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Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2002, 08:16:50 AM
Hello!

Jason and I have now, albeit with much suffering, landed our three tables at GenCon (or close anyway). As I've described before, Forge folks are welcome to attend and to bring their own games to promote. A lot of people have responded positively and are apparently intending to come.

So it's time to lay some ground rules. If you can't commit to these, do not attend, as I plan to enforce them strictly. Some of you may be alarmed or dismayed by them, but that's all right - I have not deposited any of the checks that some of you have sent already, and I will not do so if you decide that you don't want to attend after all.

THE GOLDEN RULE
The goal is promotion of the indie scene, and actual play of all the games at the booth. This means that you will have to back off regarding your own game. I shudder at the thought of a person arriving at the booth and having a dozen games brandished in their face, with each author saying "Oh please! Buy my indie game!" I also shudder at the thought of the authors crowding one another in the attempt to attract people to play the games. Such a spectacle will be extremely off-putting to anyone at all, and I will not permit it to occur.

I anticipate Soap, InSpectres, The Pool, and Shadows to be ongoing booth games. By contrast, I anticipate games like Universalis, Donjon, Kayfabe, Cartoon Action Hero, The Questing Beast, OctaNe, Wyrd, Scattershot, and many others - the majority of games present - to require more setup and more cooperative trade-offs among the creators. We may even have a schedule: e.g., OK, it's Thursday morning, so everyone be ready to participate in playing Donjon and Cartoon Action Hour; all other games are in the revolving rack (presuming I get one, which I want to do), and the author is available for questions, but otherwise, back off.

I think a pamphlet that describes all the games at the booth will be a really good idea. It will be freely available and the first step of promotion is to direct the person's attention there.

Finally, Adept Press and Key20 Publishing are both incurring massive costs in time and effort. I think that the following requirements are reasonable. (1) Direct the attention of potential customers to either Jason or myself, no matter what (e.g. after you have spoken to or played with the person). (2) I absolutely require that Sorcerer and Little Fears be scheduled booth games (not all the time, but at designated times, maybe 1/day each).

AN UGLY FACT
You are not going to sell 100 copies of your game. Even attempting to max out your sales is going to work against the shared, mutualistic goals of the enterprise, and ultimately it will work against everyone. You must commit to attend for promotional purposes, not for sales, and understand that a sale for one person is an ultimate sale for everyone, later. That means that you should bring about twenty copies, maximum, and plan to sell about five, total. I realize this is far under the expectations that some of you have generated. Do not plan on covering your costs with the revenue from sales.

I have already committed to this fact myself. Last year, busting my ass every minute of the con, I moved 100 copies of Sorcerer. Given the activities and approach I'm offering this year, I don't think I will sell more than 25 or 30, as so much of my time and energy will be devoted to the indie scene rather than to Sorcerer specifically. Please recognize that I will be taking quite a hit in this regard for the common good, and that I'm expecting everyone else to enter into that contract with me.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Valamir on April 16, 2002, 08:33:37 AM
I don't know that I have a problem with this conceptually.  But theres an awful lot of games there I've never read, let alone played, let alone run.  How is this cross selling effort going to actually function in practice?

How is everybody going to become at least marginally familiar with the games involved to be able to do this effectively?

Ideally we all show up to Gen Con a day early and spend the entire day playing each others games so we have some real actual experience to share with interested parties...but I don't know how practical that is.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Misguided Games on April 16, 2002, 09:16:34 AM
Ron,

I am expecting to set aside some table space for promo materials from other companies.  I'll try to push people your way.  We'll probably be buried in the back, unlike Origins, since we have zero priority points for GC.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2002, 09:25:42 AM
Ditto, Lewis. Another part of the plan is to have a photocopy of the exhibit hall, with all the indie guys highlighted. Your booth will have a special indicator on it.

Ralph, I expect that most of the games will be run by their authors, during that designated period. The requirement for the other people present during that time is to be willing to play them.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Misguided Games on April 16, 2002, 09:42:07 AM
Great Ron.  Sounds like a good idea.  Are you going to be at Origins as well?


