Participating in an online convention, from a two year veteran

As many of you know, I participated in the B2BCycon for the second year in a row. It was a blast, as it always is. If you’ve never heard of a cycon, it’s like a normal convention. Authors have a chance to show off books, offer discounts and codes, and meet readers. While you don’t get the joy of seeing people in homemade costumes, you also don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars, put on pants or handle ‘con funk’. It’s a good time.

It’s also a good idea for an indie writer to get their name out in an online con. It’s not as much of a financial investment, for one thing.

Having attended two years in a row, I’d like to share with you some of the things I’ve done to make my participation worth my time and effort.

Have a place to guide people to.

If you’re participating in a con, you’re going to have lots of new eyes on your books. There’s a good chance that they’re going to want to find out more about you. If someone wants to know more about me, I direct them here to PBW. So, I wanted to make sure that it was ready for new visitors. Before the con, I do a little site audit. I make sure all my links are working, and that my ‘buy my book’ page is updated and shiny. I post a blog post for the weekend that includes information and links to every place to find my work. And I make sure that all the posts that I’ve put up over the last two weeks are the best posts of the month.

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can’t have freebies.

If you go to a physical con, you expect to get some freebies and goodies from the booths. That’s part of why we shelled out all that cash to attend the con in the first place. Meet celebrities and get free stuff.

An online con is no different. When I participated in the B2BCycon the first year, I did a lot of special things for con attendees. I created a free wallpaper and designed two new images for the Current and Foundation Parties for Station 86. I did a whole question and answer session on the Goodreads page. This year, I put every book I write on sale. One book was free, to attract new readers. I worked with my publisher to discount Broken Patterns. I posted some free chapters of Broken Patterns and Seeming on the con’s website. I did everything I could to get out all the e-goodies I could.

Help with the promotion as much as you can.

One of the reasons why online cons work is the amount of promotion all the participants do. I started posting early and often about the con, to get people excited. I took advantage of all the promotional materials the con provided, which included nifty graphics and videos. I talked it up in my newsletter (What, you’re not signed up for my newsletter? Click here.) I talked about it here. I made sure that if you’re a fan of me, you sure as hell knew that I was going to be at this con.

So, what do you think? Have you attended or participated in an online con? Please share your experience in the comments below!



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