Next week I’ll be at Loncon 3 – the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Go to http://www.loncon3.org/ if you’re interested.
Ideally writers are invited; turn up in a limo with darkened windows surrounded by overly muscular minders. They then sweep through the crowd brushing aside the groupies and listen with a slightly amused expression to the gushing welcome from the star stuck organiser who still doesn’t believe his luck.
Me, I’m on the Safkhet stand in the traders’ area.
And I’ve had to get all my gear together, and it has been something of a performance.
First I need books, because you cannot sell books if you haven’t got books to sell. So I got books.
Then you need some sort of ‘display material’. What on earth am I going to display, there’s only so many pictures of the front cover of a book that you can include before even I as author find it a little too much of a good thing. So in times like this I panicked creatively and scrounged photos from Tsarina. All they need is printing out.
At this point the printer plays silly beggars. Personally I suspect it is physically worn out, the paper feed is erratic, its attitude to ink so profligate it would regard a premier league football manager as tight-fisted. So I swore at it. I fetched the copy of Which magazine which does the comparison of printers. I studied it carefully and then, when I had to get back to doing some proper work, I left it draped over the top of our printer.
Not only that but I emailed the pictures to a mate who printed them out for me.
So our machine not only knows it’s not indispensable, but that we now know how to dispense with it. If this fails to convince it to mend its ways, I’ll just have to buy a new one.
And then there were the business cards etc. I went onto the Vistaprint website and did myself some business cards, something to hand out, slip into books as bookmarks, that sort of thing.
Others, less tight fisted than I, would have been overwhelmed by the goodies on offer, baseball caps, fliers, bookmarks, carrier bags, mugs!
OK I admit I was tempted by a mug, especially as it would only cost about three pound something and post free with the business cards.
But then when I went back onto the site to do a mug for someone it was going to cost me four pound something plus damned near the same again postage! I confess to not understanding the Vistaprint system. But their business cards are good.
And then there were the shirts. I decided I’d have a couple of shirts to wear; something a little distinctive. But I didn’t just want yet another t-shirt. So I looked round locally and there is a firm with a workshop barely three miles from me that will sew your logo on. So I had a word with them and have acquired two polo-shirts to wear when I’m on the stand. I’ve not asked them for a quote but I think I could supply Tsarina themed Polo-shirts for about £17. Obviously if you want a cheaper polo-shirt we can do it cheaper. But I told them I wanted something decent because I would be wearing it.
So all in all there’s a lot of fuss getting ready for one of these events. But it should be fun.
Anyway I’m looking forward to the trip.