by Chris Robertson
Spiderman… Batman… Superman… Elephant and Piggy…Paddington Bear…The Very Hungry Caterpillar? What the…?
You may think that kid-lit does not have a place at L.A. Comic Con, right? Well, maybe 10 – 20 years ago you would’ve been right. But now, given the overwhelming popularity of Comic Cons, there certainly is a place for kid-lit authors and illustrators.
I had the wonderful opportunity to not only share the SCBWI booth, selling and signing books, with some delightful and talented book authors and illustrators, I also participated in a panel discussion, “Are You A Secret Kid-Lit Writer or Illustrator? SCBWI Can Help!”. The panel featured Rosalind Barden, Elisa Parhad, Sue Berger, and myself, and was moderated by panel organizer and L.A. Comic Con/SCBWI SoCal liaison R. S. Mellette.
Saturday morning started with a bang. At 10 am, our panel discussed the benefits of being an SCBWI member and fielded many intriguing questions with topics ranging from copyrighting your work before submitting to presenting a picture book dummy. Although each panelist came from a different point of view, it cohesively and organically worked. Plus, it helped having R. S. Mellette as moderator, as he is a kid-lit author himself.
After the panel, I explored the Con with my 20 and 8 year old sons. Navigating through the crowds at this point proved to be quite a challenge. Not only because of mass numbers of attendees, but also because there was much to see and experience! Comic books. Artists selling their work. Lego vendors. Animators. Game designers. Stage presentations. Movie stars. TV stars. Toy makers. Tons of panel discussions. And of course, costumes, costumes, costumes!
At noon, I arrived at the SCBWI booth #811. There to greet me was R. S. Mellette and kid-lit authors Kelly McNeil and Elisa Parhad. As I started my three hour “shift,” I felt lucky to share the booth with fellow, passionate book creators. Through a Facebook post, Elisa Parhad shared that “Comic Con was the most entertaining time I’ve ever had signing books. You can’t get bored when costumed creatures and wacky characters from worlds you don’t know are walking by.” She put it perfectly.
Besides the conferences and one-day workshops, I strongly feel that L.A. Comic Con is the most vital and energizing event you can participate in as an SCBWI PAL member. There are literally thousands of people attending (many in the most outrageous costumes), so there is a constant flow of onlookers and customers passing by. It was such a wonderful opportunity to share my books with each and every one who approached the booth; my young son even helped out by giving away a couple hundred of my bookmarks promoting my books.
You never know who will see your book when you attend L.A. Comic Con. Could be a Hollywood producer. Perhaps a curious parent. Or better yet, a child who has yet to become familiar with your work.
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Ruining giraffes. Escaping hot lava. Dancing alligators. Whisper tickles and whisker tickles. Yellow umbrellas. The Statue of Liberty as a toddler. These are just a few of the fun and engaging topics tackled by Chris Robertson in the wide array of his children’s picture books. Learn more about Chris Robertson on his website, follow him on Twitter, or on Instagram and Facebook.
Images provided by Chris Robertson.