Let the ConPuns Begin

It’s Tuesday after a rough, sick Monday. Some kind of summer fever struck. Ibuprofen handled it just fine, as did a nap. But I still lost half a day of work I’m going to try catching up on this week.

Over this weekend, I’ve been gathering information about conventions within traveling distance for sales purposes. These conventions go on all the time, but they vary just enough from theme to theme that it’s not always easy to identify which are the right ones to attend. There’s some flexibility. Literary, science fiction and fantasy genre conventions are usually ideal. Yet some want more established and respected works from verified producers. Other conventions sometimes target more specific mediums, such as comic books.

spartaOthers can oddly get both specific and yet varied, such as SpartaCon which focuses on warrior culture both fictional and non-fictional. While some draws include shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Spartacus, I’ve read through sources that it can also host historical reenactments and health and fitness coaching like CrossFit, attracting folks who truly want to live the warrior lifestyle. It’s rather badass when a person’s “cosplay” requires 7/24/365 work to earn. Although I don’t joke when I say my body isn’t ready.

I’m also aware that some of these conventions are going to have more barriers to entry. Some openly do not accept self-published authors, while others will probably push them down the acceptance lists for regular publishers. There are pros and cons to these.

Other times, it’s just the sheer number of competitors. George R.R. Martin will be attending MystiCon this coming February, undoubtedly drawing in the fans. This was probably a factor in the closing of their vendor applications despite six months left to go. Still, while this is interesting to know for later, I don’t worry about it too much. Instead, I aim for smaller conventions to get my feet wet. I’d rather the chance to be a bit more personable anyway.

As I padded my list of potential convention to visit, an idea come to me. Why not a coalition program to support various other small press publishers at the vendor tables, with the agreement they repay in kind? Fact is, I’m in a strange limbo place with a few stories published under one imprint, a few more under another and so on.

And even if I were to start my own book company in the next year, we wouldn’t have any titles for almost six months and probably couldn’t fill the table with only our own releases for another year or two after that. Diversity mitigates risk after all. I’ll probably stew on this and throw it into the next “Open Source Thinking” post I’m cooking up.

Anyway, right now my intention is to try and hit at least one convention as a member by the end of the year to get more comfortable. Listen to the authors and watch how they work the crowd, pay attention to the most effective strategies in the vending rooms and probably pick up a fresh book or two. Got to support your industry now.

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