This past weekend (Aug. 10th-20th) I participated in the Eclipse Comic Con on the campus of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Tied in to the upcoming solar eclipse that crosses the United States on Aug. 21st with the point of longest duration just minutes from Carbondale, this event had a lot going for it.
I’ve not done too many local events since I released my first book. I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in art and blues festivals out at Blue Sky Vineyards in Makanda, IL but this was my first big local event and I wasn’t disappointed.
I was set up next to another local author, Amy Hale, who I’ve met at Contamination in St. Louis in 2016. However I hadn’t really gotten to know her until now. We had a blast all weekend as we engaged new readers and got to talk with each other about our books and our journeys as writers. Her and her husband John are good people and I can’t wait to meet up with them at Penned Con in St. Louis.
The Con itself was larger than I expected. There were comic vendors, memorabilia booths, and I think five to six authors selling books or comics. We even participated in a panel on writing during the Sunday session. Authors Amy Hale, Kenny Sills, Cathy Jackson, Todd Black, myself and moderator author Brian Morris spoke about writing paths and fielded questions from the audience.
I knew going into the event I needed to sell 10 books to cover the cost of my table. I had that done within the first 2 hour of the event! That kind of early success calmed my nerves and helped me to enjoy the event quite a bit. Sales on the first day were more than expected, though on Sunday they cooled quite a bit. I’m ok with that since I was able to cover my costs and get my books in the hands of readers from all over the country as visitors to the region for the eclipse were in high attendance at the show. Because I live 15 minutes from the campus of SIU, I didn’t have hotel or travel costs making this Con a no brainer for me.
I heard by the end of the Con that organizers were fairly certain they’d be doing the event again next year. I certainly hope so. As a reasonably priced event with lots of potential growth, I’d easily add it to the list of events I plan on attending next year. Even without the eclipse drawing visitors to the region, I think the area can support such a Con.