*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.