MidSouthCon 36 (2018) Wrapup

I’ve been to MidSouthCon two times previously, but this was my first trip purely as a vendor. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of book sales, given that I wasn’t paneling at all, but it was Kool and the Gang.

As with every one of these we go to, we made a bunch of new friends. I wish we’d gotten to do more con stuff, but we wanted to sell books, so we had to be in the vendor hall. I stopped by the video gaming room to see if anyone was playing Rocket League but no dice. Shame.

New for this conference was the Santa vs. Krampus table runner, which I think made a big difference. It’s easier to read a big banner like that than it is to read the cover of a book, of course. It’s my unscientific impression that twice as many people stopped to check out our wares as compared with Connooga when we didn’t have the runner yet.

Here’s our setup in the vendor hall:

Our booth neighbors were Titivilus Press, who had a tabletop letterpress machine on their table. Michael and I nerded out about type, Clickspring, and printing. He also had some vintage stuff that had to be twice as old as we are. He and Tia were great fun. Check out their site here: https://titiviluspress.com/

Meghann baked a big tub of oatmeal & dark chocolate cookies which were very well received, but the phenomenon I described from Connooga was reinforced here. I don’t think a single book buyer ate a cookie, and I don’t think a single cookie eater bought a book. They’re apparently just two completely different subsections of the populace.

I watched fellow humorous scifi/fantasy Dave Schroeder (http://www.xenotechsupport.com/) across the aisle from us giving away bookmarks all weekend, though, and those seemed well received. I think we’re going to dispense with the snacks and do bookmarks next. Here’s Dave’s setup:

As you can see, Dave has some banners behind his table in addition to a couple of table runners and some nicer book stands. We’re going to get some of those things going for ourselves as well. A stand-up banner is definitely next on the list.

Meghann was Hermione on Friday:

We had a lot of fun. Of course, in addition to the con, we went into town to eat some Gus’s Fried Chicken. That was high on my priority list, even though we have a location in Atlanta now. We also got in a run at Wolf River Greenway. Last time I ran there it had just flooded and was a mess. It was nice to come back and experience it when the trails were actually passable.

We also walked down Beale St. just to say we did, but we went early so the crazies weren’t out too much yet. It’s always a charge for me to see W.C. Handy’s house on the eastern end of the Beale entertainment area. The historical markers along Beale are super interesting as well.

We had a great conversation about snakes with our Lyft driver on the way home. She has been killing snakes around her house and is annoyed that she has mice. We advocated maybe letting the snakes live so they’d eat the mice, but this advice didn’t seem to land. Sorry, snakes. We tried.

On Saturday we were back at the book sales game. As you can see here, nearly half the cookies are gone and we’re sold out of Santa vs. Krampus. I wish I had brought twice as many books.

We’ve also been advertising free high fives, which are fun. Lots of people are amused that we high five them, but again, I don’t recall a single high fiver buying a book or vice versa. Still, it’s good to be silly.

Meghann was Rey on Saturday which was very well received. She got her picture taken a bunch of times. She put a lot of time into this costume and I think people could really tell.

We had a great weekend. As I said at the top, I think with some continued refinement we will be selling more per event. We’re super charged up about the results from this one. I just wish I’d brought more Santa vs. Krampus copies. The table runner helped. Stand up banners and bookmarks are our next avenues of investment.

In the future, we can save ourselves the time and effort of bringing cookies. That’ll save me the guilt after I eat a dozen or so myself.

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