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Mario on April 16, 2002, 09:45:11 AM
Ron,

I don't see any reasons you and Jason should shoulder the costs.  Heres what I suggest.

A regular 4 day admission costs $53.00.

Like last year you gave a discount to people if they worked your booth.  If your doing the same this year lets say you ask for $45.00.

If someone wants to sell their game at the same time have them pay another $10.00. for a total of $55.00

I don't think these costs are unreasonable.  You can change them anyway you see fit also.  I can totally see that if someone is going to be selling a game that they should pay a little more to use the space just as you and Jason, or they would have to if they had their own tables.

I also think you should work some sort of minimum time someone should work at the booth and perhaps at least one scheduled time.  I remember last year there were times that we had 2 people at the booth and others where we had everyone.  This would help to give people time eat and other things.

Since there is going to be more room you will need a certain minimum to just keep the area covered.    I think at least 2 people per table space should be the minimum.  This should be maintained at all times.  Thus you should set up a schedule, do it in slots. everyone will have to work at least one slot that is scheduled.  after that they can work as much as they like.  Also consider a maximum number of people, 5 per table space would mean 15 people running around.  That could get to chaotic.

I know you may not want to get this anal about things, but you also don't want 30 people crammed in, talking over each other, telling people about there favorite games either.

Just some thoughts
Mario


Title: "How to Get Racked," or "Putting Your Balls o
Post by: Matt Snyder on April 16, 2002, 09:46:11 AM
Ron, for those of us who where asleep at the wheel on GenCon details, can you tell me what's involved in getting one's game on the "rack" and, further, what's required to sell? I seem to remember something about paying ya'll $100 to do that?Isn't there a thread that discusses this? Or perhaps we'd be better served to remind folks here in this thread.

I ask b/c I'm thinking about offering a "dime-store" version of Dust Devils, and maybe promotional material for Dreamspire.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Mario on April 16, 2002, 09:49:00 AM
My last post refers mainly to the sales and promotion side of things not the running of the games.  That should be seperate from the people working.

Mario


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2002, 10:36:41 AM
Hello,

The parent thread to this one is GenCon 2002: the lowdown (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1415).

In there, and it looks like it needs to be repeated, the costs are given.
1) If you are attending but are not selling a game, pay $45 (the cost of the badge) - you'll be expected to spend some time working the booth and generally helping out.
2) If, in addition, you are selling copies of a specific game (which I assume also means being willing to run it), pay an additional $100.

Hotel room space is available through me if you want and "while supplies last" (I'm renting two rooms and anticipate a certain level of guys-and-dirty-socks in each one). We can handle the finances on that after the con.

We also need to talk about finances. Adept Press and Key20 will each have its own individual kitty, to be managed separately by me and Jason, respectively. I think that I shall have to come up with a reasonable method for the pack of indies, avoiding the disadvantages of both of the "shared coffee can" and "wandering aimlessly in groups of one" problems.

Best,
Ron


Title: Ya Want Somma Dis?
Post by: Le Joueur on April 16, 2002, 10:40:56 AM
You want me there?  Let's talk about cash.  How much, what's the deadline, where do ya want it, and how much time do you need?

I haven't a thing to sell, but demos aplenty.  Also, how about a little talk about 'stepping on each others toes' in terms of coverage?  I got a mini-shot of Scattershot that might be ready by then, but it'll clash pretty heavily with one of the listed 'for sale products.'  I'd hate to 'steal' sales from someone with a freebie, so what do you suggest?

A little short on time,
Fang Langford


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2002, 10:46:06 AM
Hi Fang,

Couple of things ... first off, I think that the money deadline ($45 or $145) is best set by July 1. Jason and I probably need that lead time in order to make sure the pamphlets are done and that people aren't flaking out, or whatever.

Second, if you're showing up and have a game to demo/play, but are not selling it, that's fine too. I don't think you have to worry about swiping "sales," although I expect you to put in time to play in other people's games too. A number of games are going to be in that category, e.g. Soap.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: lumpley on April 16, 2002, 11:00:04 AM
Hey, can I send freebies of my game puppies with someone, for them to hand out or put in a stack on a table with a 'free' sticker or toss in the dumpster?  Should I pay somebody something for that?

