Okay, The Scribbling Lion is done with convention appearances for 2015. This means that our inventory is more or less stable at this point; items that are out of stock have been marked as such and items that we’re low on have been marked as such. 🙂
This is also a good time to offer an overview of how sales have gone this year, and for the two previous years. This is a rough, off the cuff list; I’ll be working to develop a more precise list by the end of the month, as part of the Patreon I’m developing. (More on that later.)
The year started out deadly slow:
January 2015: MarsCon of Williamsburg took up this month. I was staff, so there was no push for The Scribbling Lion at this convention. There were no orders, online or otherwise, this month.
February 2015: Most of this month was eaten up with family stuff, everyday responsibilities, and various illnesses among family members. I went to Mysticon in February, as a guest. I did not have a table for TSL at this convention. There were no orders, online or otherwise, this month.
March 2015: Ditto February, but no convention.
April 2015: I went to RavenCon 2015 as a guest. TSL had a hallway table at this event. Sales were very good:
- 1 copy Secrets of the Sands
- 1 copy Guardians of the Desert
- 2 copies Bells of the Kingdom
- 1 copy Fires of the Desert
- 3 copies Fallen City (some given away as a gift)
- 1 copy Ice Forged (Gail Z. Martin)
- 1 copy Between a Roc and a Hard Place (Danny Birt)
- 1 copy A Closet For A Dragon (Allen Wold)
- 1 copy Fatal Error (Devo Spice)
- 2 copies Gnome Sane (Devo Spice)
- 3 copies Fan to Pro (Steven Savage)
- 1 copy Piano Petrissage (Danny Birt)
- 1 copy Narcoleptic Pianist (Danny Birt)
- 1 copy Exploration of Dangerous Places (Jonah Knight)
- 1 copy Creepy Christmas (Jonah Knight)
- 2 copies American Craftsmen (Tom Doyle)
- 2 copies Wizard of Macatawa (Tom Doyle)
- 2 copies Anointed (Zachary Steele)
- 3 copies Flutter (Zachary Steele)
- 1 copy Sha’Daa: PAWNS anthology (Michael Hanson/Copper Dog)
I will note that I dropped prices HEAVILY at this convention in hopes of clearing out backstock that had been sitting in my office for too long. It worked, but it made the end of weekend take (just under $300) seem anemic. Still, I consider this a very good convention.
May 2015: May was eaten up by various family and household matters. There were no conventions attended nor sales managed this month.
June 2015: Ditto May.
July 2015: I attended ConGregate 2015 as a guest. TSL had a table at this event. I’m still looking for my receipt book from this event. If I recall correctly, sales were on the low side, but I don’t trust memory….
August 2015: I was supposed to attend Shore Leave, and TSL was supposed to have a table at this event. Unfortunately, my husband’s father passed in early August and everything went on hold while family took precedence. There were no sales this month.
September 2015: September was entirely eaten up with family and household matters. There were no conventions attended nor sales managed this month.
October 2015: October was also completely devoted to family and household matters. There were no conventions attended nor sales managed.
November 2015: Family matters FINALLY stabilized enough to allow me to attend conventions once more! I went to Atomacon 2015 and ChessieCon 2015, ran a sales table for TSL at each one, and sold about $500 worth of product across the two conventions. Atomacon was low for sales; I bought nearly as much new inventory as I sold of the old. However, much of the new product I picked up at Atomacon promptly sold out at ChessieCon, so I’m happy about that!
December 2015: I will not be attending or running a table at any events in December. I am, however, putting together a Patreon in hopes of keeping the doors open. This year has been, on review, particularly rough on income. I know exactly what happened and there’s almost nothing I could have done to prevent the overall loss. Upheaval and getting off track are risks inherent to small businesses like mine. If family has to come first, sometimes business will crash out for a bit. I’m renewing my commitment to and passion for The Scribbling Lion this month, and hoping to launch forward into a new and less complicated 2016.
I will also note that I flat out gave away a lot of books in 2015, either as add-ons to a bulk purchase or as part of events such as the Broad Universe Full Moon Blog Hop.
PREVIOUS YEARS, by way of comparison:
2013: Conventions attended (some as author, some as both vendor & author): Capclave, AtomaCon, Darkover. Some individual/web site sales. Total sales: Under $600 for the entire year.
2014: Conventions attended (some as author, some as both vendor & author): MystiCon, ROFcon, VA Festival of the Book, BaltiCon, ShoreLeave, Atomacon. Some individual/web site sales. Total sales: Roughly $1000 across the course of the year.
So I was growing the business quite nicely in 2014, although the outlay was still way, way outstripping the income. In 2015, even with the canceled conventions and personal upheaval, I still pulled in over $800 in overall sales. Anemic as hell, absolutely. But I’m not ready to give up yet. Thus the Patreon I mentioned earlier.
The basic notion behind a Patreon is that of, well, patronage: you support me in my endeavors to bring more diverse and exciting new work in front of a wider audience, and in return you get rewards, first-look priority at new deals, freebies, behind-the-scenes info, and so on. If you’re a creative person yourself, looking for someone to help you market/promote your work, the rewards are even sweeter. Once I get the basic bills paid, a large portion of anything I pull in will be funneling back out directly to the authors and artists, either via me buying more inventory, throwing you a great book launch party, or even in the form of helping you out with your bills.
I’m still developing the exact terms and plan for the Patreon. It should go live within the next two weeks, at a guess. If you have suggestions or requests for what YOU would like to see featured, or pet peeves on such things that you desperately want me to avoid featuring, please do drop me a line in the comments or through a direct email. I want to hear what you want, what you think, what YOU need from The Scribbling Lion.
That’s enough, this post just broke a thousand words. Ah, well. I hope y’all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that your December will be the most joyous and peaceful you’ve ever experienced!