It’s pretty simple. Today I didn’t run transactions on the iPads. I intercepted attendees in the aisles, engaging them in conversation, asking them what their favorite kinds of stories were and helping them to discover a new author or series that they will enjoy reading. Upon successfully intercepting a potential customer, I would steer them towards the author whose books they most likely would like to hear about and purchase. If they had interests that didn’t match any of the authors present, I would direct them to books from authors who weren’t present and do my best to provide them with a reading experience they would enjoy, turning them over to one of the booth handlers when they were ready to make a purchase. That involved a lot of direct face to face encounters with people of every imaginable appearance. Including quite titillating ones.
Talk about “outside your comfort zone.” But I did it, and I enjoyed it. I talked to some very interesting people about everything from Steampunk to zombie private eyes. I also observed the interaction of authors with their fans from both sides of the tables, and there is a subtle and interesting difference in the perspective of viewing those interactions between the two sides of the table. Every author in our booth was polite, appreciative, professional and personable. I learned a lot about dealing with fans from every one of them. At one point one fan actually broke down upon meeting the author that he said had made his childhood joyful. Talk about a humbling experience.
I loved it. I am sore from neck to feet, but I really had a great time.