I spent this past weekend at my first Albacon, working at my first dealer’s room table. The nice thing about the dealer’s room there is that they schedule it so dealers can have some fun too. We ran from 4-6 Friday, 11-6 Saturday, and 11-3 on Sunday. I only managed to get to one reading (S. C. Butler’s) and one panel, but I did get to catch up with friends and meet a few new people.
Friday’s trip up to Albany wasn’t bad, about 2 3/4 hours. The directions for unloading at the dealer’s room were a little confusion and when I got there I had to go in and make sure what I saw and what I read matched up. Yes, I was supposed to go up half a block, drive up the curb, down the sidewalk in front of a bus stop, turn at the building and drive down the path and stop before hitting the glass doors. Apparently someone complained about it and the police prevented someone else from doing this later. A few hours of setup and I was done just in time to open. Sales were slow, but that was to be expected for 4-6pm on a workday.
I went upstairs and ran into Patricia Bray, Jennifer Dunne, and Joshua Palmatier as they were checking in. This is when I managed to attend a panel… Fleshing Out Civilizations with Patricia, Jennifer, Terry McGarry, Lawrence Schoen, and Elaine Isaak. Afterwards, the four of us were joined by Barbara Campbell and Sam (S. C.) Butler as we retreated to the bar. It wasn’t long before Joshua found the electronic darts game. Many broken points later and a lot of laughs later, we wandered off to some of the parties. I ended up staying the latest, talking with several people about Clarkesworld Magazine (I was surprised by the number of people who already knew about us) and even met a few authors who have stories submitted to us or are about too. I was also chastised for not including Ian at Science Fiction Chronicle on the initial places we press releases or emails. He knows about us now though.
Saturday started with Sam Butler’s enjoyable reading from Reiffen’s Choice (which despite what the website says this moment, is in-stock and signed). After that, off to the dealer’s room to work. This was the best day in terms of sales. I had a lot of signed or limited edition books with me. I passed on bringing a lot of trades because I knew at least one local dealer would have that covered very well. I sold more copies of A Princess of Roumania by Paul Park than any other book. Signed Crowley, de Lint, Kim Harrison, and Jacqueline Carey books rounded out the top sellers. It was slow enough that I had time to talk with people and I enjoyed that a lot. I think I met and had discussions with more people at this con than any other I’ve been to.
After the room closed, the regular group (see above) went out to dinner. We couldn’t decide which of two restaurants to choose, settled on one, then the waiter from the author came out to tell us we were making a mistake. Amused, we went with his restaurant and had a good meal. Back to the hotel, off to the parties, more chatting, more fun, and as the evening wore down I ended up learning a lot about the behind the scenes politics of cons in general and specific. Reminded me a lot of working at Drew that last year.
Another poor night’s sleep and off to the dealer’s room again. A few author’s and editors signed some books for us, sold a few more books, and ended up just a couple of hundred past all my bills for the trip. All in all, I was very pleased with the way they ran the room, the con, and the parties. I even liked a few pieces of art in the art show that if I can find the artists (they weren’t there, can’t find websites), I may buy a piece for the cover of a future magazine issue.
In the end, there were good-byes, heavy boxes, and one more chance to drive on the sidewalk. Home in 3 hours, to be greeted by my wife and two kids…