So I went to Fantasycon



It seemed a good idea at the time, so I signed up for a table at Fantasycon, it’d give me a chance to sell my books etc.

Finally the great day came, I loaded the car and drove the four hours it takes me to get to Scarborough, arriving in time to grab one of the last cheap car-parking places. So far so good.

I grabbed something to eat, then signed in, was escorted by red-shirts to my table on dealer alley and started to, quite literally, set out my stall.


So the con itself?

Well run, there was always plenty on. At times as we lounged at our tables on dealer alley it was a bit like being back at school. At the turn of the hour you’d see everybody pour out of one workshop or interview and scurry down the corridor to the next, clutching bundles of books, notes, freebees and suchlike as they went.

Watching from the semi-detached position of a dealer, it was obvious that there was a lot going on and there was plenty for people to enjoy. To be honest, from the dealers’ point of view, a couple of periods of tedium, relieved by retail therapy, could have been useful, but I’m not sure that’s a suggestion that would meet with much widespread enthusiastic acceptance.

By Saturday afternoon people were starting to flag. We were on the balcony and at one point I looked over to the entrance hall below to see arm chairs filled with dozing convention goers.

One small sadness for me, I saw very few cosplayers.

But as evening arrived everybody seemed to get their second wind. I was unchained from my table and unleashed on the convention. One nice thing about this event is that dealers were welcomed into the events. I’ve been to some where a dealer badge allows you to your table and that is it. But I had a chance to attend a number of fascinating interviews and readings during the evenings.

I also gave a poetry reading. Now whilst I am not a poet, I took some of the verses penned by Tallis Steelyard and read them. They were politely received by a courteous audience.

I had also been booked down to do a reading from one of my books. Given that this reading was at 11pm, I was a bit worried about whether there would be anybody else present, and if present whether they’d be both awake and sober.

Fortunately I was sharing the slot with Kit Power. If anybody doesn’t know Kit, check him out on his horror column at


He read a cracking story which is available in the anthology ‘Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers.’


Free on kindle so if you’re into horror get it now.

Anyway Kit is much better organised than I am and fetched with him enough sober and wide awake people to pass as a respectably sized audience. Our readings went well, nobody threw anything, and we all enjoyed ourselves.

Sunday, exhausted, I packed up my stall at 1pm as dealer alley closed for the last time and loaded everything into the car for the long trip home.


A good weekend, met a heap of nice people, sold a decent number of books and had a lot of fun. I recommend the experience.

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10 thoughts on “So I went to Fantasycon

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 26, 2016 at 2:59 pm Reply

    ‘sold a decent number of books’ is lovely – I often wonder if these events pay for themselves, even with a long term exposure to fans who remember they met you.

    Sounds like you had fun – I can’t imagine all the arranging you had to do to be able to go – what with the sheep and all.

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2016 at 3:38 pm Reply

      the number of books anybody sells at one of these events is comparatively low. I doubt anybody makes a profit over costs such as travel, table hire and accommodation.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 26, 2016 at 6:26 pm

        Okay, so you’re basically paying for a fun experience – something available to published authors, which could bring in cash, but is loaded otherwise with the intangibles.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2016 at 9:05 pm

        yes, the intangibles, the getting known, the being seen, are what you go for. Actually selling books helps defray the cost.
        Talking to one small publishing company and they had a book launch. The profit on the books sold at the launch wouldn’t pay for the free wine they handed out, and the books sold wouldn’t pay their hotel bills.
        There were two of them there and they might have sold a few more books than me, but very few more.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 26, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        A lot of competition for the convention-goer’s cash – even in small niches, and in an environment where many free things were being given away.

        That tends to tighten up shopping impulses, unless there is a very particular author they already love, and the opportunity to get an autograph.

        But you got to meet the publishing company representatives, and a lot of other authors, too – that alone would be worth some time and effort.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2016 at 9:22 pm

        I met a couple of book bloggers as well, so hopefully I’ll get some more mentions on their sites 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt September 26, 2016 at 10:01 pm

        I envy you the experience (if not the exhaustion) – it sounded like a lot of fun as well as networking.

        Hope the book bloggers come through, too – they should, since they know you in person.


        I’d love to hear what the aftermath brings – a lot of these things give bumps.

      • jwebster2 September 27, 2016 at 6:15 am

        that’s always the hope, at the very least it shifts you from unknown to vaguely remembered 🙂

  2. M T McGuire September 26, 2016 at 7:52 pm Reply

    I love events like this, I do much better selling books face to face than any other way and I am sure people remember authors from readings etc a little bit more …

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2016 at 9:07 pm Reply

      Yes, I think you’re far better remembered if they meet you in person

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