Zombie Convention Wrap Up

I suppose that it only makes sense that I feel like a zombie after spending the weekend at Z-Con.1 I had an absolutely amazing time. As anyone who follows this rant space knows,2 this was my first as a solo vendor. While I have worked numerous conventions as a vendor with the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers, this was the first time I was out as myself, promoting only collections that I was in. I was very nervous.3

Let me pause for a moment and say that portions of the previous paragraph are pattentedly untrue. The Mrs came on Saturday to help me at the table. Sunday I had the pleasure of having the infinitely upbeat and vivacious Peggy Ann Lee as my assistant. Both of them did an amazing job of talking to people, conversing with the crowds, and selling my shi...stuff. One billion thanks to both of them.

Let me address all of the usual questions first, then I’ll go on and gush a little bit. Yes, I had fun. Yes, I thought it was a great convention. Yes, I would do it again. Yes, I actually made money.

Unfortunately, I did not get to see many of the movies. I certainly could have, but I didn’t want to abandon the people who came to help me. I paid for the table, I should be there shilling the wares, yes?

I am also pleased to announce that the
Square Credit Card reader worked just great. I think the break down of cash to credit cards was about 2 to 1. I will have to check that.

I got to unveil the amazing business cards which were designed by
Exit 57 Graphics and spread the word about the GLAHW Halloween party and the anthology that I hope to put together in the next few years.

I also did some networking, both at the convention and during the after party on Saturday. I won’t lie to you, Marge. That was very stressful for me. I have a really hard time promoting myself due to that whole lack of a sense of self worth thing that pops up at the worst possible times. That being said, I do have some contact numbers including someone who is willing to interview me on internet radio.

Yeah, that totally terrifies me.

Trico Lutkins of
Source Point Press had an interesting observation. He said that one of the benefits of the particular convention was that there was so much more to do than just look at things in the vendor room. People could walk around and look at things for sale, then go have lunch, take in a movie or two, listen to a panel discussion, vote in the art gallery, and go through the haunted house -- all without leaving the building! After all of this they could then come back and purchase the items that they hadn’t been able to stop thinking about while they were eating, watching, listening, etc.

For the record, Source Point Press was one of the places I spent my money this weekend. If you haven’t checked out the amazing work that this company is doing, stop reading this and go visit their website (come back when you are done). They have not been around long, but are already building a solid reputation as a publisher of quality fiction, poetry, and comic books.

While I am at it, let me mention a few other vendors that I had the pleasure of talking to (and in many cases buying things from).

Blackendruby Jewelry carries beautiful and slightly spooky jewelry. I purchased a red and white skull brooch to add to my new bowler hat.

Creepy n Cute Shop makes custom dolls with a disturbed bent. They donated some of their merchandise as prizes for the Gleaners fund raising campaign. Peggy won a cute one eyed doll on Sunday.

Studio + F/X 101 had a corner where they were doing prosthetic make-up demonstrations. I didn’t even know that we had such a place in the area.

Dani Cakes of
Razor Ray & Dani Cakes spoke to me for quite a while. I won’t say about what because I don’t want to jinx it.

I spent quite a bit of time talking to
Steve Bejma. This amazing artist is a regular at many of the conventions the GLAHW attends as well as tons of others. I was very happy to see him when I started carting my stuff in on Friday.

I spent a little more money at
Don England’s booth. Another great artist who we are very familiar with from our con travels. His work will be familiar to anyone who has purchased any of the recent GLAHW anthologies since he has been doing our covers for a couple years now. I would love to tell you what I bought from him, but it is a present and I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I was fortunate enough to have two great neighbors for the duration of the convention. To my left were the gentleman from
Three Corpse Circus a short film festival in Ann Arbor (held in the beautiful Michigan theatre)7. I attended last year and I am already looking forward to this year’s selections.

To my right was someone that you are going to hear more about in a future post. The people from the film
Sleep, Wake, Forget did a great job of getting out the word on this movie which I just can’t wait to see.

I spent most of my time at the table, but I did take some time off to see
David Hayes and a number of other people discuss the history of zombie films. I also took a little time to shmooze8 with an editor from Rue Morgue magazine.

All things totaled, I had an amazing weekend. Thank you to everyone who came out and visited and brought a little brightness to my little corner of the vendor’s room.

1 Honestly, I am sooooooo tired it is ridiculous. I slept eight hours last night, napped for another three this afternoon, and accomplished absolutely nothing today. Hell, I didn’t even attempt to accomplish anything today. My brain just feels fried. Right now it is a little before 9pm and I could have gone to sleep 4 hours ago.

2 For those of you who are here for the first time, welcome! Sit back, relax, and try not to take anything too seriously. Except of course for the serious stuff. Oh, and always, always, read the footnotes.

3 What is even more ridiculous is that I have attended a number of conventions on my own and done the whole networking thing. I have also attended conventions as a panelist where I actually had to get up in front of a room of people and talk.
4 Why I should be so nervous when I had to do was just sell stuff is beyond me. It must have had something to do with the fact that I was promoting myself, which is a bit weird, given my usual lack of self-esteem.

4 Including, of course,
Penguicon where I am currently serving my second year as the Head of the Literature Track. Not only am I speaking in front of people, I am the guy recruiting other people to speak and coming up with ideas of panels which they would like to speak about!

5 Technically, I turned a profit. By that I mean that I sold enough merchandise to cover the table cost. When you take into account the merchandise I purchased from other vendors I think I just broke even. If you factor in the new business cards, the new business card holder and the stands, the cost of printing fliers...well... On the plus side, I’ll be using the cards and holders and such form now on. The fliers were an important bit of necessary marketing. I’m going to call it a win.

6 Seriously, any time I make money so I can buy more books, well then that is definitely a win.

7 Which you might remember from the
Neil Gaiman post

8 I’m sorry, I meant “network.”