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Preparing for Take-off: Tucson Comic Con

We just finished repacking stock for Tucson and I will be leaving here in the middle of the night on Wednesday (the 1st).  All systems are go and the mission crew (AKA: Featured Author, Brent A. Harris) is on track to rendezvous in Tucson on Thursday.

While we've been between events we did some minor upgrades to the booth and created some new promotional brochures for the group. Because we spent a lot of time at Santa Fe Comic Con explaining what exactly the Sci Fi Roundtable is (like that's easy to do quickly?!), we were often pulled away from directly promoting books.  We're hoping that these brochures, by answering a lot of the questions about the group, will allow us to focus more of our time on talking about your books. 

While SFCC was a good shakedown event for us as a group, it was actually much smaller than it had been promoted to us. The attendance we'd been lead to expect was several times the real turnout.  In spite of these low numbers, we sold quite a few books, and we made a LOT of good contacts for future events (we added 50 subscribers to our group newsletter as well).

Several of you may also notice your online ebook sales take a bit of an uptick over the week or so following the con since there were a LOT of questions about if these books were also available through Amazon.  This is a very clear indicator that if you have not provided us some kind of display or promotional material with your online sales links on it, you might want to consider doing that ASAP. (I know that I picked up almost 10% in personal book sales online for several days following this con ... so watch your sales reports to see if you can spot a spike.)

We will be combining the accounting for Santa Fe Comic Con with Tucson Comic Con since, with only one exception, everyone with a Table Share at SFCC also is involved in TCC.  You should all expect a formal report from us by no later than the 12th for both events combined. (I am sure some of you know the personal detour that Ducky took last week, so I hope you'll all understand that we got knocked a bit behind schedule as a result.)

I am going to be scarce for a day or so while I try to stockpile some sleep for the long days ahead. If that doesn't work out, I'll be pumping coffee into a mainline and vibrating all weekend ... Either way I'll post some pics from Tucson once I am on the ground (and if they're blurry, you'll know I opted for the caffeine overdose).



First Merchandising Set Up: A Progress Report

Here are some pics of the new booth as we're working out the layout of things for Santa Fe Comic Con (October 20-22). Things may shift around a bit as we finalize the merchandising plan, but it gives an idea of where we are and where we're going with our thinking. I apologize for the crappy photography but the booth takes up a huge portion of our living room and we can't get far enough back to get a good picture of it.

The table and booth backdrop are completed, and the modular rack system works exactly as planned!

The whole set up is designed to fit in a 10' x 10' booth space and the back table wraps around creating almost 18 feet of table area where people can walk in and look around.  There will also be 2 tables out front at the left and right front corner of the space for the Featured Authors to set up, but here again, because this is sitting in my living room I can't get them in the shots.

Framework alone. (and no it isn't ghosts ... it's dust)

The way we designed it, the entire booth  ... backdrop, banners, tables, and everything else (except the  book stock) ... sets up in about 35 minutes with one person working alone. The books take a bit longer, but there are 240 books on the table and another 50 or 60 in reserve stock that are under the tables.

Everybody with a table share has 2 or more positions (one on the wall or directly in front of it, and then again in the stock stacks under the main banner).  We have racks above the books on the wall for promo cards and both ends are set up for freebies such as bookmarks, business cards, etc. (There are still spaces for another 3 sets of promo cards but I am not sure if we have any more or coming or not.  If not, then I'll fill them with my stuff.)

For now I am using my banners on the backdrop because it is what I have to work with, but the ones to the right of the main background banner will be for our Featured Authors to put up additional banners if they have them.

At this point we also have 4 titles that haven't arrived (in the pictures above the positions for those books are filled with some of my books turned backwards).  We're currently tracking everything that is outstanding and the last of the books should be on hand by no later than Friday (good job everybody).

Launch When Ready

Well, this is been a long time coming  and follows MANY discussions on our Facebook group. But we think we're finally ready to start.

Some of you who have been part of those discussions over the last year, will wonder why the idea has shaped up this way. Honestly, our answer to that  is that we decided to grab the bull by the horns and get something working. There were so many pieces to fit into the planning that it was starting to get a bit out of hand. We wanted to simplify things so that we could finally get the ball rolling.

More than anything we're planning for this to be a shakedown of the concept and to make sure all the components fit together. We expect things will change a little bit as we go along, but by launching the Co-Op this way, we can incorporate what works, and what doesn't, gets chucked.

After a trial run of eight or ten Cons we should have the details worked out, and then we're hoping to turn the idea loose and provide only the support necessary to keep it organized. Eventually we'd like to see five or six group tables like what we're creating here operating across the country.

We're very open to ideas and suggestions, and I hope many of you will choose to get involved so that we can get your books out there to a much wider audience.

Feel free to leave comments, or to ask questions here or on the group.

You can also sign up to participate starting  ... now.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement, and we hope to see you at your favorite Con soon.


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