In which that’s enough of that

So here’s the thing about the con I just did: I like all the people who run it. For the most part, I liked all the other vendors I talked to. I really enjoyed the panels I did; they weren’t heavily attended, but it turns out if you put a bunch of authors in a room and tell them to yap about something we’re perfectly happy just to talk amongst ourselves for a while even if there aren’t a whole lot of people there to listen.

Actually, true story: one of my panels was scheduled against the charity auction, which was heavily attended, and as a result there was literally no one there when our panel was supposed to start. The four of us just got to talking about microfiction anyway. Eventually one person showed up and joined the conversation. We did some readings, just for the hell of it. We had one person attend and it was the best panel I did, and I didn’t record it because I didn’t think it was going to last an hour– and somehow it did.

So, yeah, I’m not going back.

And, like, it’s weird– I like these people, and I had fun, and I’m not even going to use the name of the con in this post specifically because I don’t want anyone connected with the con finding it by accident, because this isn’t their fault. It’s not a poorly run show, but this is a small show, and the majority of my sales over the weekend were to other vendors, which is practically unheard of– and there were long stretches of time, especially today, where I didn’t see anyone in the vendor room who wasn’t a vendor. That’s not sustainable. It’s just not.

And the people who do show up for this con tend to do all of the cons in the Indianapolis area, which means I’ll catch them at some point at some other show. I recognized easily 50% of the folks who walked past my booth on Friday. There was a guy who was a booth barnacle from Hell for both of the people on either side of me who was at ConGlomeration in Louisville, and I’m pretty sure he was at the last one of these cons, and when I’m recognizing even the people I don’t want to see again? Sigh.

It’s just not worth it to me as someone who at least hypothetically wants the chance to make some money at one of these damn shows. And, of course, the flip side of that was the couple of people who did buy something from me at the last show, remembered me, and bought more books– I love that. It’s a wonderful feeling. But I spent $90 on my hotel room last night and sold two books today, for an amount of money that did not cover my breakfast and lunch today.

And … yeah. I’ve still got two or three more shows coming this year– and I had to cancel two because of the family stuff I’ve been going through in the last couple of months– but I have to start being a lot more selective about which shows I go to, and this one just can’t make the cut again. I’m not happy about it, but I don’t think I have a choice.

In which I read locally

It’s kinda always the same booth picture, at this point; only the number of books I have on display changes.  I decided not to bring Searching for Malumba with me for this one, because despite the fact that every kid mentioned in the book is college-aged now (and I don’t use anyone’s real name) I still feel like keeping it from spreading too far out in the town I live and work in isn’t necessarily a bad thing.   And I sold more than enough books to make a nice little profit on 3 hours of sitting in my free booth.

I can stand to do more free author events, frankly.

 An interesting fact: after a couple of years of doing sci-fi and comic book cons, my last two events have both been specifically author events, and at both of them I’ve had more titles available than anyone in the room.  It was especially apparent at this one– there was no one else there who I saw who had more than three, and most people there had only one or two books. The really weird part to me was the number of people who, upon being told that my first book came out in 2014, expressed surprise at how I’d been able to write so fast as to have all those books out already.

And it’s like, damn, folks, I am slow.  I regularly go weeks without writing a word of fiction, because for whatever reason shit has to be straight in my head before it gets set down on paper.  How long have I been saying that the Skylights sequel is my next book, for God’s sake?  Hell, how many entire other books have I written while telling people that the Skylights sequel was next?  And yet I’m sitting there with twice as many books in front of me as anyone in the room, and I’m visibly one of the younger authors there, too.

Things I need to do before my next show:  I need some sort of thick cardstock-printed price placards to put in each of the front-facing books, preferably with some sort of “Like Lovecraft?  You’ll love Balremesh!” or “Like Scalzi? You’ll love Skylights!” text on them.  I also need a new banner or two, preferably something that folds down into its own stand, because my Skylights banner is starting to lean in a way that I don’t understand and can’t fix.   And my front-of-table banner (not used at this show) can probably stand to be updated, too.  No one knows what Prostetnic Publications is anyway so I need something other than just the logo.  I’m gonna have a lot to do over winter break, I think.  

