by R. S. Mellette
As we prepare for the Los Angeles Comic Con on October 11-13, I’m hearing from some PAL members, “But I don’t write science fiction…”
Last year for the first time, I organized the SCBWI PAL booth at the Los Angeles Comic Con. I had no idea what to expect. The adventure started with a mass of people RUNNING through the aisles. They were not going to see a film star. They were not going to be the first to watch a new Marvel movie trailer. They were going to buy clothes – Hot Topic was having a doorbuster sale. That’s when I realized, this weekend wasn’t going to be what I expected.
When things calmed down and folks came to our booth, I learned that, not only do these people wear fashionable clothes, they read. They read like crazy! They’re the ones responsible for Harry Pottering so many other books off The New York Times Best Seller list. They are the ones who made The New York Times change the way they keep their list. Yes, they like science fiction and fantasy – which are often children’s or YA books – but they are also open to any kind of imaginative story.
So, here are four reasons why it doesn’t matter what kind of books you write or draw, you should consider going to L.A. Comic Con.
1. Comic Con attendees come to buy!
You will find customers at pretty much any Comic Con. That’s the whole point of the convention, buy stuff related to entertainment, which includes your stories and art.
2. They have kids – usually right there beside them.
If a kid likes your book, no parent is going to question the genre.
3. It’s a ton of fun!
Even if you don’t sell a single book, hanging out with your fellow PAL members, taking “Gram-worthy” pictures, letting your fans see you out and about, picking up pro tips from your peers, is worth the time and effort of making your way through the wildest mob of costumed characters you’ll ever see.
4. They are deeply dedicated fans.
We’re always telling ourselves, “It just takes one book sold to the right person to get word-of-mouth going.” Comic Cons are full of those people. Some of them are writers, some are illustrators, but most are fans. Their minds are big, beautiful, whirlwinds of energy that need our imaginations to fuel theirs. When they show up in costume, they aren’t dressing funny. They’re dressing as the characters we put in their heads. We write and draw to get those creatures out of our minds, to keep them from driving us crazy. They read to put those same characters into theirs, so that the mundane world doesn’t do to them what our imaginations might do to us.
It doesn’t matter if you write poetry, picture books, historical fiction, or science fiction; if you draw comic books, coloring books, or fine art, these people will love it.
They’ll love it; they’ll buy it; and they’ll make you glad you do what you do.
So I hope to see PAL members behind the table at our booth at L.A. Comic Con, and soon-to-be PAL members volunteering, or in front of the table buying books and asking advice.
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Billy Bobble Makes a Magic Wand is R.S. Mellette’s debut novel from Elephant Bookshelf’s Press, followed by Billy Bobble And the Witch Hunt. Prior to Billy Bobble, Mellette published Sci-Fi short stories in the anthologies: The Fall: Tales from the Apocalypse, Spring Fevers, and Summer’s Edge. Coming in the fall of 2019 Mellette has two short stories appearing in EBP’s latest anthology, Flight. One of those stories is a sneak peek into his epic sci-fi novel, Dark Star Warrior: The Morian Treasure, due out in 2020. Mellette is a regional board member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Images provided by R.S. Mellette and Jessica Chrysler.