Category Archives: Conventions

SV Comic Con Roundup: Marketing Panel

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

First of all, sorry this comes late. It’s been awhile since I and my crew did the Silicon Valley Comic Con panels on self-publishing, and i’m only now reporting on it. It’s been a busy few weeks to say the least – you probably noticed a decrease in my blogging.

But now, with a lot of that behind me, let’s talk the latest addition to the speaking repertoire for my local crew of self-publishers – Marketing for Self-Publishers.

We’ve been speaking about self-publishing for years. The panel we do has been updated over time as we got feedback, as things changed, and as we adapted to new venues. But what my crew has also done has tried to speak on Marketing for years – but most people wanted Self-Publishing 101 (which is understandable, as its still new to people).

Finally, we got interest at SVCC, so we ran for it. And what we did is worth sharing.

First, yes, we had experienced Self-Publishers from our usual group, this time speaking on our Marketing experiences. We even had a one-page handout, like our usual Self-Publishing panel. What we varied was adding someone to give us a reality check.

Our panel included an experienced marketing professional, someone who’d been in the trenches of marketing in Silicon Valley. This person was there to check our advice, add things from their professional perspective, and discuss the bigger picture. In other words, they made sure our advice was applicable, unique cases weren’t discussed as if they were universal, and survivorship bias got shown the door.

I’ll cut to the chase – it was fantastic.

The usual speaking team did great, of course, providing validated advice with plenty of examples. Alone it would have been a pretty good panel, everyone was very aware and experienced, giving good examples. But when you throw in the Marketing Expert, it just went off the charts in quality.

What happened was we got into a rhythm, the authors discussing experiences, and then having the marketing professional give their take. That professional advice too things outside of the context of individual experience or just publishing, and into a good understanding of marketing. It meant that people heard what worked for us, but also helped them get the bigger picture of marketing.

I’m enthused enough I really want to repeat this panel. I also want to consider this model elsewhere – having specialists discuss a subject with a “non-specialist” expert to check them and expand their knowledge. A few ideas off the top of my head:

  • A digital artist panel – that includes a graphic tech expert.
  • A panel on writing techniques – with an expert on language history to discuss the history of writing patterns and such.
  • A panel on how to run a convention – with a professional manager or project manager (call me).

So great panel, great finding, and some advice for everyone to try.

Steven Savage

Make It So: Relocation Panels For Cons

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

As I note in Fan To Pro, a convention is a great way to scout an area for relocation. You get to visit an area, see how it handles a crowd, meet people, and of course know if the geekery there is for you. A con is good research – among all the other benefits.

This got me thinking – and helped me revive my old Make It So columns.

We need relocation panels at Conventions. Not how to relocate or why, but how to relocate to the area the convention is being held in. Yes, I’m assuming that area is worth relocating to, so work with me here.

So let’s work on a format idea!

First, who would host it? Obviously people living in the area, at least some of them being being that relocated to wherever the con is being held. You want specific testimonies from people in the know and who went through the process of relocating.

Secondly, some of the panel has to be specific testimonies from the people above. You need people to discuss their experiences, challenges, and techniques from living in and/or moving to the area.

Third, subject matter. Here’s a few things that should be covered – interspaced with real stories:

  • Employment and employment options – and challenges.
  • Major employers of all kind – corporate, government, education.
  • Living expenses and what they’re like.
  • Best places to live. You may want to add a bit of what not to do if there’s anything to really avoid.
  • Walkability, public transportation, and other ways to get around.
  • Trends in employment, living, etc. For instance if some places are getting pricier, etc.
  • Social opportunities – cons (obviously), clubs, etc.
  • Cultural opportunities like museums, libraries, and so on.
  • Food, dining, cuisine.
  • Moving tips and advice.

Fourth, have a handout of some kind with all of the above or put it online. The convention might even host it on their website, especially if this becomes a permanent thing.

Done properly, a Relocation Panel would be an awesome addition to the right cons in the right areas. It’d help attendees out, help people share their knowledge, and these days we need all the help we can get living and job-wise.

Keep it in mind, and let me know if you try it . .

Steven Savage

Fanime 2019 Roundup!

(This column is posted at and Steve’s Tumblr.  Find out more at my newsletter.)

OK I was at Fanime 2019 and as usual, a quick roundup. This was pretty interesting.

DOMINANT FANDOM: My Hero Academia was seriously dominant in cosplay, Artists Alley, etc. It was clearly The Top Fandom in many ways that makes me recall stuff like Naruto or One Piece back in the day. However, I think MHA has a wider range of appeal.

OTHER FANDOMS: The Fate series had a large cosplay gathering, more than I recall seeing at Fanime before. I also saw a lot of Spidervese characters, with Spider-Gwen being the major character. Jojo seemed to be getting more representation, from all over the series. There were cosplays and stuff from all over, obviously not just anime.

SURPRISES: I saw an Outlaw Star group, and Yuri On Ice was still evident in cosplay and merchandise. Yuri On Ice made an impression (says the guy who watched it twice)

DEALER’S ROOM: Dealer’s room was pretty diverse. Fanime runs a good Dealer’s Room and there was merchandise from all over the fandoms and interests.

ARTISTS ALLEY: As noted, lots of MHA, mixed with other stuff. I also saw some artists who had radically different styles and takes on anime and game art.

PANELS: A few insights, but the panel selection felt deep:

  • Lots of Cosplay panels this year, including advanced techniques and personal branding.
  • There were a lot of fanfic panels, at various levels of interest. These were not just basic panels, but some got deep into craft.
  • Some panels on culture were interesting, from exploring odd theories around anime to queerness in magical girl stories. Very intriguing.
  • There were other in-depth panels like developing mobile apps.
  • My panel on Geeky Productivity was well-attended for a 10 AM panel, and the Self-Publishing panel was very well attended despite being across from a panel on branding (seriously). There’s a real interest at this con on skills, and I had people remembering me and others from before.

So that’s my experiences. If you attended, let me know what you thought!

I plan to be there next year, obviously, but I’m going to return with more panel and panel sequence ideas. There’s a real interest in heavy skill stuff there. If I can lecture dressed as an MHA character, it’ll have come full circle . . .

Steven Savage