Saturday, September 10, 2016

Can Writers Monetize a Con Visit?

I had an interesting exchange with Shea Fontana, a writer friend of mine. She was wondering if it's possible for a writer to monetize a con visit (Comic-Con, Dragon Con, etc.). Here it is...

Shea:  Does anyone have good resources on how to business at Cons (especially for writers)? I like going to them and hanging out with the fans, but losing several days of potential work every time is not ideal... No paid vacation in freelance life...

Roger:  Shea, I've wondered about this, too. In general, I think it's much harder for a writer to monetize a con visit.

Artists are able to justify renting a booth to sell prints and self-pubbed comics/graphic novels, etc., but unless you have successful indie titles of your own (or are able to work out some sort of appearance deal with your publisher/studio), I'm not sure how it would work for a writer. Plus, those booths can be pricey.

Most of the writer success stories I've run across involve booth rentals and/or popular sci-fi/fantasy/youth authors who do signings (often on someone else's dime).

Over the years, I've been invited to reading festivals (the book equivalent of a con) where, in exchange for appearing on panels and doing readings and signings, etc., they paid for travel and lodging expenses and gave a small per diem. Maybe asking for at least that level of "payment" when you're invited to a con can take some of the sting out of taking an unpaid vacation.

I'm not sure if that's the kind of info you're looking for, but hopefully it's at least a little bit helpful.


Shea:  This is exactly what I'm looking for! Artist can do commissions and sell prints, so maybe they can make a little cash (but from all accounts, not much). But even if I could get wholesale books to sell, being a "merchant" sounds like a certain circle of hell. So I guess it's just a publicity/networking play...

How about you folks? Any thoughts on or experience with this subject? If so, please share in the comments.

Here's a link to an enlightening post by sci-fi pro author Chuck Wendig entitled "The Pros And Cons of Pro Cons (For Writers)" It's a real eye opener!
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