Paul, Scott, back in the day you mentioned being willing to do this, if it was cool with the powers that be (by which I guess I mean Ron and Jason).  Are you still?

Powers that be, is it cool with you?

I wish I could be there to hand them out or toss them in the dumpster in person.

-Vincent


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on April 16, 2002, 11:05:15 AM
I'd put this in a PM, but I want everyone who hasn't seen Puppies to read this:

Sell that thing, Vincent. Shit, I'll take copies if you want. It's good. It's damn good. Throw in the supplement (whose name I forget) and sell it. Really.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Valamir on April 16, 2002, 11:07:48 AM
Quote from: Ron Edwards

Ralph, I expect that most of the games will be run by their authors, during that designated period. The requirement for the other people present during that time is to be willing to play them.


Well if thats the requirment that Hot Dog.  I've been wanting to play them anyway.

So I guess the next detail is how will the "Work the Booth" "Play the Game" time be scheduled.  I assume we'll all have some of each.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Mario on April 16, 2002, 12:43:36 PM
You talk of people playing the games.  I assume you mean as plants.  so how many plants per game are you thinking?  Are you thinking the games will mostly be 2-3 people?  How long are you thinking these games should run?  Are they all going to be run at the booth or is there going to be a space somewhere else for games as well?  I know this is all up in the air but what would be your ideal situation?

You mention directing the attention of potential customers to either Jason or yourself, no matter what.  Does these mean anything dealing with sales issues are solely your domain, or are you just talking about money matters?  What if you and Jason are talking with someone about a game and someone else wants to purchase something, will they have to wait for you to finish to handle the transaction? I personally didn't like this about last year, although I completely understand why.


Heres an idea, have one register for everything and designating one person to man the cash register.  That person would keep a list of what titles and how many are sold.  This person has no other job than to watch the register.  This frees up everyone else to do the promoting.  Afterwards that person would take the list and calculate the total due each publisher and then count out the register and divide it up accordingly.  
This has many advantages, but I do understand your concerns about the financial issues.  I just think there should be an easier way of doing things.

Mario


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Mario on April 16, 2002, 12:49:59 PM
Also for the common flyer.  Is there a word limit for the length of description of each game?  Are you going to use logo or art on the flyer for each game?

Mario


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2002, 01:50:50 PM
Hi Mario,
 
Gotta go line by line on this one, sorry.

"You talk of people playing the games. I assume you mean as plants."

Well, not in the covert sense of the word. It should be obvious that these are in-house (in-booth) people involved. I think it's perfectly OK to have just one "client" participant, unless they're positively swarming to participate.

"How long are you thinking these games should run? Are they all going to be run at the booth or is there going to be a space somewhere else for games as well?"

I'm thinking forty minutes, tops. That means some pregenerated characters, with heavy scene framing and Bang-oriented play. They should experience the game, not learn the game or wait in any fashion.

"You mention directing the attention of potential customers to either Jason or yourself, no matter what."

Oh, actually I was talking about Sorcerer and Little Fears. In other words, no matter what the person has done regarding the "indie horde," make sure to funnel them toward Little Fears and/or Sorcerer as part of the process. If they don't want to, fine, but just mention that "the book games" are over there at the ends of the booth space.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Matt Gwinn on April 16, 2002, 04:23:09 PM
That all works for me, so you can cash my check Ron.  

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not an "in your face" kind of guy so I wasn't planning on shoving Kayfabe down anyone's throat anyway.  I was hoping I could at least recoop my $100 which means selling about 30 copies; I think I can pull off without being pushy.

As far as collecting money goes, I have no problem with the idea of one till.  I trust Ron to pick someone trustworthy to manage that.  ON the other hand I do recognize that we don't all know one another and not everyone is as trusting as I am.  I also think that 20 people collecting money for different games is tempting chaos, so I really don't know what the best way to handle this is.

If we need one, I have a big 31" x 48" dry erase board that I can bring along if we need one to post demo times and stuff.  Just don't let me forget it like I did my stapler last year.

I think it might help things if everyone that had a game at the booth had that games name somewhere on their badge so those of us who are bad with names know who to direct customers too.

