Our publisher sent Steve and me to the Rhode Island Comic Con, to be seen, and to see, and to sell books.
Comic Cons are the Coming Thing. They’re huge; they’re noisy; they’re distracting, and they’re expensive. These are features, and perhaps they are features — I’m an old stick-in-the-mud, and an introvert, besides, so bear that in mind when reading my comments.
For instance, standing behind a table and, um…vigorously coaxing people to cross a crowded aisle to look at our books (and the books of the four other authors represented on a six-foot table, in an eight-foot space)…requires a level of energy that is difficult for me to maintain. I can certainly talk to people about our books, or about our cats, or about being married to one’s co-author, or if I think Trad Publishing is Ded and Indie the Wave of the Future, or. . .
But shouting, and selling — and selling hard — for 22 hours out of 72 possible weekend hours, essentially non-stop. Nope. No can do.
Apparently the con had. . .decided to reallocate vendor space in midstream, and then stopped talking to vendors whose space had been down-sized*.
Thus, there wasn’t any room for the usual booth accoutrements, including a Ginormous Tower of Nerd, which in the usual way of things can be seen from any point on the sales floor.
It was rather crowded behind that small table (four authors! no waiting!), and standing on a cement floor for hours at a go tends to make your feet, your knees, your hips, and your back hurt. I’ve done huckstering at cons before — though none of them in excess of 60,000 attendees — and mostly we had a bit of carpet or other concrete-softener to stand on. It’s amazing what a difference a bit of indoor-outdoor carpeting can make.
For reasons best known to its concom, the RICC decided not to host a literary track, so there were no panels, or readings, available to any of us author-types, which might have increased recognition, and thereby sales.
All that said, books were sold, with Carousel Tides being a surprise bestseller among the Lee-and-Miller, and Lee offerings. This may be the first con at which I sold books where fantasy was preferred to space opera. Which probably tells us something about the average attendee of Rhode Island Comic Con.
On the plus side, there were a lot of interesting costumes, though I lacked the cultural knowledge to recognize most of them. Of those I did recognize, Harley Quinn was very well represented, as was the Joker. There were a good number of storm troopers, and Jawas; many Reys, and only one slave-girl Leia, thank ghod. Black Widow was well-represented, and Hawkeye; also Spidey, Cap, Bats, and the Power Puff Girls.
I particularly liked the woman who was dressed up as a white fox with nine tails; and another woman who was carrying a storm cloud as an umbrella.
Many strange and wonderful things were for sale in the vendor area, including pearls — you choose an oyster from the tank, said oyster having been pre-seeded with the body part of an enemy (which is what makes pearls, and not sand — who knew?), and whatever pearl is found within is used in the piece of custom jewelry that they’ll be making for you on the other side of the table.
There were many, many stuffies on offer. I was attracted particularly to a three-tailed fox, that came in about two zillion colors, but, since I had no idea what the character was, I thought it safer to leave them all alone.
The con closed at 5 pm on Sunday. Steve and I left Rhode Island after breakfast on Monday, pausing at Old Orchard Beach to view the Super Moon, before continuing up to the Cat Farm, where we were greeted with pleasure by all the resident felines. We ate a late lunch, read a section of Jingo aloud, and sought our bed, tired, but exhausted.
I woke up at about four o’clock this morning with a splitting headache, sore throat, fever, and upset stomach — which is what you get when you mix a stupid immune system with dry, canned air being rebreathed by a large crowd of your closest friends. Or at least, it seems to be what I increasingly get. My batting average (will she get sick? won’t she?) used to be somewhat better than .250. Might be getting old.
A judicial application of aspirin nailed the headache and the fever. Stomach still wants to be argumentative, and of course I can’t talk. Well. I have ginger tea, and honey, and I’m not afraid to use either. In the meantime, con report written, I will repair to the couch, to nap and read. For?
Tomorrow, I write.
Here, have a picture of the Super Moon as it rises behind Cape Elizabeth. Taken from 2 Brown Street, Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
*Pro Tip: This is never a good idea. Closing the lines of communication because you don’t want to endure an Unpleasant Scene will not make the temper of the wronged party any cooler when they find out What’s Happened, and! you will have to deal with them at the beginning of the con, when everything is crazy, instead of six months ago, when you had time to be diplomatic, and they had six months to adjust their mix of wares.