Reminder of what I said last year:
"Might try the one hour thing again, since I'll be an official Stardust author, and if B and N want to get a table again, I'll not do so many panels, so I can be behind the table. Which means seriously cutting back on craft fairs, except for local ones. Or maybe not; it's a double-edge sword: Make money or keep having to order inventory? Check back with me on this later."
Did I Follow My Own Advice?
Sort of. You be the judge.
I decided to take my Teen with me, since he's into gaming now (Magic The Gathering, World of Warc, Minecraft), and we left around 10:30am. Grabbed lunch at the Arby's off I-64, then headed to Louisville. Arrived, checked in.
There's a work cart in our room, plus the bathtub faucets are completely dismantled. Phone in room doesn't have the same room # (2113), and not working. I called the front desk, who said they would call maintenance.
No sooner than I hung up did Maintenance knock on the door and express surprise. They crew spoke broken English, and front desk called them thirty seconds later. We all trooped downstairs (luggage and all!) and went to the lobby, where Teen and I were issued a new room. Right across from where we were, 2114. Luggage could have stayed upstairs...and did I mention I'm still limping from an 'irritated' Achilles tendon? And the elevators are waaaaaaay at the back of this hotel.
Yeah.....poor planning on that one.
Anyway, W and I unpacked, then drove to the convention center and unloaded my stuff.
I'd forgotten my money bag with my Square.
Brian Morris, my tablemate, said I could use his. Problem solved.
I decided to attend a 'How to Sell Books At Conventions' workshop. For whatever reason, I had this in mind to be a 'which conventions would be optimal'....uh, no. It was on How To Present Yourself....everything I'd already know. Have your 'elevator pitch', smile, be positive, etc. The only part I disagreed with was about bringing all your titles. What happens if I bring only the Women's Fiction and everyone is looking for Romance? Or vice versa? This way I cover all bases.
I walked around and took pictures, and briefly chatted with a few. Did my 1st slot of Prime Author Signing and sold one book:) W and I ate dinner at the pizza buffet, and since the convention had arranged for food trucks, this took the pressure off the restaurant. Ate 3 slices of pizza and two salads. Went upstairs and watched Survivor, New Amsterdam, and TBBT, took a shower, and went to bed.
W refused to wake up, so left him some $$ and went down to breakfast, then over to the convention, so I could sit in on the 'Marketing 101'' panel, suggested by my friend CP.
Found this informative, though I already knew most of it.
Discovered Frank Hall had arrived, and wanted to show him the sneak peek of my time-travel story.
Hiccup #5: Where Was It?
Not at the table; not in one of the totes. I'd not left it in the truck....but remembered the last time I'd seen it was Friday night at the PAS....it was against the wall, where someone had graciously placed it:)
Sat for my 2nd slot of Prime Author Signing and it was Baby Row. LS had her two week old; LP had her 9 month old....my 14 y/o showed up, lol! LS sold a few; LP sold one. Me? Nada.
Game of Thrones Panel:
Enjoyed this one! I was able to contribute to the discussion and it fueled my desire to read the rest of the books AND watch Season 6 in full (I've only seen 2 episodes!)
#3 Prime Author slot followed, and while I didn't sell any, my cover artist received an amazing compliment from a professional photographer! He was comparing CJ's covers to mine and said mine were more 'professional' looking, and it made him want to pick up the book to look at it further! I sent off a message to Dawne, who was thrilled!
Lunch was a delicious crepe from the Sweet-n-Savory truck, chicken and goat cheese:) W had the chicken BLT. Afterward, he went back to the motel and swam.
Advice To New Writers
This panel was fun. We had several guests ask questions, and we were able to provide a lot of good information.
Crowdfunding For Creatives
This one was definitely informative! I may actually look into doing this.
After the expo hall closed, W and I followed CP to Cracker Barrel and had a delicious, relaxing meal.
Hiccup #6 and #7
My teen took his sweet time returning to the truck. C had just decided to go on and get the table when he finally showed up!
After dinner, W returned to the pool and I watched my Thursday night comedies online. Around 11pm, W asks for a candy bar, and my wallet turns up missing.
Panic. Did it fall out in the suitcase? No. Did it fall out in the truck? No. Had it fallen out while hiking back to the room? I went to the front desk. No one had turned one in.
We returned to the convention center, for we HAD made a lap around the game room and I HAD taken a picture of the steampunk costumed lady. It wasn't under a chair when we checked it earlier. As we're walking in, a lady was coming out. W asked if she knew anything about a missing wallet, and the reply was that yes, one had been found. I quickly found Holly, who said Robyn had it, but she'd gone to bed. David said he knew where R had put it, and went to get it. My wallet was found, with everything still in it! I thanked God and everyone!!!
W got his candy, and I went to bed.
Decided to pop into 'Frugal Conventioning'.
Again, for whatever reason, I thought this was going to be more about how to do Cons on a shoestring budget, and it turned out to be common sense stuff: Share a table/room. Watch VistaPrint for sales. Stick to your Con budget. Yeah....stuff I already knew.
I went to my table and talked with BKM, plus walked around to take more pictures.
Importance of Networking
This panel was also fun, plus I was able to reconnect with an author I'd not seen since last April:)
I'd begged Holly to get someone to present a step-by-step tutorial of how to set up a newsletter on this site, so I was eagerly anticipating it.
Was deeply disappointed when it turned into 'why you need a newsletter' and 'what content to provide'. 'What site to set it up (MailChimp, MailerLite, etc)' and 'where to promote your newsletter'/ I wanted to cry.....I could have spent that hour at my table!
Blog Tour Strategies
Another fun panel, plus had some great advice from a guest! Who knew the guests could teach a panelist something? LOL!
At 4:30, everyone was packing up. Said goodbye to new friends and old, and resolved to stick to my strategy next year!
Ate dinner at Fazolli's, then hit the highway.
Got stuck in traffic, due to bad accident on the bridge over the Ohio River. Semi vs car.....pretty sure the car lost. I shut off the truck to conserve gas....we were stopped for 45 mins.
In New Albany, I pulled into McDs for a sweet tea and W promptly asks for chicken mcnuggets. I changed it to a #6 combo, and he let me eat 4 or 5 nuggets.
What Will I Do Differently Next Year?
-Leave Teen at home (unless the YouTube panel/workshop will be presented.
-Double-check panel descriptions and ONLY ATTEND MY PANELS!!!
-Try to fund a full table ($110) and leave my display racks at home.
-Spend more time at my table!
Check back next year to see if I actually follow through on this?