February 18th, 2009


On Trading at Swancon

Here are some things I am considering.

There will be 3 all weekend full size tables at Swancon in the corridor this year and these will cost $300 each for the full weekend. These prices are not aimed at small press.

I can have a card table for the weekend for $75. Um ... anyone who has ever had a table in a hucksters room will know that a full trestle table is not enough room to stash your stuff, have more than you behind the table and not trip over your boxes, bags and so on. Normally, small press are charged around $150 for a table for a weekend at a con and we divide that up amongst several presses in order for it to be a reasonable cost. Usually east coast presses send over some stock and we sell it on our tables - it's part of what we do in the indie press community. Books have a long tail to recoup their costs (break even) - up to 5 years sometimes - and you do that by having your book on a table in a Dealers Room at a con all weekend long. I have no idea where I would put all my stock and personal belongings under a card table but if the table is in a corridor, then it's going to be a safety hazard.

There will be one day Market Day on the Saturday in one of the main panel rooms. And I have a book launch time slot booked in for the Saturday as well, in which I will be launching the anthology New Ceres Nights, which includes several local writers of Science Fiction.

My market research on the survey I ran yesterday shows that the longer a Dealers Room is open, the more money people spend, and that most people seem to prefer the non-pressured environment of a Dealers Room for browsing over the con and rechecking out the products rather than buying at a book launch. That's something to consider especially since catering for a book launch costs small press money too.

New Ceres Nights is an indie book unlike most indie books around. It's going to be a book that you want to have a chance to pick up and hold and flick through. It's a book that I am very proud of publishing and I am very excited about doing. It not only features local writers but also Aussie artists. Something we would like to continue to do at Twelfth Planet Press.

All these points above have me weighing up whether I can afford to trade at Swancon. It might be argued that small press is a business and that it's not Swancon's job to assist businesses in making money (ha! Sorry couldn't type that with a straight face!). To that I would like to make three points.

1. Swancon turned a very substantial profit last year. So big, in fact, that this discussion (charging small press $300 for a weekend) borders on ridiculous.

2. Swancon 2009 committee approached me as a local indie press to sponsor the young adult short story competition. Something that, as part of the local community, I was happy to do. This will require me to give of my time, something I am in short supply of, especially given I have 4 books to take to press this year and at least one ezine to run. And, of course, financial support in the form of prizes.

3. The Objectives of WASFF, taken from the constitution are:

2.1 The Objectives of WASFF are:
2.1.1 To foster an appreciation of Science Fiction in Western Australia: By organising and assisting in the organising of conferences, seminars, workshops, and events pertinent to the production and consumption of Science Fiction in Western Australia; By sponsoring, promoting and organising competitions to encourage the production of Science Fiction in Western Australia; By facilitating the preservation and availability of historical documents and other materials relevant to Science Fiction in Western Australia; and Other appropriate activities as determined by the membership of the
2.1.2 To promote and assist in the provision of facilities for the objectives of WASFF.
2.1.3 To raise funds for the achievement of the objectives of WASFF.
2.1.4 To communicate with other organisations, groups or individuals who share
some or all of the objectives of WASFF.
2.1.5 To co-operate with other groups with similar aims.
2.1.6 To operate WASFF on a non-profit basis to achieve the other objectives of WASFF.
2.2 Any additional objectives in the by-laws section headed "Additional
Objectives of WASFF".

(emphasis my own)



Despite other things going on, my work week has been crazy so far and it's only Wednesday. I find myself in an odd position where I am actually actively making two of the primary reasons why I applied for this job start to happen - areas that I felt we were not delivering core business and actually starting to ... well deliver on them. It's odd. And very very cool. You know, in the ... we will have a problem if we don't deal with X. Can I start to deal with X? And now? X is starting to be dealt with. Feels pretty cool.

Brief 5 minute break to clear my head earlier:
Me: Yuck!
A_: Yes, there's several layers of yuck to you in there.

I don't like invertebrates :)



I had a funny dream last night.

This week has been pretty stressful at work - in terms of workload and time available and wanting to meet the deadline this afternoon and do a good job.

And then I relaxed a bit last night and then dreamed I was on the most beautiful island in the world - even maybe an atoll. It was deserted but I was standing on a boardwalk that stretched across the whole island and when I looked down the water was crystal clear to the white sand underneath it and the most exquisite schools of fish were beneath me. But I found being out there all alone quite distressing, scary even and I started walking to get to where people might be. Occasionally I forced myself to stand and admire the beauty of the scenery and each time I did so, an elaborately coloured fish would swim past me. Each time, I was scared because they looked mean - with spikes and things - but each time I would look more closely and notice that not only were they exquisitely coloured, the patterns were more like elaborate china patterns or patterns from designer fabrics and I would forget I was scared and admire how stunning they were.

Eventually I found some people - travellers - who were noisy and bustling and it settled me a little.