Blog No. 232
Tomorrow morning, I’ll be on the road with Christian, heading for London, Ontario. We’ve been invited to be guests at Shock Stock, the three day horror convention. I’m getting really excited and not just because the three days away are also like a mini vacation (even though it’s a lot of work). There were some cool things last year and there are more cool things scheduled this year. Not only that, but I get to be part of the VIP stuff since I’m a guest. If it’s well attended, I should be able to sell a lot of books. (Seeing as that’s my primary reason for going). On average we do more than ten percent at most events. That is, selling a book to ten percent of the people who walk through the door. Some have been much more and even last year we did about that, but the attendance was way down. An event like this has the potential to be the biggest success yet.
Last year it was the biggest event we did, and it was the biggest flop. While the people were nice (and we made some friends) I’m not going to mince words about how bad it was financially. I came out about three hundred dollars down. With the cost of the table, the cost of a room, plus food and gas, it was three grueling and expensive days. I would have been fine with the work (three days is a lot at a table selling stuff) and even okay with losing a bit of money if it meant selling some books in another market. The problem was that there was no one to sell books to.
I’m not sure who’s exactly to blame, so I’ll just refrain from casting any, but the venue was completely surrounded by a street hockey tournament. I mean completely. Cars couldn’t get within three or four blocks of the place and trying to walk through the crowd was arduous. It was especially difficult while carrying bags and dragging a cart. The people on the sidewalk wouldn’t move. I can imagine how difficult it would have been for people to get there in the middle of the day. Add to that the heat (my word the heat) and I don’t blame people for not going.
Sadly, that meant it was a failure for me. Christian did a little better since he had The Space Between Houses to sell. It was at Shock Stock that we discussed pushing to be guests at events. We sold enough (normally) and promoted. I have no doubt that we’ll have people coming to events specifically to see us in no time. We already have people coming to out table at repeat events telling us they hoped we’d be there with a new book.
I’m not sure what to expect this year, but with the cost down, my hopes are back up. The organizers seem to be doing everything they can to make up for last year. They changed the venue and specifically promised no hockey tournament. If I can manage to sell some books, I’ll certainly enjoy the event more. Last year Shock Stock was the biggest event I attended. This year it’s the biggest event where I’ll be a guest. It should be interesting, if nothing else.
I’ll document the trip on social media. There’s links all along the side bar, so follow me to watch the chaos as it unfolds.