Posted July 18, 2011on:
It’s not really possible to synopsize Readercon, there are just too many things going on, and not all of it is of interest to all participants. I was mostly interested in the panels on trans-genre subjects, much less so in the panels on colonialism, paranormal romance, or brain structure. I was lucky that the panels I wanted to see were so neatly arranged around my stint in the book room.
After the book review panel on Evaporating Genres ended, I went up to the author and asked him if the book was available at the event as I would love to get a signed copy. As I was talking to him one of the panelists came up and handed him a copy of the book, since it was his own. I asked, “Can I buy that one?” He gave it to me and said I could pay him when he came to the signing table. He appeared in the bookstore a few minutes later, not his scheduled signing time, and I made myself known to him. I had the money in one hand and a copy of St. Martin’s Moon in the other, and he decided to take the book in trade! One of the panelists appeared a few moments later, also a reviewer, and I put a copy in his hand as well. I only hope either of these gentlemen actually review it! On Sunday as the event was winding down I told Mr. Wolfe how much I had enjoyed the title essay of the collection, but I noted that there was nothing in it about SF crossed with Gothic, which was my own story. He got this faraway look in his eye…
Saturday in the bookstore was pretty busy, and we sold quite a few books. Sunday we sort of expected to be like Saturday, only more so, since most of the cons we do have the veteran shoppers doing a lot of comparison on the first two days but they don’t actually buy until Sunday on the way out the door. Many cons we sell as many books on Sunday as we sold on Saturday only in less time. That was unfortunately not the case this time. We did, however, have a remarkable success on Sunday with our set of ebook coupons. These are pieces of paper with the book cover on one side and instructions on the other. We put on a coupon code when you buy it so that the user can enter the coupon code at the website and get the story for free. This is a great way for us to sell something tangible that is still an ebook. We had many people come up who were much more interested in them than paper books. The only bad thing was that we didn’t have the coupons out the whole three days, just on Sunday. We won’t be making that mistake again! I can see stocking-stuffer and greeting card potential with these.
One important aspect of the con that got small attendance was the debrief at the end, when the con managers asked for feedback on how the con had performed this year. Not only did I pass on my pleasure at the panels that I’d attended, I also passed on some negative reports I’d received from people who were not present to make them. One negative I’d experienced for myself was the line to the signing table, which extended up the aisle and effectively cut off the vendors on the wall fro the customers. More than once I had to call them over, through the line. One of the signers was sitting right behind me and commented how unhappy he was, that he couldn’t talk to people as he signed their books, since the line was in everyone’s way and he felt rushed to trim it down.
There were also some children who could have used some parental supervision.
I had an idea for a panel, and will be suggesting it on the appropriate email line when they open in September. I would also be interested in participating in a panel or two. I’m actually not sure if going back as a vendor would be especially profitable, as I doubt we’ll have that many new books out by then and I don’t know if the turnover from one year to the next is very great. On the other hand, the most common answer I received when I asked people what they liked to read was “Yes”, so hopefully I can interest them in the mysteries and whatnot next time around.
Next weekend is Confluence!