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Conventional Wisdom

A few weeks ago, I sold my books at a convention for the first time. I didn’t have a table (it fell on my son’s birthday and that came first of course), but a friend of mine did and offered to post mine on the corner. It wasn’t a big convention, just taking up a small hall in our events center, so I didn’t go in with high expectations, but I ended up selling 8 books. I was blown away, even though 6 of them went to three friends that I took to the table. I ended up feeling a little guilty, worried they felt obligated to buy it, but they were all as excited as I was. A friend of mine read a few pages and told me Saturday that the first few pages of Old School Evil had her laughing a lot and that’s seriously the best feeling.

Overall, it was a great experience, giving me the thrill of selling without having to do all the planning for it. I felt like I dipped my toe into the comic-con well, and the water was fine. I’m currently making plans to be a full vendor for next year’s convention, which includes trying to come up with other things to sell along with my main books. My friend whose table I used sold enough stuff to cover the cost of the table, but most of her sales were jewelry, so I’m guessing I’ll need some non-book merchandise.

Unfortunately, I’m no good with jewelry and it doesn’t really mesh with Old School Evil’s cartoon focus. I’ve always had plans to expand into 3D printing my own toys, and I think making little figures would be a good addition. I’m hoping to enlist my crafty wife’s help in coming up with ideas as well. I made a card that resembled the old Transformers toy catalog sheets with the books on the front and the villains on the back. I thought they looked good enough (even though I forgot to add my own name to them before printing!), so I will use them next time with some minor changes.

I also had stickers made of the Hurricanines logo. I’ve always loved how the logo looks and wanted stickers made of it, but I only afterward realized that it’s a terrible giveaway for the books since it’s only visible on the cover of the first book so it’s super small. There’s nothing really tying it to the books so besides looking cool, it’s not helping. I’m going to make some others with the Old School Evil slime flow, and maybe a Muttants and Department of Domestic Threats and Balances logos as well, mostly just for my own collection. I’m also hoping to get some stickers for the Retro Network to hand out.

But the books still need to be my main focus, and I’m hoping to have others available by then. Besides having Old School Evil 3 ready by then (fingers crossed), I’ve decided to compile my old Bad Guy Beatdown posts into one book that will be exclusive to conventions and my site’s eventual store. I have to write out the last handful of fights still, but since those are pretty short, it wouldn’t take me too long to pump them out. I have an idea for the cover which would be the harder part, but I’m already working on that. I’ll also have a handout for any purchases which would be a pamphlet of the production bibles for the first book, which will also be made available as a PDF on my eventual newsletter.

I know there’s a lot to do for it, but I have a year to plan. I’m still focusing as much as I can on writing book 3 to get it published as soon as possible. As long as I can get the first draft done by the end of September, I think a July or August publication date is still possible – I’m totally fine just promoting a pre-order for Old School Evil 3 at a convention along with the other books, though.

Overall, the convention has me super excited about the future of Old School Evil. I didn’t show up until 2 hours after it started and made a beeline to my friend’s table. A lot of the cards and stickers I had made were still sitting there, but she gave me some awesome news – someone had bought both books and taken a card. I have no idea who it was, but for a stranger to just see my books in passing and take the risk of picking them up, means so much to me. Thank you, kind stranger, and thank you to those that still follow along on this adventure.

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