On another note, I wasn't aware that there would be so many games for sale.  Will we have time to do demos for all of them?

In an 8 hour day (I think the exhibitor's room is open 10-6) you can run twelve 40 minute games back to back.  I counted 12 games in the above list and there are more to come.  I forsee problems with this.  We may need to limit demo time to games that will actually be available for sale.

Some games should take less than 40 minutes; I can run a promo for Kayfabe in 20 minutes or less and if I'm not mistaken Soap is restricted to 30 minutes.  Will there be enough space to demo more than 1 demo at a time?  That would help a lot.

What happens if a game demo is scheduled and no one (aside from exhibitors) are there to play, but there are customer who want to play something else?  Would game slots be switched or would the first game simply lose its slot?

Perhaps I'm getting too far ahead of the game.  I just thought these were questions that should at least be brought up.

,Matt


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Nathan on April 16, 2002, 05:05:02 PM
Ron & all,

Sounds okay.

There has to be a more organized way of doing this -- and this sort of avalanche of indie press is probably not going to do well.

I mean -- how many will we be able to show off/cram in until it becomes a blob of little games? Will it be more of a mess than a help? Is there any other way to organize games?

I don't want to partake in something like this to just get in the way and what not -- what if we collectively (through a poll or vote or something) chose three games on each day of the con (or whatever) to highlight and support. If our game is not selected, it shouldn't be a downer. I doubt Eldritch Ass Kicking would be on the list for example (I think it is too mainstream for you avant garde gamers! :P) -- but, I'd love to have some free copies there or whatever.

I think we will do so much better if we focus on the best indie rpgs have to offer -- as opposed to trying to cram everything in. Then, I could draw some html up on CDs, bring some cheap old Macs, and set up web browsing kiosks (no connection needed/browse off the CD). Interested folks could browse through a listing of rpgs - including the ones demoed - and get info or whatever.

This is a rough idea mind you, but technically, some gamer could be stoked about InSpectres, buy a copy, then set at the terminal and browse through some other games, see Eldritch Ass Kicking, and ask about it -- at which point, we hand him a free copy or promotional material.

Or we could simply burn a million CDs and hand them out...

But anyway, I think blitzing folks with indie games is going to be a very poor strategy. More than likely, we will leave a bad impression as opposed to a good one. But, I can be outvoted.

No matter what, I will probably end up running EAK anyway at some point -- with folks off my email list or whatever.

Just some more thoughts...

Thanks,
Nathan


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ferry Bazelmans on April 17, 2002, 04:00:57 AM
Whoa. If SOAP is going to be played, I'd better make sure that new version gets done before GenCon 2002. :)

I'll get you the new PDF with art and other improvements as soon as I have it finished...

Fer


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 17, 2002, 05:08:53 AM
To all,

Rest assured, there will be an organized way of dealing with the play and promotion of games at the Forge part of the booth. Free-associative discussion and worries and concerns should be directed to me and Jason; conclusions will be posted here.

Nathan, the blitz you are worried about is exactly what I don't want. See my first post on this thread.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: joshua neff on April 17, 2002, 05:57:29 AM
Ron--

Obviously I don't have a game to sell (well, probably--see below), but I'd love to work the booth again this year, & I'd be more than willing to run a Sorcerer demo (either modern day or Sorcerer & Sword).

If Sean Demory can't make it to GenCon, he wants to send me copies of Le Mon Mouri (& buy me a distributor's badge), in which case I'll run demos of that, too (as well as hawk it).

Oh, & I want to play demos of these indie games--Donjon, The Pool & Questing Beast, Trollbabe, & so on. Hey ho, let's go!


Title: freebies
Post by: Dav on April 18, 2002, 07:28:19 AM
Ron;

This may well have been answered previously, and if so, I apologize:

What about freebies?  I was mainly expecting to only shuffle out free copies (largely), rather than worry about cash.  In such cases, can we just drop them and leave?  I know that may rankle some, but I don't sell... mainly because I suck at it, but also because I hate it.

Dav


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 18, 2002, 07:42:44 AM
Hi Dav,

Freebies are freebies. They're welcome at the booth and in many cases will be pointed at ("take one!") and even given out with purchases.

