Posted on Jan 06, 2014 | Comments (0)
So to start, we had a great time in Hammonton, NJ. I had packed the car by myself this time. Usually my wife or Rich are involved. We have it down to a science at this point and I got it done fairly fast. We took two cars out to the event. Rich had to go home the next day for a funeral, and my wife was meeting us later after she left work (an amazing teacher in Princeton). The original plan was that we were all going to stay over in the blueberry capital of the world. Rich and I got a later start, and I was betrayed by Apple maps when we got closer to our destination. Rich and I were standing in the middle of a farm where Siri had told me the Kerri Brooke Caterers was located. I called them and they corrected the phone and got us back on our way. I saw it immediately, but Rich missed it and drove to Atlantic City. Meanwhile, I walk up to the place and the Batmobile was parked out front(something I'm oddly used to at this point).
The Batmobile is at all of the shows, no matter how small. I'm convinced if you sell comics at a yard sale, you could get the Batmobile guy to show up. So anyway, I walked in and right away I had to talk with one of the guys running the show. They had tried to put my table on an endcap that was butted up to a tshirt guy. If you've never done a smaller show before, this is horrible. We would have been invisible and had no room for our stuff. After a quick back and forth, we were back on track. They gave me a new spot against the wall, but considering where I had just came from, it was perfect. Rich at this point had turned around and stopped for gas. The only thing I did not like about our spot was the limited space behind the table. So I gently pulled my table out about two feet further out, and then proceed to do it to the whole row, so it's not as obvious. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Rich shows up and has the same reaction to the Batmobile. And just so we're all on the same page, it's the Adam West Batmobile btw.
Although we had a late start, we were still one of the firsts to show up. We threw up the grid wall, and hung some Christmas lights-tis the season and all. We arranged the table, put out the books, more lights, and for all intents and purposes we're ready to go. We met our neighbor to our left shortly after getting there. His name was Ryan and he's there representing the Stan Lee Foundation. I could do their whole sell if you want after hearing it all weekend, but that aside, it's a great foundation. They promote children's literacy through comics, graphic novels, and books, and Ryan was a great neighbor. Which, believe me, means everything, and at the smaller cons, you have a lot of time to talk to these peoples. So it's nice to have good neighbors. Our neighbors to our left didn't show up until my wife did, and as fate would have it, it's the same couple that were next to us at Monster-Mania Con, selling toys and comics at Bad Influence toys and comics. Across from us was Bob, another comic/toy guy and Laura Guzzo, an artist/illustrator. There's something funny about people selling their goods and services, and something about people chasing their dreams that is also amazing. All of this, and some oddly/cleverly dressed fans, can be found at a comic con. Anyway, my wife showed up and begins to organize everything, get the prize wheel ready, and the gift wrapping station ready (All her awesome ideas). The only thing missing, WiFi or any cell service. That will make credit card sales difficult. So now we're ready as we can be, and that's just the first three hours.
We met some great new readers as well. The first day is always the slowest. People window shop on that day if they'll be there all weekend. But we managed to sell a good amount. We then covered up the table and went to the bar at the Frog Rock Golf and Country Club located on the same property as the Caterers. We had a few drinks and I tried frog's legs for the first time. They were good, but I just felt like I betrayed Jim Henson. We say our goodbyes to Rich and retire to the only hotel near by-the EconoLodge. Was a nice room, but it looked like someone could have been murdered in the parking lot.
We started the second day by finding the closest WaWa, and after a coffee and some odd breakfast, we made our way back to the caterers. The second day was our best day, which most Saturdays are at a comic con. People are ready to buy, and let's face it, it's the busiest day as well. Needless to say, we hustle this day and gain some solid new readers, and at one point, I'm outside in the freezing cold in my tshirt trying to get a connection for a credit card for an extremely patient and trusting new reader. It's all so humbling and funny at times. The moment someone decides to buy the book is an incredible feeling. Watching them read the back of the book and then start to smile, it's almost not fair at that point. I'd give it to them if I wasn't trying to do this for a living. I sign the book. They make their purchase, spin the prize wheel, and I thank them for trusting in my words. The only feeling that trumps this is the return reader. The guy or girl who read some or all of the book the first night and come back to talk about it. We had one kid do that at the show, and we just kept giving him more stuff when he circled back. It was great. I also get stuff sent to me over social medias, and that's just as exciting to me. Anyway, day 2 finishes up, and we are tired. We grab some quick ToGo from Crapplebees and have a nice small dinner back at the hotel.
Sunday comes and Rich is supposed to come back and help us again. We grab WaWa, and start Sunday knowing that Sundays can be great, but if no one has bought anything by 3, It's probably not going to happen at a smaller con. At the bigger ones Sunday has been a big day for us. But where's Rich? I'm texting back and forth with people that might know, and discover Rich has left his cell phone at a friend's house. I'm not sure where he is, but I figure he must have mourned a lot that night and is sleeping it off. Rich is a great friend and does these shows because he believes in me, and it's actually a lot of fun, tiring as all hell, but fun. I'm glad he didn't come. Sunday at NJCC was slow. 3 o'clock comes and nothing. Nobody is around. I make the executive decision to get out of there. We say our goodbyes to our new friends and load up the two vehicles. Hammonton it was fun, but we're tired and still have to drive an hour and a half and then empty the truck. Did I mention it snowed a lot while we were gone?
Get home and have to shovel so the handtruck fits down the alleyway. My wife throws our cat, Nella, in the bedroom and starts hauling boxes up the stairs. Finally finished and where do we go? That's right, Triumph in New Hope, where I work when I'm not chasing my dream. We need some comfortable food and a good beer or two, friendly faces never hurt either, and everyone wants to know how it was this weekend. Oh yeah, Rich is fine. He just needed to sleep.