I’ve got some time to worry about it, because right now I’m not signed up for anything else until next summer.  I tried to get into ConFusion, which is in January in Detroit, which was a communication clusterfuck so bad that by the time they told me I hadn’t passed the jury stage of things I didn’t even want to go any longer, and I found out about the Northwest Indiana Comic-Con, which is a one-day thing in February, but they were closed by the time I got to them too.  So if you hear about anything in the next couple of months, let me know, ‘k?  I don’t wanna wait six months until my next show.  


I’ve picked up three new Patrons over the last week or so, and just added a $100 goal to the site.  I’m getting close enough to the $50/month target that I can sorta see it from where we are, so I feel like a little more pushing and we might hit that, especially since I seem to be on a bit of a roll lately.  Remember, anyone pledging more than $2/month gets a new novel immediately, and I’m adding new content all the time– I’ve been working on a new short story over there, The Caretaker, that I ought to be finishing this weekend sometime.  It’s becoming a better deal all the time!  Join us!

#WeekendCoffeeShare: Ravioli edition

wordswag_15073188796611453091488.pngIf we were having coffee (and I feel like I need to point out that, unlike last time, I actually am having coffee while writing this) I would spend most of the conversation being interrupted by the kitten, who has decided that my feet are the tastiest thing in the universe, regardless of whether I’m barefoot, in socks, or wearing my shoes.  This started off as cute and endearing and now I’m seriously trying to think of a way to bash together some shame cones to wear over my feet whenever I’m in a room that she can get into because the assaults are constant and she’s too small to kick.

I could probably get her halfway across the house if I tried, though.

(I’m not going to of course I’m not going to Jesus but Goddammit leave my feet alone.)

Anyway.

We had Thanksgiving yesterday.  There have been persistent rumors that my wife’s family is planning some sort of extravagant event in Michigan for Actual Thanksgiving, and my brother and his wife just bought a new house, so we decided to kill a couple of birds with one stone and we all went up to his place north of Chicago for Very Early Thanksgiving yesterday.  We are mostly German and Polish with a smattering of English and Welsh; he married into an Italian family and brought all of them over as well, so yesterday was Teach the Polacks How to Make Ravioli Day, because why wouldn’t it be?  So we spent probably three or four hours making a couple hundred raviolis.  I didn’t actually make the pasta itself– my mom was handling that– but my brother and my dad and I were responsible for filling the raviolis and then covering them and, in general, finishing everything up.  It went pretty well:

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The darker ones are sausage and spinach, the rest are a five-cheese mix.

It went very well– I’ve actually never made fresh pasta before, and while I sort of wanted to be in the kitchen for the actual pasta-making part at least once, being the last person in the process means you get to pretend the whole thing was your doing, which is still kinda fun.  Dinner was delicious and I even managed to not pass out and die on the way home, which was also a plus.

We would probably start hinting around this election thing on Tuesday at some point and I would change the subject as fast as I possibly fucking could.  I have Tuesday off; part of me feels like this was a very good decision (there will be violence at polling places this week) and part of me is mourning the idea that I’m going to be home all day by myself to go crazy.  I’m going to spend the whole day playing Red Dead Redemption 2 just to keep from going insane.

The other thing on my mind: the Pegasus Author Expo coming up next Sunday in Lafayette:

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I am super excited about this event; I’m doing a panel on book production at 12:00 and a reading/Q&A for half an hour or so at 11:30.  I’m currently killing myself trying to figure out what to read (current theory: the prologue to Skylights and something funny from one of the Benevolence Archives books) and trying to mentally prepare for anything from a big crowd (a “big crowd,” in this context, means “any number of people that I cannot accurately count in less than a couple of seconds”) to my wife and my assistant (I have an assistant!) and no one else.  This is the first time this group has done something like this and nobody really knows what to expect in terms of attendance so I’m deciding to look at it mostly as a networking event with a chance to practice some public-speaking skills.  If I make some money and sell some books along the way, awesome.  If not?  That’s a whole lot of Indiana authors to touch base with.  Which is absolutely a good thing regardless.