Also, some of the free games (notably Soap) will be played at the booth.

Folks, again, if you have concerns about how all this will be organized or biased or regimented or whatever, then email me. My real point for this thread is to state that your total commitment to the positive experience of the people who come by is what's needed.

Best,
Ron


Title: A quick ramble...
Post by: Ferry Bazelmans on April 19, 2002, 12:11:43 AM
I know selling a product increases costs for attendance, but I was wondering if it mattered what you were selling? To clarify: does it matter if you're selling my product alongside your own or does that incur more costs?

As I already mentioned, the improved SOAP PDF will include far more than just the basic game. I will be putting this baby up for about $5 on my webpage (for I'm guessing about 40-50 pages of material including art). This PDF will be done by GenCon (I have willed it so *smile*).

The game that will be played will most likely be the basic free game (which will always remain free as far as I'm concerned).

If you guys want to print out a few copies of the SOAP PDF and sell them  (at $5) and use the money to get a bite to eat or something (if you actually manage to sell enough to do that), then by all means do so.

As I said in the beginning, this may not be feasible at all, but I thought I'd just blurt it out anyway.

Fer


Title: Re: A quick ramble...
Post by: Jason L Blair on April 19, 2002, 06:07:47 AM
Fer,

It doesn't matter what or how much as far as costs are concerned. The only break you can get is the "Entrepreneurial Discount" which Ron took advantage of last year. But that's a one-time thing (and you can only have one product at your booth). This year, though, we're dropping the wad for a three-booth badboy; so we can sell whatever we want (within the guidelines of the law at least).


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ferry Bazelmans on April 19, 2002, 06:15:11 AM
Jason,

Thanks for the clarification. Then my offer stands. If you manage to shift some printed PDF copies (or on disc filesize permitting) at $5, feel free to have fun with the money. It may not be much, but I consider it my contribution to your GenCon presence. :)

Fer


Title: Even though I;'ce already paid for my booth
Post by: Michael Hopcroft on May 17, 2002, 03:22:54 PM
I'd like to help out and be helped. I'd also like to ask some pertinent questions:

1. If you;re selling a book that there's only been limited promotion on, how many copies should you take to the convention?

2. What should you do in the event that you sell out but can get more copies later from your printer and your website?

3. What is the best way to handle Wisconsin sales tax if you're an out-of-state publisher?

4. I want to put up flyers to promote my game, but can;t afford eight grand to put them in the registration bag. What's the best way to do this? And does it even work?

5. Is it regular practice for dealers to send customers to each other's booths?

6. If you're your company's only rep at the convention, how do you take breaks for lunch, the bathoroom, or to network?


Title: Re: Even though I;'ce already paid for my booth
Post by: Jason L Blair on May 17, 2002, 03:36:24 PM
1. If you;re selling a book that there's only been limited promotion on, how many copies should you take to the convention?

That's a hard call, man. We released Little Fears at Origins, before much promotion (outside of RPGnet banners and press releases) and sold around 80. At GenCon (after some reviews by such heavies as Ken Hite and Matthew Pook for Pyramid, as well as several independent reviews on RPGnet), we moved around 250. I brought a shload, but we weren't printing on demand so I just brought the share I didn't send to the warehouse.

2. What should you do in the event that you sell out but can get more copies later from your printer and your website?

Make sure people know it! Flyers, baby, flyers.

3. What is the best way to handle Wisconsin sales tax if you're an out-of-state publisher?

Damn. There's a contact number for the Wisconsin State Exhibitor/Visitor's bureau... but I forgot it.

4. I want to put up flyers to promote my game, but can;t afford eight grand to put them in the registration bag. What's the best way to do this? And does it even work?

Forget about the bag. Flyer tables/bulletin boards, our booth, others' booths. Use these and people will find your game. Also, hit the appropriate fora on RPG sites and promote yourself (careful, though, make sure you post on the right fora). Also, make sure you send out your press releases (use the GPA press exploder) and make sure people know where you're going to be at GenCon (Booth number, other companies that are sharing, etc).

