Monday, April 20, 2009

Getting the Word Out

The students in my kiddo's second grade class have been working on writing books all year long. I have been volunteering what amounts to one Friday a month to help edit the kids' stories in the Writers' Workshop. When the teacher found out I was writing a book of my own, she asked me if I'd like to talk to the class about the experience.

So with Deus ex Comica done, the kiddo's teacher and I picked my April Writers' Workshop volunteer session to come in early and talk to the class. The teacher had me set up in the bright-colored rocker in the corner, and 20 or so sweaty, fresh-from-gym-class second graders huddled in a tight semi-circle on the floor around me. I talked for a half-hour or so about having the idea, the seemingly endless cycles of revising and rewriting, and publishing the book.

Having a seven-year-old, I knew I should expect just about anything from the class when it came to question and answer time. And they didn't disappoint. I was asked stuff like how long it took me to write the book (about nine months for the first draft, including the online essays that started it all), did I draw the cover (nope, that was Dave Wachter), how old do you have to be to write a book (anyone at any age can write a book!), how do you pronounce the title and what does it mean (I made up the title and "God is in the comics"), and who did I dedicate the book to (the kiddo). But my favorite question was how old I was when I started writing the book (37). It was just subtly off-the-wall enough to tickle me just right.

I think they went easy on me because my book is about comic books, which is kinda cool to a grade schooler. And I think being able to hold my book in their hands and pass it around helped make things real for them.

Saturday began with the discovery that Deus ex Comica is now available for sale on! Lulu had advised me it would take six to eight weeks for the book to be listed on Amazon, but after just four short weeks it's already there. The
book is also listed on GoodReads, so please feel free to rate and review the book on any or all of those three sites if you feel so inclined. I appreciate everyone's support!

That afternoon was my book signing at JC Comics and Cards. They gave me a corner of the counter to put up my displays and set out my books. There were only two sales I was hoping for going into the signing -- my buddy Jeff said he would stop by and my wife's cousin and fiancé said they'd be there too. Both came through for me, each stopping into the store and buying a copy of the book.

Of course the wife and kiddo stopped by and snapped a few photos as well, but what made the two hours go even faster and so much more fu
n was that I sold six other copies to people I didn't know! It was very cool that people came out specifically to meet and talk to me, buy my book, and in one case take pictures of and with me!

Sunday I made the two hour drive to Perrysburg for the Toledo Comics & Sci-Fi Convention. Organizer Jeff Harper set me up with a nice table to sell and sign copies of Deus ex Comica, and made certain to let everyone know I was at the show during every hourly door prize announcement.

It's tough when you're self-publishing a book like mine because the pricing structure is a bit different, and that can make things rough when you're up against fifty-cent comics and half-off trade paperbacks. This was a really small sh
ow compared to Jeff's Akron-Canton Comic Con and it seemed like the dealers were more interested in the book than the customers at the show, but I managed to sell three copies of the book. I doubt I'll make the trip back across the state for that show again, but I'll definitely do more of the local shows Jeff puts on (Akron, Canton, Richfield) and maybe even Columbus.

What made the trip all the more worthwhile, though, is that along with selling half the inventory I took with me, I struck up a conversation with Bill from Bill's Books and More comic book store down in Canton. I asked him if he'd be willing to put out some promotional postcards for my book in his store, he said sure then turned around and asked me if I was booked anywhere for Free Comic Book Day. I told him no and he immediately asked if I'd be willing to do a signing at his store that day. So now it looks like I'll be at Bill's Books and More (2215 6th Street SW) on Saturday, May 02 from 12 noon to 3pm for an in-store signing to help celebrate Free Comic Book Day! Mark your calendars now and come out to support the industry, say hello to me, and maybe pick up a signed copy of Deus ex Comica!