On Saturday, November 9th, 2019, S.W.A.C authors, K.G Bethlehem and F. Kenneth Taylor promoted, “Shadow Within A City II: Ghost Squad’s Apocalypse,” as exhibitors/artists at The 2019 Southern Maryland Comic Con. The event took place in Waldorf, MD.
This was the duo’s first time working a comic con, but certainly won’t be their last. The entire S.W.A.C Series was a hit with event goers, and definitely gained new fans and followers. Taylor and Bethlehem exhausted all means, and put a great deal of work and effort into their presence at the event. F. Kenneth Taylor, booked a flight from his hometown, St. Louis, MO for himself and his 16 year-old nephew because he believed it would also be a great experience for him as well.
As mentioned previously in another post; Taylor and Bethlehem hired one of India’s well-established Graphic Artists, Sanghamitra Dasgupta to design the cover of S.W.A.C II: Ghost Squad’s Apocalypse. Fellow author and very good friend, Jason J. Nugent took lead on creating and designing the table runner by Silkworm, Inc. K.G Bethlehem re-typed the entire, nearly 400 page work, revising it from the original, 2003 version. F. Kenneth Taylor then edited and formatted the work, while including additional revisions.
While F. Kenneth Taylor, who is also an Artist, created new artwork, including an 18×24 Acrylic painting, K.G Bethlehem managed registration details and requirements for the event. Additional artwork created by F. Kenneth Taylor included several, original character sketches, with more on the way. Both authors each ordered additional copies of each of the 6 books that currently comprises the series. The long-time friends and co-authors also hired another Sketch Artist, Kevin Ray, to design and create more character sketches, unfortunately, those works would not be completed in time for the event. On the eve of The 2019 Southern Maryland Comic Con, K.G Bethlehem and F. Kenneth Taylor also recorded a promo video with bloopers, which can be viewed from this site’s home page.
F. Kenneth Taylor and K.G Bethlehem were discussing their table setup months prior to the event. They knew the other vendors and exhibitors and artists were more experienced and would have setups and displays to show for it. They also knew they would be new and unknown faces to event goers, as would the S.W.A.C Series itself. With that in mind, their game plan included using interesting and original artwork to draw attention and actively pursuing and engaging any event goers in close enough proximity. They followed the game plan and it yielded better-than-expected results. Another factor to their game plan was selling options. They didn’t just offer 1 or 2 prices–they gave event goers and potential fans and buyers an array of options at different price ranges.
The duo also knew they would have to ‘sell’ the story in order to sell the books, and boy did they deliver! While they each used their own words and method; they practically threw the same pitch. F. Kenneth Taylor was a little more ‘loose’, while K.G Bethlehem was the ‘straight-shooter’. The pitch essentially ran down the entire series from the Book I, to the 2 spin-off short-stories, to Book II, to the prequel, to the comic book that started it all! Now the best part about this seemingly lengthy pitch is that they each did it repeatedly in minutes and without losing the potential buyer! Each were successful 95% of the time and often sold 2 or more books with each pitch/sale.
People were really shocked, but interested to learn that F. Kenneth Taylor and K.G Bethlehem have created their own Expanded Universe for the Shadow Within A City Book Series. This was done by strategically placing “Easter Eggs” in their individual books/works that were originally unrelated to the series. Once the Easter Eggs were placed in the unrelated books, all they simply had to do was reference the Easter Eggs in 1 or more of the Series books–which is exactly what they did!
Finally, the duo simply enjoyed themselves, mingled with other exhibitors/artists and had fun! They each signed a dozen or so autographs, they happily and gladly took pictures when fans. F. Kenneth Taylor got had a ball with the cosplayers; taking pictures with Iron Man, Wonder Woman, and a group pic with a Star Wars Biker Scout, Imperial Guard, and a Jawas whose eyes really did glow! FYI, F. Kenneth Taylor is a MAJOR Star Wars fan! Perhaps the biggest highlight of the day for F. Kenneth Taylor and K.G Bethlehem was taking a picture with this gentleman… WHO BOUGHT THE ENTIRE 6-BOOK SERIES!