When I told a friend of mine recently that I was really looking forward to working San Diego Comic-Con for Penguin this year, she was surprised. She asked, “Why would a book publisher have a booth at a comic book convention?”
Ten years ago, some of my snootier colleagues at various publishing houses might have asked the same question. My answer has always been the same: Why would a book publisher not want to promote their products to 150,000 rabid pop culture fans with disposable income, all of whom love to read? Especially a publisher with a list as strong in science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, crime fiction and young adult fiction as Penguin’s?
Large pop culture conventions like New York Comic Con (125,000 attendees) and San Diego Comic-Con (150,000 attendees) long ago moved past the “comic book convention” label and have now become an extraordinary way for content creators across all mediums – film, television, digital, gaming, comics and books – to engage fans and promote new products. In the United States, all of the Big Six publishers and dozens of smaller ones now routinely run booths, host book and swag giveaways, and set up author signings and panels at major pop culture conventions, all in an effort to connect directly with our most valued asset: our readers.
This week, Penguin’s adult marketing and publicity folk will once again team up with their geeky counterparts from Penguin’s Young Readers division to host one giant booth at San Diego Comic-Con. We’ll be giving away thousands of books, advance reading copies, postcards, buttons, posters, masks, and tote bags. And, over the course of the con, Penguin authors and staff will speak on 19 panels, and Penguin authors will meet fans at 43 separate post-panel and in-booth autographings. We’re also beyond thrilled that two of our authors are also Special Guests of Honor this year: New York Times bestselling paranormal fantasy author Christine Feehan (Dark Lycan) and critically-acclaimed graphic novelist Ellen Forney, whose latest book Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me is up for an Eisner Award!
So if you’re coming to San Diego Comic-Con this week, be sure to swing by the Penguin booth (#1028/1030) and say hello to our staff, meet our great authors, and pick up a LOT of free books! For a full list of all the Penguin panels and autographings, head over to www.penguin.com/comiccon. (And be sure to follow the hashtag #PenguinCon for SDCC updates at the con!)
See you in San Diego!
- Colleen Lindsay