GenCon Indy 2014 (Howard’s Report)

This was probably my best-ever year at GenCon Indy. With bullets:

  • The Wallrike scooped me up at the airport, saving me cab fare, helping me sort out a housing snafu, and basically being excellent company.
  • The Kokomo Irregulars had the booth completely loaded and assembled by Wednesday at noon.
  • I got all of my Massively Parallel bonus story rows penciled on Wednesday by dinner time, while sitting in the awesome booth.
  • I got to hang out with cool people all weekend. Some of them are name-droppable. Some are awesome people whose names only carry cachet with the folks who are privileged enough to have met them.
  • How many books did I draw in? I don’t know. Pretty sure it was “hundreds.”
  • My panels went well, with only one exception, and that one went so far off the rails it made for great commiseration fodder.
  • Our booth did better sales-wise than it has in any prior year. 15% better than our next best number, and up 25% from last year.
  • I learned important stuff from Jim Zub, who is a great boothmate, a brilliant writer, and a very savvy industry insider.
  • I came home energized, and I got work done the very next day. No con-crud, no post-convention blues, no problem.

The one blemish on the experience is that this year the one game I managed to play was “D20 roll-off” in which you sit down at the bar and roll dice to see who rolls better. And really, this is the blemish every year. I don’t get to play games. When I’m away from the booth, I’m not making money. Sandra sent us some handy bar graphs that showed just how much money we weren’t making when Jim, Tracy, and I had to be away from the booth.BoothGraphSat2014

Adding to the blemishy darkness of this is the fact that while we had plenty of players interested in testing the Schlock Mercenary role-playing game, we never were able to align ourselves for a table and some dice.

Back to the positive notes: Symposium! If you’re a writer, and you want to attend panels in which writers talk intelligently about writing, and do so with the understanding that they’re talking to an audience full of writers, you should seriously consider attending GenCon Indy just for the Writing Symposium. It has attracted an all-star cast, and when the panels are over there are a million things to do. Marc Tassin has done an outstanding job of growing the symposium over the last three years, and when I talked to him about it I could see that he’s committed to continuing to improve it.

(crossposted from howardtayler.com)