*dusts off the blog section of the website*
Hello all! We’ve just returned from our first Camp Tiny Paws (www.tinypawscon.org), and it was an excellent convention! Though if you follow my Twitter, you probably are aware we had a good time. The convention ended up at 273 attendees, which while that was technically a slight drop from the previous year, the convention seems to have a good base for growth in the future. A perfect storm of things seemed to happen to several people prior to the con, which left about four tables in the Dealer's Den empty.
I'm going to break these posts up into a handful of sections, for consistency!
Danbury is about 1.75 hours from us. Just out of range to be a commutable convention, but a short enough distance that the round trip plus going to a couple stores in the area requires less than half a tank of gas. Meant also we didn't have to leave until after noon, so that was helpful.
We decided late into the season we wanted to go for Thursday. Every time I say I'm going to setup on Friday morning I end up swapping things around last-minute and going in for Thursday. Yes it means we can set our table up on our own schedule and relax for the rest of the night, but it means we pay for another hotel night, and we seem to run into a problem every Thursday. This convention's problem came when trying to setup my banner. I stupidly stood on a chair (which if any dealers have sat on the padded conference room chairs in these dens, they know that the support is basically gone), so the chair fell over and sent me toppling into my table. I broke my banner stand (though it still managed to stand for the rest of the con), and we spilled two very full Starbucks coffees, ruining one of my display books and making me have to reprint a couple fact cards, which luckily wasn't a huge issue. It was a bummer, but things ironed themselves out quickly enough.
Going in we knew that we technically had what I would call the most difficult table spot in the den. We faced a wall with a garbage can, and to our left was the back corner of the room, farthest away from the door. To combat this, the next banner we're ordering will be double-sided.
Also an issue was that this was our first convention with two tables. The extra space was definitely needed, though for the first time, I didn't make a full Photoshop mock-up of where everything was going to go. It created a bit of confusion and caused setup to take longer, but ultimately we're happy with how things looked. We are looking to make some decent adjustments for our next convention, though.
In our Gen 3 setup arrangement period (Gen 1 being when I was only an editing company, and Gen 2 being when we had less titles at our table than fingers on one hand, and no merch), Friday has been our slowest day. Despite the fact that I've grown far better and more confident in my online marketing, most people don't know we're at these conventions, or that we exist in general, so we don't have people seeking us out on Friday. Fridays at cons are people coming around and seeing what's in the den, taking our business card and some first-chapter samples, and potentially coming back later in the convention. Sales were fairly light, but if you look at the number of attendees versus other conventions, it still wasn't awful.
Saturday started out pretty busy for us. We sold most of our copies of Symphony of Shifting Tides on Saturday, because a super-diverse cast of characters + fantasy = the book that most people seem to want. There were times when dealers were the only people in the room, but that's to be expect from such a small convention, where the dealers themselves make up a notable percentage of the entire convention attendance. Things picked up, and by the end of the day, we'd hit the highest amount of gross sales we've ever had on Saturday (though only by a slight margin).
Sunday was when the action happened. Despite several slow periods, Sunday was when we got the most number of people coming back and saying they've read the first-chapter samples, and were ready to purchase the full book (and sometimes others). We also had our first instance of someone reading part of book one of a series, then coming back and buying books two and three while they were there. Not the first time we've sold all available books in a series at once, but the first time they'd taken time to read a chunk of one at the con! In the end, we were $10 short of making this day our highest-grossing day of all time.
If you've been following our Twitter, you'll notice we started doing a bundle deal for conventions—our "Intro to Furry Lit" bundles. This contains one of our new reusable bags filled with a copy of A Glimpse of Anthropomorphic Literature, one anthology of their choice, and one Pocket Shot of their choice for $25 (plus or minus for a more or less expensive item). Several potential buyers expressed it was a really cool idea, but we only had a couple takers on the actual bundle deal. It doesn't cost us anything to have it exist, so it's something we'll continue doing for future conventions.
The biggest genre of interest for this convention ended up being "fantasy". Symphony of Shifting Tides is 2/1 for selling out at this point, which tells me there's definitely a good, active market for fantasy, especially magical fantasy (compared to high fantasy, though that still had some good interest, just not a lot in the way of sales). We'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more fantasy in our submission pile in the future.
Unsurprisingly as well, customers were yearning for more transgender representation in stories, as well as more lesbian representation. We only have one of each at this time, and we NEED to have more. Our submissions are open until November 1st, so pleasepleaseplease, submit those stories to us!
While we still had our normal group of people who all but ran from our table when they figured out they sold books, I'd say we had a smaller percentage of that than usual.
As we have mentioned on Twitter, Camp Tiny Paws 2019 sits now at our second-highest-grossing convention of all times (only topped by AnthrOhio 2019 that beat it by a small margin, albeit with 1000 more attendees). What we didn't mention on Twitter, Camp Tiny Paws 2019 is officially our most profitable convention to date, and the convention where we've sold the highest number of books. This was also the first convention where our gross sales managed to pay for our hotel, tables, registration, and cost of gas. We still have a long way to go before conventions become actually profitable, but we're making bigger and bigger strides. I also feel like I have a far, far better understanding of this business than I did even a few months ago. I will continue to learn more, and continue to better my business, and myself.
It's been a little while since we've made a post! As per usual, it seems. 2019 has started out very strong for us, and we're looking to continue that into the rest of the year and into coming years.
Our book releases for 2019 have begun in full swing, and there are several more to come!
We will have a couple more titles coming forward later this year (May and beyond), so stick around. Lots more to look forward to.
