We have finally gotten back and have rested after Capital City Fur Con (https://capitalcityfurcon.org/). It was a first-year con, and to put it simply, there were some bumps along the way. The convention ended up a little shy of 400 attendees, which from my experience, really isn't bad for a first-year con! It seems as though they have good plans for next year, so we'll see what happens.
Harrisburg is right around a 5 hour trip. In an effort to conserve costs this year, we left late Thursday night and got there Friday morning. We probably could have left a couple hours later and focused on sleeping more, but trying to get sleep before a convention is always a challenge for us. The drive was uneventful.
Friday - Setup
Because we didn't get there Thursday, Friday is the same as the setup day, so this will be combined.
We had several new items for our setup this convention, which included more vertical book displays, a new banner stand with a much larger banner (if you remember, ours broken during the last convention), and our own table cloths. The table cloths and book displays both were quick and easy to setup, but we ran into a slight issue with the banner stand. Nothing major, but things that we'll have to get used to.
We were in the very back of the dealer's den. We were also the only ones against that back wall. The convention played a lot of roulette with tables at the last second, so we were left with an empty table on either side of us. We also had a both in front of us that was very tall (very nice people, though), but our banner stand was able to sit against the wall and go just a bit taller, so it worked out in the end. Overall we are happy with how things looked.
Friday – Sales
Going into this convention, we had zero idea what to expect for sales. We say that a lot, partially because our business is still in a rapid state of growth and everything is a surprise, and that we still haven't been to a lot of different conventions, but also being a first-year con fairly close to Anthrocon, we really had no idea what to expect.
Thrill of the Hunt ended up being the title of the morning, with nearly half of our copies going out the door in the first hour of the den opening. We brought seven, so we're not talking about a whole box of books here, but still a decent amount for an anthology at this size convention. By the end of the convention, Thrill of the Hunt did end up in second place for sales, so it was a pretty good convention for that title.
We talked to a good amount of people, someone went home with the entire Tristan series (minus the final book that comes out in March), and we gave out a lot of first-chapter samples. The day ended being my highest-grossing Friday yet, which is nice, though with how fast things are growing for us, every convention is going to keep beating other conventions for awhile.
Saturday certainly had some busy spurts. We hadn't sold any of our "Books With Character" / "Oopsy" books on Friday (books that our printer messed up covers on, so we sold them for a decent discount), but we did sell about a third of them over the course of Saturday, which was great. As usual, Symphony of Shifting Tides clawed itself back to the top of our sales list, a place it held for the rest of the convention. The day ended as our highest-grossing Saturday yet (again). The den also closed an hour earlier than usual due to scheduling issues, and we tend to get a small rush of sales at the end of a Saturday, so we have no idea how that affected things.
Sunday was interesting. As usual, we were dead in the start of the day, and then came a few rapid-fire sales. By a couple hours into the day, about a third of the tables had either packed up and left or were in the process of packing up, so we aren't quite sure if that affected sales or not. My late-day Sundays usually end up mostly dealer/staff/artist sales, and this was no different. This Sunday certainly wasn’t beating any records, but it did gross us enough to put it right up there with our highest-grossing con in general, as well grossing enough to make back a lot of expenses. We're still at the point in our business life where conventions are a loss, and are more of a marketing tool as sales continue to grow, but it's getting better and better each convention.
First-off, we would like to say that our "Quick Facts" cards were the MVP of this convention, and have ben a huge factor in our last few conventions. Without these cards, we probably would have cut our sales by about a third. These things have been so handy in talking to people (and make it so we don't have to just sit there and explain every book in detail, letting them shop in peace). We also had a suiter take pictures of several books for their sibling, who wasn't there and wanted a book. Would have been much harder to do without those cards.
Other Symphony of Shifting Tides selling the most and Thrill of the Hunt being in second, we honestly couldn't tell you what the most-wanted genre this convention was. Sales were very spread out. We did get more requests for more F/F stuff, erotic or not (and we did sell a fair number of Beyond Acacia Ridge to support that), but it's something we certainly need more of in the future!
We also did run into a handful of people who still have not even heard of published furry literature before. It's nice to be able to talk to those people and show just how much talent fandom writers have.
Not too many final thoughts to be had here this convention. Other than forgetting a couple of things (such as our main supply of business cards), we've been getting far better at preparing earlier and having to scramble less.
Our next con is Fur the More in March, and we have four new releases for there (some of which are open for pre-order now), including:
Hopefully we see you there!