Author Feature: Hitting the Cons with Mark Cassell
Today I welcome author Mark Cassell to talk a little bit about hitting the cons. I've never been to a convention but hope to change that one of these days. If you missed my review of Mark's newest work yesterday, Hell Cat of the Holt, please click here to check it out.
Hitting the Cons
Over the last few years here in the UK, the comic convention scene has exploded. More venues around the country host them with some fantastic guests giving us the opportunity to meet our heroes, whether from our childhood or present-day. Plus it’s great to see the incredible effort people go to with their costumes, taking the experience of visiting a comicon to a more personal level. Walking the con with pride, these cosplayers become their heroes.
Stalls vary from creative-minds to collectable shops. We have artists and authors like myself, prop builders and gamers, clothing and comics and everything between. All of this in a venue charged with an atmosphere impossible to imitate elsewhere.
About six months after my debut novel The Shadow Fabric (2014) hit the shelves, I joined the guys at Future Chronicles Photography to promote my work at EM-Con, a sci-fi and fantasy convention in the Midlands. To my surprise, that was when I met a fan who wanted a picture with me. A most-humbling moment to say the least.
Since then, I’ve attended many conventions around the UK, mostly your typical sci-fi & fantasy comicons, but I’ve also held a table at some horrorcons. At Walker Stalker 2017 in London, I was approached by a guy whose teacher loved my work and he requested a photo together to prove he met me.
From the outset, recognising I was new to this author-game, I wanted to bring something different to the table. I’d already noted other authors seemed to hide behind a fortress of books, arms folded, staring at browsers with doleful eyes, perhaps hopeful their book would sell itself…
In fact, at Derby Comic Con – a one-day event back in June – I saw precisely that. And I watched the bloke pack up at 2pm.
Since the first time I trod the convention circuit, I figured I’d set my table up with the Hourglass – a prop I built for promotion purposes. This has always attracted attention, and people often ask if it’s for sale. I reckon more time was spent making that than hitting the first draft of my debut novel.
So no, it will never be for sale. Sorry, guys.
These days, I dabble in art and photography, and my table is now stacked with not only paperbacks but also USB drives pre-loaded with ebooks, as well as prints of my digital artwork.
As a horror writer at sci-fi & fantasy cons, my stall stands out among the others because I guess it’s like a black smudge amid the rainbow colours of superheroes and anime. With the release of my Shadow Fabric mythos novella Hell Cat of the Holt, it’s become apparent that anything featuring a cat quickly piques people's interest. At my last convention, I overheard several comments about the cat they saw on my table.
If you’re an author or artist, selling the finished product from an idea that once churned in your head, busting for release, then I recommend you get yourself a table at a convention. Find your angle, do something different that reflects your passion. Be friendly, chat to the cosplayers about their costumes – think about it: they spent hours creating them so they have a lot to say. At the end of the conversation if they only grab a business card, your job is done. If they sign up for your newsletter, then all the better. Beyond that, if you make a sale, well… Need I say more?
Finally, if you’re a cosplayer yourself or an attendee in search of that rare collectable, then be sure to find me. Come and say hi.
HELL CAT OF THE HOLT - a novella in the Shadow Fabric mythos
Available from Amazon
Mark’s 2017 release HELL CAT OF THE HOLT further explores the Shadow Fabric mythos with ghosts and black cat legends.
The dystopian sci-fi short story collection CHAOS HALO 1.0: ALPHA BETA GAMMA KILL is in association with Future Chronicles Photography where he works closely with their models and cosplayers.
For one of Mark’s FREE stories go to: www.markcassell.com
Or visit the website: www.theshadowfabric.co.uk