SV Comic Con Roundup: Marketing Panel

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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

Convention Idea: Resource Lists

The roundup of convention resources is here.

So what happens after that big panel, workshop, whatever at your convention?  Do people just take away more than just memories (if they can remember much after a wild convention)?  It's always important in your career-oriented panels to have something to take away.

There are many things I like to add to such events, but one of the simplest, most space-efficient, and effective is a resource list.

That's it.  Just make sure your panels or workshops have, if appropriate, a page of resources handed out, that contains things like:

  • A list of useful websites.
  • A list of "must-read" books that fit the subject of the panel or workshops.
  • A list of schools or institutions providing appropriate classes.
  • A list of professional associations, meetup groups, or online groups that people may want to join.

One page of information may be all you need to make sure that the attendees keep using and building on what they've learned.

And, for a bit of branding, make sure it has information on the convention and the person that presented the panel or workshop.  It helps you stay memorable . . .

– Steven Savage

Convention Idea: Cover Part-Time Businesses

The roundup of convention resources is here.

Plenty of people think about starting a fannish business.  Of course such events rethinks you can try at conventions.  Certainly they're useful and of interest.

Let me suggest that, if you're going to do such an event at a convention, you consider something a little different.

Do a panel or series of panels on starting part-time fannish businesses.  How to run something on the side, on your weekends, along with your regular job, etc.

There are several advantages:

  • It's less daunting to people than panels on starting one's own business without doing it part time.  You'll get better attendance.
  • It is frankly easier to staff – you'll find more people qualified to speak on these issues.
  • It's a nice compliment to more "intense" business and career panels.
  • You'll have more diverse choices of subjects to cover as well, considering the many manifestations of part-time businesses.
  • It's often less formal.  Admittedly if we're talking conventions, some of your attendees will be doing gender-bent Watchmen costly, but you know what I mean.

Next time you want to talk business at a convention, talk part-time.

– Steven Savage