C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

10 Things I Know About Cons As A Vendor

Book Signing Setup

Guest post by Armand Rosamilia

Cthulhu and MeI’ve been to a few conventions in my time. Over the years I’ve been a vendor, a guest and a Regular Joe who paid to get in with the rest of the commoners.

My favorite conventions are the ones where I can not only be a panelist, but a vendor as well. Earn back a few bucks while chatting with other panelists and audience members and be able to afford a drive-thru fast food lunch on the long ride home after the con.

So, in no particular order… here are 10 Things I Know About Cons As A Vendor

  1. I like a full table.

At conventions I often see authors setting up to sell their two releases, and they spread them across the table. Three feet for one book and the other half of the table for the other, with nothing fancy to get me to stop and look. Heck, a lot of authors/vendors don’t invest in a few bookstands. I have 45 different print releases I can bring to a convention. I usually don’t do it. But I bought two really cool book racks, which hold 16 books to display on each. I stacked them one on top of the other… and Special Gal said it was too high and looked ridiculous. I kinda agreed. I think you need to have a good balance of too much stuff for the potential customer to look at and not enough. I put bookmarks, business cards, stickers for the Authors Supporting Our Troops event, and hide the bags of M&M’s behind the displays. Those are not for the customers.

  1. I know I always bring too many books with me.

For some reason I’m praying four crates of books will magically sell out for me. At Imaginarium I brought 289 copies in total. I sold 10. It was still a lot of books to carry back to the car on Sunday afternoon. But when/if it ever happens… ahh, Sweet Victory! I can throw the empty crates at passersby and go inside a fast food restaurant and not only order off the dollar menu.

  1. I had a banner made.

OK, technically Special Gal had it made, but it has my name on it. I used it at Imaginarium and it got a few looks and responses. It is my Dying Days zombie series (the main books, at least) and I already have plans to do future banners for future conventions. OK, fine… Special Gal is doing it.

  1. Don’t sit behind the table like an idiot.

I have an outgoing personality. I also worked retail for twenty-plus years. I enjoy interacting with someone with money in their pocket and/or hand for some reason. I find myself sitting behind the wall of books and talking to everyone around me. I need to stop doing this. At Imaginarium I rarely sat down. I stood next to the table and talked to potential customers wandering the aisle. I think in an established convention (with aisles filled with customers) I need to do this to actually generate sales.

  1. People rarely carry cash.

Or if they do, they don’t want to part with it. I used to get the old ‘I don’t have any cash on me’ excuse. Now I use a Square for my phone. Actually, Special Gal does. I can’t figure it out. But you can use a credit card and then you have no lame excuse why you won’t buy my brilliance that is the written word.

  1. Be good with names.

I really suck at remembering people’s names in a large crowd. And the convention lanyards hang too damn low on someone, so I’m staring at some dude’s lower abdominal area or a woman’s vajayjay (I’m actually doing the latter and using the badge as an excuse). I have a uniquely sexy look, let’s be honest. But I also post a ton of current pictures on Facebook, so people know what I look like. The worst is meeting a fellow author who knows you and starts chatting like you know their avatar of a cat is really them. But then, when you find out who the hell they are, try to remember it. Especially when you’re taking a picture with them and want to tag them on Facebook.

  1. Make sure you have an idea ahead of time where the good food is being sold.

I hadn’t had White Castle in a dozen years before Imaginarium. It was a priority to find one, and we did. A couple of miles from the hotel. Pure heaven. There is nothing worse than going to a strange city and not being able to find good food, or have to rely on the hotel bar/restaurant for all your eating needs. Google that bitch, yo. And don’t judge me for eating White Castle.

  1. Find out what vendors are around you.

There’s nothing worse than being around someone playing music or someone who is so damn boring you’re afraid you’ll fall asleep. Or some idiot who claims you owe them money or wants to tell you stories about the Golden Age of publishing and then show you pictures of their cats. I am not an animal person. I also don’t owe you any money. The cool vendors around you will be fun to hang out with and talk to. They will also try to take your M&M’s, so please be careful.

