That means renting a table and paying the fees, which is child's play. Air to get there is more tricky, as is accommodation. I don't know anyone in Toronto that's close, and even if I did the last thing I would want to do between barking my book at a table is going to be hanging with friends. I'm going to want to find a hotel room and crash.
I need a back-up, so that I can leave the table from time to time, to pee and eat and things, so my daughter is coming. That's two air fares. We can share a room at least. She is probably good with buying her own food, so I will only have to cover mine.
Then there is the inventory cost. I don't know how many books I'll need. As many as I can sell, obviously - and selling is the crucial factor.
The decision to go was only made yesterday at noon, so I've been thinking of things I need to do to reach the goal.
To begin with, obviously, finish the book. It has been going well since the weekend, I finished the chapter that was giving me trouble and I'm into the next, which is really just a survey of bad gaming. Then there's a bit to write about protecting yourself as a DM, and at last I'm out of the DM vs. Player portion. I am looking forward to writing about asthetics and design. That's going to feel great.
There is now, however, a hard deadline for the book - I figure, July 15th. I'd like to manage it before that time, particularly as I seem to be unable to perfectly edit my own work (as much as I try, I always seem to gloss over in my head and miss that there's a word missing - I'm told writers should never edit their own work and I believe that). The self-publisher Lulu has a service they provide that fixes that, but I have to investigate the time that takes. In any event, I definitely need a book that can be sold by that date, perfection be damned. Still, I like perfection, so I'll wear out light bulbs doing my best with that.
Number Two on the list is capitalization. Most of it I can raise out of my own income, but that means sacrificing. I know people will argue that I should kick-start it, but that annoys me; I don't open my email any more without some stranger I've never heard of asking me to support their venture to create something I don't care about and will never buy. Donations of course are always helpful to anyone starting in business; I've relied in the past on free equipment, loans and all sorts of generousity. When I ran a couple of zines back in the 90s (distribution over 2,000 copies), I found that the most common advice began with the four words, "You have to buy." These notions were invariably the worst advice I received. If you are so hard up that you have to buy something to solve your problem, you are in fact solving someone else's problem. You're making them wealthier and yourself poorer.
I like free money as much as the next person, and I might be able to get some. There's credit, of course, which undoubtedly I will have to rely upon. But it would be nice if I could do a little promotion ahead of time, a reading or something here in the city, to sell a few more copies than what I'll manage online. Yesterday, my friend who runs a game store now in Seattle (Tacoma?) has offered to move 12 copies for me. I might be able to arrange a few more deals like that.
It occurs that the Gentle Reader might have in mind a stunt or two. At the moment, my only thought is to write some small handbook on a desired subject, something that would run five or ten thousand words, which could be bought for the price of two cappuccinos. If someone wants to jump up and tell me what the content of such a book ought to be, let me know. I can make time, write it on the side and have it ready for sale in June.
I don't think that raising money at one time rather than another will necessarily be a factor, but given that it might, I am wondering about pre-sales. That wouldn't happen until I was sure the book was set, and an exact publishing date too - but if I did need money in June rather than July, that might be a method of getting it. Tell me, would it be worth pre-ordering if I were to put something on the cover like 'first edition,' which was then removed when the book went public? Would that carry any special cachet? Would you pay a buck extra for it. Is there something else that might have more verve?
I doubt it's going to be an issue.
There are other things, too. I make a profit off every book I sell through Lulu (I will have to look into Amazon's self-publishing practices, I've always been leary), but it is damn near as much for me to buy them as to sell them. I will have to roust up a local publisher if I want fifty, a hundred books published up front for selling in Toronto. I will need a computer, too, better than the lap-top I've got, so that I can sell e-book copies for those who want them.
I don't think I'm going to go costumed. That has already been recommended, but I think I'll suspend the idea. My daughter is keen for it; she's a firebrand and an attention-getter, I'm sure she's going to do fine. I'm also sure she'll harass me between now and August, so she might win that battle.
I am definitely going to need some practice speaking. I've been living through text so long I've let a lot of my performance skill lax, as is evident in my apparently inability to speak the correct words when I'm describing map work on a you tube video. I also haven't spent that much time standing up, not since my cooking days. This August I'll be just two weeks shy of 50, and I'm a terribly relaxed computer-chair potato. I'll have to push myself some.
Those are the highlights. There are always other details; I will need to attend some trade shows for tips, talk to a girl that used to work them like a carny from one end of the country to the other, get a backdrop made once I know the dimensions I'm allowed - with lots of color, I'm told - clear the time with work, etc., etc.
If anyone has any reasonable ideas for raising capital, shout them out. Tell me what you'd like to see 7,500 words describing. Give me some support. I'm just around the corner from the light of day.