We got very, very little traffic in the marketplace. I mean, most of the people we talked to were bored vendors who were wandering around seeing what other people had to offer.
|I sold some books and had fun!|
But when we did get people coming through, we were having some great conversations! I loved telling people about my book, A Noble's Quest. And with the response I was getting from people, I think they loved the sounds of it, too!
I got people's attention right away...
It's about a couple lumberjacks who get into a fatal brawl at work and flee.
I actually had a woman stop me a couple sentences later and say, "I'm sorry, I'm still stuck on the lumberjacks and the fatal brawl. Can you go back to just after that?"
The rest was...
A nobleman then takes them in and gets him to do his dirty work. He teams them up with his niece Eliza (point at beautiful cover art), and she takes control of the group and they travel through the empire and beyond on odd jobs that never seem to go as they expect. And they don't know why they're doing the odd jobs. There's an overarching mystery through the book, and I'm happy to say I haven't had anyone figure it out before it comes up at the end. And it's not because it's one of those bad mysteries where there aren't any hints. It's an "ah ha!" moment when all the pieces fit together.
Of the few people who came in, I got a lot of people interested. I gave away a ton of business cards to people who said they wanted digital copies. On the second day I sold my first paper back after a 20 minute chat. We talked about more than my book - we talked about similar interests like D&D and Forgotten Realms.
And that was one of the nice aspects of the slow business. We really got a chance to connect with people, and I love that!
The downside, of course, was low sales. I had 1 sale by the end of the second day.
Fortunately, someone who attended the Princess Leia and the Gold Bikini panel that I was on liked what I had to say and was interested in checking out my book. Two people came back who said they would (Alexander said that's very rare), and I sold one last copy while we were closing down shop to another vendor.
So in the end I made enough to pay for my part of the table, plus a few bucks (which I'm putting back into my writing... +Harvey Bunda, I'll be commissioning the next map very soon!).
|Empty aisles do not happy vendors make|
GenreCon felt disorganized, and I think that's why there was low traffic. It wasn't well publicized, and the website was poorly done. I mean, they didn't even have all the pages up by the time the conference started.
There were no big names there. And I don't mean I was expecting A-list celebrities. But last year they had the actor who played Xander in Buffy, and a couple others I knew. They weren't huge, but it was still cool.
We almost didn't get a table at GenreCon this year. I saw the list of vendors come out, and although Alexander had paid for our table a month in advance, we didn't show up. He contacted them, said he would cancel his cheque, and - funny enough - they managed to find us a spot. Fast. And a prime spot right by the front door, too!
I missed a panel, because I had no idea I was even on it. I didn't find out until after the fact when someone came by and asked me why I wasn't there. I checked the list and found out I was supposed to be on three: Starting out in publishing (the one I missed, and would have loved to be on!), The Curse of the Slave Leia Bikini (pretty good turn out, and an interesting discussion), and The Desolation of Smaug (we had three panelists, and two people in the crowd... one of whom was supposed to be on another panel, but no one showed up for it, so he came to ours).
For the two I made it to, it was fun. There were great discussions, and I learned some neat things. The small numbers and no moderators meant there were a lot of tangents, but they were usually just as interesting as the chosen topics.
I'll be honest. After the second day, I was pretty sure I was not going to bother going to GenreCon again. One book sale over two days, and few potential readers to talk to made it long. Fortunately Alexander Dundass and Luke Hill were sharing the table with me, and we had a riot. They're really funny, quirky guys, and I'd share a table with them any time!
The third day really saved GenreCon for me. And not just because people came over and picked up my book. That was great, but it can't match the sheer joy of watching my daughter geek out over seeing Stormtroopers and an Imperial Guard.
|Kill Jedi! - We can do that!|
So we ordered her the costume. After seeing so many costumed people at GenreCon, I got the bright idea that she might want to wear her Halloween costume early and join me.
It was the best decision ever. Ever!
|"The Stormtroopers are coming..."|
My daughter, however, couldn't wait. So we wandered around the hotel looking for the Stormtroopers. When we got back to the market, we heard that they'd been there to meet us, and we'd missed them! So Darth Daughter insisted we go scour the hotel for them once again!
And find them she did. Across the lobby she spotted them and yelled at the top of her lungs, "STORMTROOPERS!" She grabbed my hand and pulled and dragged with all her might. She was literally shaking with excitement.
And they were amazing. My hat is off to the 501st Legion members, Andrea Pickles Loar, Steve Chiu, and Aaron Beam. She remembers everything about their meeting, and was filling in the holes in my story when I was telling it to my wife afterwards. She loved getting the high fives. When a Stormtrooper asked her for orders, she said, "Kill Jedi" and the trooper answered, "We can do that!" She thought it was hilarious that they were playing on the equipment outside when we came out and found them (after someone gave us a tip that they saw the Stormtroopers heading outside to cool off). One of the Stormtroopers sneaked up behind her when we were in the market and surprised her - the look on her face all of these times was absolutely priceless.
Afterwards, she also played with Judge Daven Brown on the equipment and had so much fun.
The community at GenreCon was unbelievable.
I'm still not sure if I'll attend next year. I'll take my time and see how organized it is. But I'd love to go and bring my daughter again, because I'm sure this day will stick in her mind for years - maybe even for the rest of her life. And for that, I can't express enough gratitude. Thank you a million times!