5. Is it regular practice for dealers to send customers to each other's booths?

Is it regular practice? Who cares? ;) I had flyers on my con tables last year for Adept Press, Misguided Games, Chain of Being, etc. It's a good practice, no matter how regular or irregular it is.

6. If you're your company's only rep at the convention, how do you take breaks for lunch, the bathoroom, or to network?

Well... if you can't find someone you trust to watch/sell your stuff... I guess you'll have to hold it. ;)


Title: Re: Even though I;'ce already paid for my booth
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on May 17, 2002, 03:48:01 PM
Quote from: Michael Hopcroft
6. If you're your company's only rep at the convention, how do you take breaks for lunch, the bathoroom, or to network?


i, jared sorensen, will accept swag in exchange for me standing by your stuff dress in black and looking vaguely menacing.

and needless to say, i will also kill for money and goods.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Michael Hopcroft on May 17, 2002, 03:50:35 PM
Quote
1. If you;re selling a book that there's only been limited promotion on, how many copies should you take to the convention?

That's a hard call, man. We released Little Fears at Origins, before much promotion (outside of RPGnet banners and press releases) and sold around 80. At GenCon (after some reviews by such heavies as Ken Hite and Matthew Pook for Pyramid, as well as several independent reviews on RPGnet), we moved around 250. I brought a shload, but we weren't printing on demand so I just brought the share I didn't send to the warehouse.


I expect to bring 80-100 copies. I will have had two months of ads in Knights of the Dinner Table beofre that happens and banners on RPGNet. I'll also have sent out review copies to a few people, incluidng Pyramid. (I'll have to ask them where to send review material).


Quote
2. What should you do in the event that you sell out but can get more copies later from your printer and your website?

Make sure people know it! Flyers, baby, flyers.


I hope I can find someone to make an Office Depot run before the con is over to make those flyers. I don;t know if I should just print them up in avdance on the assumption I'll sell out.

Quote
3. What is the best way to handle Wisconsin sales tax if you're an out-of-state publisher?

Damn. There's a contact number for the Wisconsin State Exhibitor/Visitor's bureau... but I forgot it.


I have an Exhibitor contact at WOTC -- I'll ask her. Frankly I'd rather not have to mess with it, but if that's the law....


Quote
4. I want to put up flyers to promote my game, but can;t afford eight grand to put them in the registration bag. What's the best way to do this? And does it even work?

Forget about the bag. Flyer tables/bulletin boards, our booth, others' booths. Use these and people will find your game. Also, hit the appropriate fora on RPG sites and promote yourself (careful, though, make sure you post on the right fora). Also, make sure you send out your press releases (use the GPA press exploder) and make sure people know where you're going to be at GenCon (Booth number, other companies that are sharing, etc).


I will be in the GPA booth along with four other companies (inlcuding Backstage Press).


Quote
5. Is it regular practice for dealers to send customers to each other's booths?

Is it regular practice? Who cares? ;) I had flyers on my con tables last year for Adept Press, Misguided Games, Chain of Being, etc. It's a good practice, no matter how regular or irregular it is.


I know several good products that will be coming out at GenCon that I'll want to get my hands on. I don;t know if I can count on "the courtesy of the profession" to get me there. (That's the one phrase I remember from (Annie Get Your Gun" before walking out at halftime).


Quote
6. If you're your company's only rep at the convention, how do you take breaks for lunch, the bathoroom, or to network?

Well... if you can't find someone you trust to watch/sell your stuff... I guess you'll have to hold it. ;)


As I said, I have four other companies sharing my booth. If they aren't trustworthy I'm in big trouble.


Title: A slight update
Post by: Michael Hopcroft on May 20, 2002, 09:09:30 PM
First of all, let me say that prgress on getting my books printed has been remarkable. I will have THREE months of KODT advenrtising, and I will have the PDF versions of my books up for sale for a month or so by then.

So I'lll try to bring more books to GenCon. The plan (if the person whose house I am staying at for GenCon agrees, of course!) is to ship 300 copies directly to her from the printer. That way they'll be waiting for me when I arrive in Milawukee. After all, it's better to have to ship books back than to run out of product to sell.