You should come.  You should bring everyone you have ever met.

Okay, coffee’s cold so I’ve yapped enough.  How’re you?

Hall of Heroes Con this weekend!

IMG_7616.JPGBEHOLD: My booth, such as it is.  I generally take pictures after I’ve got myself set up but it clean escaped me to do so until after I’d covered everything up and gotten ready to go, so have a picture of a table with a black cloth on it!  There are books and shit under there!  Exciting!

The Hall of Heroes Con is in the Lerner Theater and the surrounding area in scenic downtown Elkhart, Indiana.  I’m in booth H4, which is basically immediately outside the main vendor area on the second floor.  I’m of two minds about the space; on the one hand, virtually everyone who goes into the vendor hall is going to walk right past my booth, but on the other hand it’s kind of at the end of a hallway and people will walk past me as they’re walking out of the main vendor area– so hopefully they won’t have spent all their money already.

I will, of course, post as many cosplay pictures as I’m able to take; I heard from the main organizer dude that they’re expecting about 15,000 people over two days, but the weather forecast is set to “Noah,” so hopefully that won’t depress turnout any.  But one way or another, I’ll be there from 9 to 6 tomorrow and from 9 to 5 on Sunday!  With Oreos!  Come on out!

My con appearances for the rest of the year (and January!)

comiconlogo-Retina.pngJust because it’s been on my mind lately, and also because I’m not really interested in talking about school right now, here’s some information about upcoming conventions I’m going to be attending:

FIRST!  I will be at the 2nd Hall of Heroes Con in Elkhart, Indiana on September 8th and 9th– just a few days from now!  This will be the first con I’ve attended that was close enough to my house that I will be able to just drive to the con each day rather than having to worry about couchsurfing or getting a hotel room, so I’m pretty excited about it.  I’m on the 2nd floor of the Lerner theater in booth H4, directly across from the entrance to the Crystal Ballroom.  Folks who have been there in the past tell me this is a pretty primo spot, so I’m excited.

SECOND!  I will be at Kokomo-Con on October 13 in Kokomo, IN.  I went to this con last year and had an absolute blast, and had bought my booth for this year’s show before I even left last year’s.  It’s only a one-day show but I had a tremendous time last year and I have high expectations for this year’s show.  I just found out today that I’ll be at a three- day ed conference in Noblesville (just south of Kokomo) on the 10th-12th, so the logistics of getting down there just got sorta complicated and I’m gonna be tired and crabby, but still!  High expectations!  No word on the booth yet, but I don’t expect to be hard to find.

MAYBE!  I have been to Indy Pop Con twice, and am already signed up for next summer’s show, but they just announced that they’re expanding to Fort Wayne and will be doing a two-day Pop Con on December 29-30.  I will probably be doing this con, but I’m waiting for a paycheck or two from the new job before I put the money into it and I also need to be sure I want to do a first year con.  I’ve found Pop Con really well-run, though, so it ought to be okay, even though it’s on really short notice and it’s probably going to be a damn disaster but what the hell let’s risk $150.  Fun!

PROBABLY, I HOPE!  I am signed up for ConFusion 2019, which is January 17-20, and I need to figure out if it’s really all four days, but the vendor tables are juried and the deadline isn’t until August 31 so I don’t know if I’m actually officially accepted as a vendor yet.  I mean, I’ve never not been accepted for one of these things, so I have high hopes, but it’s still possible they’ll say no.  A lot of authors who I’m huge fans of are regulars at this con, so I’m crossing every digit I have that I get to go.

Mark your calendars and come see me, dammit!