If you've been keeping up with the Fanged Fiction Twitter account, you've probably seen us advertising Tristan by Sylvain St-Pierre. For any of you that don't know, we've been editing for Sylvain via Ottercorrect Literature Services for the last few years now, editing seven novels for him to date. We've enjoyed his writing, and have decided to print and distribute his work! While these items won't hold our logo, they still hold our support, and we're very excited to bring them to you.
What does that mean for you? Well, for the next seven months, hopefully, we'll be releasing one of his titles each month, which includes a paperback version and a redesigned ebook version! If you want to read samples of each of the titles we'll be carrying, visit his website and check him out. Sylvain has been self-publishing his work for awhile, and is currently selling the ebooks for each of his released titles, but you'll be able to get them all right here, fully updated, coming soon.
If you like Sylvain's work, along with buying the titles we release, he releases a lot of extra content on his Patreon, so consider supporting him there.
If you like his work, also consider joining his Discord channel, where you get to read first drafts of a lot of work, talk about existing work, and have input on in-progress work.
Another gap, but another round of exciting news!
Needless to say, we've been busy. Not only do we currently have two anthologies open for submissions—we know we announced them last time, but they're still going strong—but we've accepted not one, but three works for publications! We've also released a few new merchandise options over the last month or so that's worth getting excited about.
As a reminder, we have two anthology calls open for submissions. You can check them out here, but here's a brief rundown of them anyway!
Goal Publications is open for short stories based around coffee. The usual rules about anthro animals that surround all stories we accept applies, but the story much have a theme that centralizes somewhere around coffee.
Fanged Fiction, our 18+ imprint, is open for erotic stories with a strong predator/prey dynamic. Make them unique, as they will be regarded with much higher priority than your generic "cat chases mouse" or vice-versa stories!
Along with our Whandirlust tshirts now being offered in a variety of fun colors, we have two other items that have had a lot of attention!
The Upcoming Releases
I think we've teased you long enough.
Expected to release in mid November of 2018, award-winning author Renee Carter Hall of titles such as Huntress and By Sword and Star brings us our second Pocket Shot entitled Signal, a story about a rakuun whose curiosity gets the better of him, leading him on a journey to discover more about the ones who came before him.
Next, expected to release in February 2019 at Anthro New England, novelist Ben Goodridge—who you may know from his previous titles White Crusade and Found: One Apocalypse—brings us Akela, the gripping tale set in the Australian Outback following Akela, an anthro wolf—Bushchild—struggling to regain his memories and the life he once had. This title is a long time in the making, and we're all excited to bring it to you.
Finally, in her first publication expected to release in May of 2019, Leila Wilson with musical fames like the Freedom Planet OST and the upcoming Kyle & Lucy OST, bring us a Symphony of Shifting Tides, following Verse and their friend and partner-in-crime Xan, pirates who are forced out of water due to the death of the sea. They only want to leave and find a new home, but they get pulled into an adventure full of war, magic, and prophecies that Verse never wanted a part of.
Want to join in on the fun? While we are closed for novel submissions, we are opening back up for Pocket Shots on October 1st, 2018. Check out the submission guidelines for more details on this type of book, and how you can submit.
As our usual reminder, we are open for publication submissions! Check out our submissions page for more information on how to submit.
We are also looking for more project in the editing side of things! Check out our main site for how to send your project in for editing, and also check out the updated pages on our referral program (for current clients), as well as resources on how to edit your own work a bit better.
Doesn't it feel like we were just down this road recently? You're right, we were. Squarespace was great with our website for awhile, but sadly they limited us on some options, making things difficult on the logistics end. We've moved over to Weebly, and because of that, we have these new features for you:
Thanks again for your support. You all make these things worth it!
We are going to be at a few conventions in the first half of the year, dealing at most. You will be able to find Sean:
- Dealing at Anthro New England in Boston, MA (late February)
- Dealing at Pine Fur Con in South Portland, ME (late April)
- Dealing at AnthrOhio, sharing a table with Lil' Shark, in Cleveland, OH (late May)
- Attending at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh, PA (early July)
As usual, we are still open to novel, novella, and visual novel submissions. We need more titles to showcase this year, so keep them coming in!
It's been a very eventful year for us! We are still a very new publishing company with a lot to learn, and this year has been a learning experience.
In April of this year, we released our first novel, reWritten by Jako Malan. This book has turned out to be a great success, just as we'd hoped. This chilling adventure has earned quite a bit of praise, and we are excited to work on Project Greenfields, the visual novel sequel for reWritten.
It was at this time we also learned that e-book formatting is certainly nowhere near as easy as it looks! We will be rectifying our lack of formats for 2018, with a little help from our new staff members, Amy and Rechan. We've only been working together for a month now, but their help has proved to be invaluable.
In June, we released Symbol of a Nation, an anthology edited by Fred Patten. This collect has a lot of strong stories in it, some of which already being murmured as candidates for awards this upcoming year.
We also learned that larger conventions are certainly not our most profitable venues. For the foreseeable future, we will be attending larger conventions, such as Anthrocon and Midwest FurFest, but will not be dealing at them.
We've also started unveiling merchandise for our most profitable venture, Blackgate, created by HTBH Games and managed by us. Look forward to plenty more merchandise coming forward in 2018, with plenty of help from our beloved merchandise artist, Lil' Shark.
Finally, plans are underway for the release of Heirloom of the Rusks, a very Redwall-esque YA adventure that deals with a lot of high-fantasy and magical realism. We will open up pre-orders at Pine Fur Con in late April, and the book is set to release on a currently-undermined date after.
Thank you to all who have supported us in 2017, whether through advice, retweets, submissions, or even positive feedback to others. We really appreciate it, and hope for a happy and healthy New Years for all.