San Japan was a blast. I met many cool people, sold 80% of the books I brought, and tanked at my panel. But damn…what a great convention! Grammar and spelling errors abound, I’m still tired.
The Good: The location was perfect this year. In the Marriot Rivercenter on Bowie Street in downtown San Antonio was brilliant. I drove right off I37 and two blocks in, I was there- right smack dab in the middle of tourist central. The hotel was attached to a shopping mall, so Saturday gave our booth not just convention attendees – but tourists and mall shoppers. They couldn’t get into panels, events, or dealers room without registering, so they walked around the Art Alley and looked a little out of place. I’m not complaining – some of them bought stuff! ^_-
The Bad: My panel. =_=; When I walked in, there was a ‘webcomics panel’ in progress, and he covered 80% of what I was going to talk about – then his crowd left and three guys from that remained, and others filtered in – along with 3 girls who actually knew that the panel was aimed at BL creators. The guys didn’t, until they got the handout. I always like it when dudes just leave a room in a group. I ended up with 5 people total – and a crushed soul. Topping it all off, I was being filmed >_< and my heart was no longer into doing the panel. I was truly crushed; and the moment I opened my mouth I just wanted it to end. Adding insult to injury, none of them knew me. One girl actually had a webcomic currently running, another hadn’t started hers yet, while the girl in front was falling asleep – I just wanted to die. While my handout was cool, the panel was dismal and I failed big time. I don’t think I could do that again, so next con I go to – I will stick to YAOI related silliness like Yaoifest events or something, because I don’t like being miserable. 0_0 I didn’t stick around to talk, I was defeated and felt crappy and just wanted to be near my daughter and my friends in Art Alley.
The Awesomesauce: San Japan 03 was wall to wall people, all the time. It had the intensity of A-Kon, but unlike A-Kon…it had a great staff and didn’t feel like I was just there to do business. The fans were just brilliant. Guests had tables set up right in front of the escalators and elevators – constant contact with con goers, no herding because the hotel had so much space available to the cosplayers that needed to converse. Water stations were everywhere – and trashcans too. The security staff was excellent and non-judgmental; one of them took a ‘Games with Me’ postcard and an eManga biz card [because he wanted to read VHD online!] Sales were so good on Friday that I was running out of stock on Saturday – [ I miscalculated how much stock to bring.] Sales for Only Words were slow, but everyone knew the title or had read it – which comes with the territory with a book as dates as that one. ^_- RUSH was my biggest seller – they sold in pairs, which is normal and most fans were keen on giving feedback about the anthology and seemed excited to hear about returning stories and the new format.
What really rocked was the fact the Loud Snow proof arrived near perfection. We were able to put it on display with pre-order cards and will be shipping the books out on July 16, 2010. We were able to score enough pre-orders there that I won’t have to ‘dig into’ the Visa card to pay for the run. This makes me happy. While I can’t increase the print, I can limit the amount of debt incurred on financing it. I learned that older women and men buy books right away [Friday] – and kiddos are kept at bay when you turn the table vertical and ask them nicely if they’re over 18. I had fewer incidents of youthful page turning before ID check then I did when leaving the table horizontal along the alley walk. Because Loud Snow is 16+, they were allowed to look at that, and the response was positive.
In summary, my sales and experiences with fans more than made up for my lousy panel experience. I can’t recommend this con enough – I’m definitely going back if I can.