  1. You’ll meet cool people you knew from MySpace.

I met a couple of fellow authors I’d known online for many, many years. It was cool to finally meet them and cool to see they (like me) were still doing their thing. Too often, writers come and go like the breeze. I’m not sure what that analogy means, so we’ll move on. It is fun to finally sit down and talk to them and realize they aren’t as odd as you thought they were online. They are even weirder.

  1. Be yourself.

No one likes a douche bag. Seriously. No matter how big and important you are, remember one thing: you’re not. I know I come off like a pompous jerk at times (and a sexy humble bastard as well), but I also have fun with all of this. I wake every day and thank my luck I get to write for a living. I used to have this other persona which I thought would make me cool and people would love me. It didn’t work. So now I’m just myself. And it works. Be genuine. Talk to customers and other authors. Have fun at conventions. Sell some books. Network. And stay away from my M&M’s.

~ Armand Rosamilia is the author of Dying Days and too many other books to name. Check out everything Armand at http://armandrosamilia.com

 

 

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Author Armand Rosamilia hates Canada

Dying Days 3Let’s not talk about Armand Rosamilia and the horror books everyone knows. Let’s talk about the secret Armand Rosamilia no one knows.

1. What’s the scariest movie you ever saw and why?

I always tell everyone Beaches with Bette Midler, but it’s really Breakin’ 2: Electric Bugaloo.

2. Why do you write about horror when you could be writing about unicorn and puppy erotica?

Who says I don’t use a pen-name for that stuff? But I hate puppies so I don’t write that crap.

3. What’s your secret to being so damn sexy and does that get in the way of your writing career or help your fame grow?

Being so damn sexy is actually a curse. I can’t even go through the McDonald’s drive-thru and order three McDoubles (plain, please) without someone asking for my autograph on the credit card receipt.

4. If you could remake a horror movie with two iconic monsters, which ones would you put together on screen and who would win? 

This might be my first serious answer… hmm. Tom Cruise (with creepy smile) against the C.H.U.D.’s. I would like to see the Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground

Armand Rosamilia

Armand Rosamilia

Dwellers win.

5. What stars would you cast in the movie of Dying Days (note: Not all characters can be Richard Simmons.)

Since you took the obvious answer away from me… Alyssa Milano as Darlene Bobich, even though she doesn’t look like her… I just want to finally meet my next ex-wife. And then a bunch of dudes I have no use for. Like the dreamy Drew Carey and Orlando Bloom (who people mistake me for all the time).

6. Celebrity author death match: Dean Koontz versus Stephen King in a cage at the Superbowl half-time show. The soundtrack is the fight music from the original Star Trek Spock versus Shatner fight to the death. What weapons do Koontz and King use? How does the fight go down and who wins?

Koontz uses his toupee as a secret weapon, using it at the last minute to break off King’s giant choppers and forcing them down his throat. King’s Ramones t-shirt is ineffective against Koontz.

7. In your spare time I understand you’re an internationally recognized belly button lint sculptor. How did you get into that and what’s your favorite piece of lint art?

My Abraham Lincoln is frighteningly life-like, but my Mel Gibson sculpture of his belly button lint from Lethal Weapon 2: Electric Bugaloo is also amazing.

dying days cover8. What was your personal, secret, behind-the-scenes role in bringing down Mitt Romney in the last US election?

I actually went out for a few banana bread beers with him and told him, truthfully, ‘Westeros will have an election next year. Hold out for there, or Margaritaville. Either place could use you.’ Then he got into his spaceship with Bigfoot and they went to hang out with Elvis and Fatty Arbuckle.

9. What does “Rosamilia” translate to?

In Italian the literal translation is ‘Man with Giant Penis Who Knows How To Use It’. Or thousand roses. I forget which one.

10. If you weren’t a horror author, obviously you’d be bent on world domination. What would your plan to become our overlord be?

First thing I would do would be to sink Canada (sorry, Chazz) back into the Hudson River, and then destroy the New York Yankees with a meteor (sorry, um… idiot Yanks fans) and then all radio stations would only be allowed to play Steel Panther or Bloodhound Gang songs. Then I would ban all literature except my books and Watership Down. And then we’d turn the pyramids upside down and make them giant swimming pools and I’d charge $5 per swim. And then… OK, I got nothing. 

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Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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