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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bynoe

Conventional Thinking

AnimeKon in Barbados

And just like that it’s over. Summer. Every year it seems to get shorter and shorter, and this year’s edition was no exception. If I had the ability to control time like Derrick and Miles do in Chronokari Alpha, then maybe I wouldn’t lament its passing so much but time waits for no one - particularly self-published authors.

Even though the beginning of summer seemed like yesterday, I had a jam packed and eventful couple of months filled with travel and pop culture conventions. One of the highlights of the summer was AnimeKon in Barbados during the middle of August. It was my first international convention and I had a blast. Chronokari Alpha was well received and it was great meeting everyone who passed by the Boeboe Creative booth.

My booth at AnimeKon

My lovely and talented assistants Claudia and Celia.

Barbados is a small island but the population’s love of pop culture and all things geek was evident over the two day event. Cosplayers, comic book fans, gamers and artists were all on hand to make AnimeKon look and feel like a North American show. I was particularly impressed with how many Bajans wanted to pursue a career in art/writing or had ideas of their own that they wanted to bring to life.

One group of talented individuals that are doing just that are the guys from Beyond Publishing Caribbean. They are a collection of local artists and writers who have started their own indie label and are producing high quality comics and graphic novels. Some of the titles on their roster include Life and Death in Paradise, Hardears, Rob and Heartman. I had a great time meeting and chatting comics with Nigel Lynch, Matthew Clarke, Tristan Roach and the rest of the Beyond Publishing Caribbean crew. I also have to thank Marc Gibson, a writer who has self-published his own graphic novel Bridgeland, who invited me to one of the seminars in the Author’s Lounge. It was hosted by a local bookstore called Chattel House and it was quite informative. They had Lucy A. Snyder as a featured guest and I was able to chat with Chattel House’s owner, Beverly Smith-Hinkson about some of the things that a self-published author needs to do to promote themselves. During our chat I mentioned all of the conventions I attended as an exhibitor, the use of social media (Facebook and Twitter), my blogging as well as the radio interviews I’ve done. I was happy to hear that I was doing the right things to help me get my books noticed.

An awesome Captain America shield made by a cosplayer at Fan Expo. Thanks for letting me get a pic with it.

Catching up with friends is the best. Here's my old buddy Lee and I taking a break from the madness that is Fan Expo Canada.

Fan Expo was a jam packed affair and the blazing heat of labour day weekend did nothing to keep the crowds away. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre was filled to capacity and it was easy to see why Fan Expo Canada is the third largest comic book convention in North America. Once again I had fun meeting everyone who passed by the Boeboe booth and reconnecting with some of my artist friends who are veterans on the comic book convention circuit. A couple of highlights from Fan Expo were my fanboy moments when I saw Gillian Anderson and Billy Dee Williams up close and in the flesh. I’ve learned a lot during my first year as a solo exhibitor and I’ll be ending the season with the London Comic Con in Southern Ontario on the weekend of the September 25th. I've got my eye on a couple of additions for next year including some Chronokari Alpha swag, but more on that later. That's it for now but remember to pop by in a couple of days when I share some great insights from self-published author Nate Russo regarding how to improve the sales and exposure of your self-published novels.

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