Monday, September 28, 2015

The Edmonton Con in Review

There, I'm back from the Edmonton Expo and rested.  I'll start by saying hello to Barry, Rob, Hanna, Luke, Geoff, Chad, Alison, Mike, David, Jordan, Ryan, Alexandra and Jim, along with the many others whose names I am sorry to have forgotten, though they must admit that we did only meet that one time.  Send me a comment, an email or a tweet and remind me, hm?

In total, we sold 89 books - 41 of the big How To Run, 26 of the How to Play a Character and 22 of the Dungeon's Front Door.  We ran a deal of all three books for $50 and I'd say about two thirds of the big books went from the table with two little companions.  We also talked to many people who were more interested in finding the ebook online.  I'd guess we sold about 1/3rd the people we talked to.

The biggest surprise came from learning that we had not purchased a little table in Artists' Alley for the show, but a 10x10 foot booth in the middle of the t-shirt and poster sellers.  This was way more room than we expected to decorate and as such we were a big, barren hole as far as eye-candy was concerned . . . except for my daughter in a first-rate Sailor Moon costume on the first day.  She had trouble going to the bathroom without getting swamped by photographers.  As we had other plans than the expo for Saturday and Sunday she decided to skip the costume - and it needed work anyway.  The sleeves were a bit too tight and were giving her blood blisters on the upper arms after a day of selling.

The size of the booth did wind up working for us, as it gave a big sitting area for our friends and guests.  It also meant we could handle a larger crowd of people in conversation and it gave more time for people to roam along the table, see what we were selling and stop - whereas a shorter table often loses people.  My daughter and I are both aggressive sellers, however, so we were dragging people back to talk to us all the time.  Role-players are forgivably shy about admitting it.

As far as we could tell, we were the only booth in the whole Expo putting out any material on table-top role-playing.  There was a panel discussion on role-play yesterday (explaining why we had a 40-minute dead zone in the middle of the day) and one of those panelists would find us a couple of hours later, much to his great surprise.  Great guy, can't remember his name, and we talked for about twenty minutes.  Had an annoying habit of constantly looking over my shoulder as I talked to him and of hedging his opinion on things with statements like, "Depends on the campaign" and "Some DMs can handle such-and-such."  Clearly trained in not pissing anyone off.  At the end of our conversation he expressed a great interest in seeing me run an actual game, but being late Sunday afternoon there wasn't any time to arrange for something like that.  Expressed a strong desire to buy the book, made an excuse about his wife having the money, went to find her but he never came back.  Not sure if it was a good meeting or not.  Ah well.

I'd love to be on one of those panels - but I'd probably spend half the time smacking the other panelists for endlessly failing to give solid, sound opinions or express absolutes in their statements.  Like politicians, they seem far more concerned about their reputation than about the improvement of the game - and as anyone here knows, my reputation has always come second (or fifth or twenty-third) to my passion.

But wow, that would be fun!

Sunday was our best day.  It was rushed to the last, as people we'd seen all weekend returned at the last moment to make their final purchases.  It's terrific when someone buys a small book on Saturday, only to come back Sunday saying, "I read it and I want MORE!"  With sincere emphasis on the last word, I can tell you.  It's terrific too when someone says, "I've seen everything and you have the best thing here!" as we stand in our barren, empty booth.  But hey, books are a universe unto themselves.

We really want to go to the Ed Expo next year.  I hope to have finished two books, ready for selling, by then - with posters to match and a ready presentation for the much larger booth.  Hell, the big booth in Edmonton was less money than the Artists' Alley table had been in Toronto - which was why we were really surprised.

Sorry I haven't pics of the cosplayers at this time; they weren't taken with my phone, which had some issues throughout the weekend with power, so I'm waiting for my daughter to send me what she has.

Phew.  I wish like hell I could do a Con every weekend.


Scott Driver said...

I don't check in as often as I'd like to, but it's good to see things are going well, Alexis.

Oddbit said...

Sounds like a great time.
I've been to only one or two cons but I can say, I was genuinely disappointed in the content and more interested in the attendees.

I haven't been to a full gaming one outside of work, so perhaps I've not had a proper opportunity to experience something more of my interest.

I'd bet I'd say the same thing about your booth.

redheadbros said...

I really wish that there had been more role-playing stuff at the expo. I have to say that your stand was one of the highlights of the convention for me. I spent $56 and $42 dollars of that was on your books. I'm the Luke by the way.

Your book is amazing.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I am glad to hear it has not disappointed you, Luke. You could have bought the Dungeon book too! I hope you'll find the will do to that when you run out of other things to read.