OK - most important things first. I survived the trip home.
Don't laugh. After my last convention in July (I call them that even though I see none of the panels and almost never get out of the Dealers Room), I left at 4 Pm and got home at 2 AM, mostly because of construction on the I80 in PA. So this was a distinct improvement, although I will admit to a bit of scary moment when it looked like another delay in Pennsylvania.
I must say I liked the feel of Astronomicon. The people there were very friendly and really loved the subject. The problem was that there so few people there, which they also don't understand. There are several schools in the area, but the students don't come. Quite a few people in the Dealers Room were also Panelists, constantly going in and out. On Saturday we sold a grand total of 20 books, and that's not good. I've done events where that was OK, but not any with a hotel bill attached. Sunday we did the same, which is pretty common. Most convention-goers will shop around for the first few days, and then come back and buy stuff on the last day as they're walking out the door, so they don't have to lug all that stuff around. We also got quite respectable sales from Con staff and other dealers. I also handed out a bunch of my cards for my short stories, so hopefully I'll see some activity there. It's kind of hard to push a story that doesn't come in a paper form I can hand to the customer.
As usual we didn't sell just fantasy books. These events are for people who like to read, and so we often sell a reasonable percentage of non-fantasy books. Lots of mysteries, an adventure novel, even a western. No surprises there, we sell a couple of westerns at almost every Con. I think the effort made to distinguish SF from the Western back in the early days of SF was valiant, necessary, and doomed. They have too much in common.
So as business ventures go, it was a bit of a bust, as the sales didn't really justify the expense of going. They were very nice about it, only charging us for one table instead of the two we signed up for, and they even let us expand into a third spot since there was room and no one else was using it. As a vacation it was much better.
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