To clarify, I don't do comic books. That is, I don't write them, draw them, or ink. Heck, I barely read them these days. But that didn't stop me from joing sellers of soap, shot glasses, Chinese weapons, jewelry, or Renn-Faire refuse in hawking my wares in a booth of my own.
And if you're like me and curious about the numbers, here's the low down on the experience...
DCCC changed ownership last year. But that didn't seek to affect the show. In fact, it seemed remarkably like the last few years. I think this was my third time as a vendor, fourth or fifth time just being there.
Hosted at Louisville, Kentucky's International Exhibition Center in Downtown Louisville, the show had ample floor space as always. Which meant a crap-ton of booths, less than half of which seemed to have any real connection to comic books. And of those, about half had actual comic books. Or less.
That doesn't mean it's not a fun show. There was a 1967 Chevy Impala, done up like "Baby" from Supernatural, complete with a weapons-laden trunk that would do the Winchester Brothers proud. There was also a super-cool 1989 Batmobile there as well. For only $10, you could climb inside and get your picture taken. I was sorely tempted, but given my six-foot, five-inch, 300-plus pound size, I was worried I might break something trying to get back out (something of the car's or my own).
The vendors this year offered a plethora of popculture paraphenalia, from Funco Pops (although no B-9 Robot) to a slew of Japanimation stuff I couldn't identify.
I was but one of many authors, sitting at my booth, watching people pass me, uninterested in seeing my wares. Many of my fellow authors later lamented this, remarking that "sales were slow". If you then pointed out that attendance was good on Saturday morning, the standard response was invariably that "yeah, but they weren't buying anything."
I disagree. People were buying a lot. I saw them carrying plastic bags crammed with goodies like a cosplayer squeezed into a furry suit.
And yes, there were a lot of cosplayers, of varying degrees of skill level. From those wearing pieces of Halloween costumes, to full blown, hand-sewn masterpieces. I'll admit though, that the great cosplayers were few and far between this year, driven away no doubt by the countless teens wearing red and white long sleeve t-shirts, over-sized black sunglasses and short-haired blonde wigs. I still don't know what the hell that costume is from, but if anymore people wear it, it's going to become the official uniform of the DCCC.
So what was the damage this year? Well, I think my share of the booth I co-manned was $35.00. And I had to buy two additional passes for my two helpers (my daughters) for another $30 total. Parking was $6, $4, and $8 (I came and went a few times), for a grand total of $83.00.
Of course, I also had secondary expenses. $25 for a banner from Staples. $10 for new business cards (they do run out sometimes). $100 for some print editions of my latest books (A Cold Dark War and Outlaws of Olympus). That brought the total to $218.00.
Now mind you, if I had attended as just a guest, I'd have spent $60 for me and the kids' admission. So we'll deduct that from the expenses... so we're back to $158. Parking for one day would have been $8.00. Now we're back to $150.00.
I sold $56 worth of books... so now we're down to $94.
Fortunately, I live nearby, so there was no hotel or appreciable travel expenses.
I came home with more books than I sold, too, so I assume I can deduct those as well... I think it's $75 worth of print copies remaining.
Final cost to hawk my wares at this show: $19.00
I didn't talk to that many folks this year, so I didn't have anywhere near the bookmarks handed out, or pinback buttons (all left over from last year, I'll note). I made four new readers, hopefully, but sales as yet online don't seem unchanged.
Did that $19.00 accomplish anything? Probably not much. But my kids got to have fun and spend a bunch of their saved up money, so all in all, I guess it was okay.
The lesson for other authors though, is that YOU DON'T SELL BOOKS AT COMIC BOOK CONVENTIONS. I've harped about this before, but my kids and a fellow author wanted me to do this show again so I relented. And I suppose the $19 spent on a Facebook add wouldn't have been very fruitful either. I ran one of those for $25 on Friday before the show and only sold 4 copies of my latest release--and that's about what I normally sell in the same period.