I fucking love going to conventions. Seriously, I do. It’s the one place that I can meet and greet fans, sign books, take pictures, and just have an all around amazing time. When I’m not at my booth, in all honesty, you’d probably find me geeking out at the merchandise all the other vendors are selling. I might be walking down one of the isles, spot a great cosplay, and run up to them like every other fan begging for a picture. This is me, deal with it.
But, gearing up for a show is the next closest thing to an anxiety attack that I can think of. And I know if I’m freaking out, I can’t imagine what the people running the show must be doing.
Me (about thirty days before a show doing some inventory):
Holy fuck, I don’t have enough books. Frantically, I’ll call my publisher. She will calm me down in her gentle way, telling me not to worry, she’ll get the books to me on time (and she always does). Then I take stock of my flyers and postcards, which I’m always running low on (seriously, they’re like that extra sock you have left over after doing the wash). I’ll freak out that I only have 500 left and that’s not anywhere near enough to hand out at a show that has 40,000 or more attendees. And the dates on the brochure need updating! Sonofabitch. My second call is to my graphic artist, where I’ll ramble for ten minutes about how important these are and I need A.S.A.P. turn around time. She’ll calm me down, tell me not to worry, that she’ll update the postcard and send me the revisions. Whew. Once I get those revisions, I’ll send them off to the printers.
I’ll stand there in front of a massive suitcase spread open on my floor going through all the shit I have. Do I need mugs? No. Well….no. How about my awesome customized iPhone cases? People like those. Should I take them? Gee, I don’t know, I have all these books. But they look so cool, my inner voice says to me. Okay, fine, I consent. We’ll take a few iPhone cases. Pens? Oh, I didn’t order those. Stupid me. How about my giant balls? No, get your mind out of the gutter, I really have orbs that glow to signify the power source of the Amun Priests. Of course I’m taking those! Just gotta check the batteries…and of course they’re dead. Note to self: Pick up a gazillion AA batteries. Then I’ll look at the giant pile of T-Shirts I have sitting in boxes in my bedroom. Do I bring the shirts or not? This is the question. There’s a lot of them and I have a small car which will be packed so full I won’t be able to see my mirrors because of the books. But people love shirts! I’ll shrug, tabling that decision until later. What else? Oh shit, I forgot bags. People like to put books in bags when they’re at a show. I’ll spend the next four hours researching different bags, blue bags, white bags, black bags, red bags, big bags, small bags, medium sized bags, bio-degradable bags or environment killing bags, customized bags with my awesome logo on it, or not customized bags without my awesome logo on it. Insert sad face here. I can’t fucking take all these decisions!
Somewhere along the line it’ll hit me that I still need to book a hotel room and a flight to whatever city I’m going to. I’ll be really pissed I waited so long because now the fares and rates will be higher.
Then, the reality is, my wife will come into the bedroom because I’m curled up on the floor in a ball mumbling incoherently. My laptop will be open on a page with a thousand different bags on it and coffee mugs, iPhone cases, mints, chocolates, shirts, banners, and flyers are strewn about the room as if a giant tornado struck our house. She’ll say: “You totally suck at this. Let me do it. It’ll be better and cheaper.” She’ll give me some scotch, put a book in my hand, and do something that I am too inept to accomplish on my own: organizing this crazy train called being an author.
Then for the next two to three weeks, after all the orders have been placed, I’ll probably check the status of the printing and shipping of every item once per day, because that’s how much of a freak I am.