Let’s get the most important part of the weekend out of the way first:
Fortunately, Leona was able to outrun the angel. (There were a lot of people in the room at the time, which helped.) It was later seen at the booth for Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in the main dealer’s room, and seemed surprisingly kind. Perhaps it just didn’t like being offered coffee–flavored candy….
Next important piece of news: we completely sold out of Devo Spice: Dr. Who, Galactic Creatures, & all Tephra plushes! This is sad news, but great news at the same time, because it opens up three slots for the NEW and amazing indie and small press works we’ve had on the shortlist for months now. First up will be a book by Steven Savage–we’re waiting on the copies to hit our hands before we list it in inventory, so keep an eye out for that announcement! We expect to have all inventory slots filled up once more by the end of September at latest.
As for Shore Leave itself, it was fun! Very, very crowded–so Leona stuck close by The Scribbling Lion dealer’s room table when she wasn’t out at a panel. She’ll be posting her writeup of the convention shortly. The table itself looked like this at first:
Later, it looked like this:
Um. Yeah. That table being swarmed was selling gorgeous handmade jewelry. We don’t really blame anyone for looking at the shiny pretties instead of the books…
We did fairly well at the convention, considering the bling booth beside us. However, “doing fairly well” is a relative term. As a clarification: we made back the cost of our table ($175) and a little bit more. This is a cheer-worthy achievement at a show that drew people in to see names like Richard Dean Anderson and Eve Miles. We are inordinately proud of our relative success….
….but if you factor in hotel room, gas, and meals, we lost a painful amount of money. This surprised nobody on the team (we would have had to clear a RIDICULOUS amount of money to make expenses back!), but it occasioned a heavy sigh nonetheless. We always have expected, and continue to expect, that 2014 will be a dead loss, considering that we’ve observed patrons tend to be much more comfortable buying from vendors they’ve met before. Until we get into the routine of being at multiple conventions a year, we’re going to be “outsiders” to a certain degree, and that’s going to impact sales.
It would also have helped if we’d been able to find the book stands… not being able to face-out the books made the table much easier to pass by without really looking at it. We won’t be repeating THAT mistake, believe us!
Not unexpected, not a problem. And the giveaway bag, stuffed full of items donated by Retro Daddios of Williamsburg, VA, as well as by fellow vendors at Shore Leave, was awesome fun:
Here again, we learned a couple of important lessons: first, convention raffle drawings should be EARLY in the morning on Sunday, not at noon–most people had left by that time, and we went through a number of tickets before finally drawing one that was able to come pick up the prize! 🙁 We might even run the drawing on Saturday nights from now on, to make it even easier on all concerned. We also need to be much more clear on our giveaway policy; we’re considering printing out a batch of mini-cards to hand out to everyone entering the raffle, that explicitly state rules such as: 1) you must be present to win–meaning you must be on site to pick the item up yourself within an hour; 2) if you have a friend pick up your winnings, they must be able to come get the prize within that same hour; and 3) if you don’t answer your phone, we won’t leave a message and will just move on to the next ticket. All non-surprising as far as lessons learned go, and offered up here for other small businesses to learn from. 😀
So it was a fun weekend, if not particularly profitable. We definitely recommend Shore Leave to folks who love Star Trek and all its iterations, and who can handle being around large crowds for an entire weekend (the signing line was 1400 people at one point–yikes!).
We’ll close this post with a reminder that if you believe in The Scribbling Lion’s mission of bringing excellent independent and small press creations to a wider audience, you can help. Spread the word about The Scribbling Lion to your friends and family. Talk up the books and music we sell, and direct people to our web site–online orders are much more profitable for us than conventions! And there’s always the discreet Paypal donation bucket at the bottom of the page.
Of course, for the most ROI (return on investment) you can always come out to a convention we’ll be vending at! Atomacon is up next, and looks like it’ll be a ton of fun… we’re really excited about attending! Please do wander on out and enjoy the weekend with us–we’d love to see you! 😀