Just how much product I'll be able to sell is open to question. I've been told as few as 50 and as many as 250. I don't know who to believe. In any event, I plan to give away 50 copies to reviewers, fellow publishers, in trade, etc. I will have had a preview article in the July issue of Games Unplugged (connections always help!) and I will certainly try to get a review in Pyramid now that that's being mentioned.

In addition, I will be running a demo at GenCon (as a normal event that takes place after the delaers room closes -- I hope).


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 21, 2002, 05:26:40 AM
Hi Michael,

1. If you;re selling a book that there's only been limited promotion on, how many copies should you take to the convention?

Based on your posts, you've already decided on how many. No one can tell you "how many you'll sell," and those who do are talking out of their asses. What I can give you are data: I sold 100 copies of Sorcerer last year with very, very aggressive sales tactics at the booth.

2. What should you do in the event that you sell out but can get more copies later from your printer and your website?

What are you talking about? "What should you do" meaning what? Selling out of the stock you bring is called "success." It's not a crisis that must be dealt with in some way. Arguably, you could just enjoy GenCon from that time on, chat with people, and pass out flyers.

If you are talking about drumming up more customers, just give'em the promo flyers and so forth. Maybe start up a mailing list signup. Whatever.

3. What is the best way to handle Wisconsin sales tax if you're an out-of-state publisher?

Don't know. I confess that this issue never arose for me; I didn't deal with it at all (now Wisconsin secret agents will visit me in the night).

4. I want to put up flyers to promote my game, but can;t afford eight grand to put them in the registration bag. What's the best way to do this? And does it even work?

That eight grand is a total fucking scam. Give flyers to friendly fellow publishers, like us at the Forge booth. People will get them. Otherwise, don't sweat it. People are already coming to that room in order to buy games.

5. Is it regular practice for dealers to send customers to each other's booths?

"Regular," I don't know. I know that lots of people do it, including me.

6. If you're your company's only rep at the convention, how do you take breaks for lunch, the bathoroom, or to network?

At first I was going to scold you for asking a dumb question, but then decided it wasn't dumb. As you pointed out, you're at the GPA booth and clearly the other people and you will spot one another and keep an eye on one another's stuff. More generally, people at adjacent booths often perform these services for one another. Last year, the Adept Press booth was next to a guy by himself selling reams of Magic cards, and we guarded his stuff every so often when he needed breaks. Seems like expected professional courtesy to me.

Best,
Ron


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Clay on May 21, 2002, 09:20:00 AM
While I don't have any experience at GenCon, I do have a lot of experience as a retailer in a temporary location (i.e. art fairs).

If you sell out of books, that's great that you sold so many, but it's a logistical failure and it cost you money.  The reason is that if you'd had the books with you, you would have sold even more, and covered more of your expenses.  It also hurts your image somewhat, because when people come up they aren't going to see your product, and they can't buy, or be inspired to buy, product that isn't there. You'll have to work really hard to get these customers back.  I'd at least keep a couple copies on hand that people could look at, and make sure they get a flyer with a very convenient order form printed on it.  Have them fill it out right there (provide pens).  You still won't get most of those sales, but you'll have a better chance.

Make sure you take your flyers with you, and hand them out like rats distributing the plague. If they come in to talk to you, even if they don't buy your book, make sure they take a flyer, and remind them to take it in to their FLGS and show it there, where they can order the game. Don't wait until you're there to have flyers printed up; you'll have too much other stuff to do.

As far as sales tax is concerned, I have a sneaking suspicion that you're required to get a temporary Wisconsin sales tax license. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois definitely require them for temporary retail sales like this.  You can get it from the Wisconsin treasury department (or their equivalent), and the GenCon organizers can probably even give you the address and/or forms that you'll need.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on May 21, 2002, 06:03:16 PM
I have no experience selling things, but my girlfriend does, and she has the following pithy advice: Try to look like you're having fun. People are more likely to take your fliers/look at your games/etc. if you look like you're enjoying yourself.


Title: Problem! I probably can;t go!
Post by: Michael Hopcroft on May 23, 2002, 05:00:56 PM
I just found out from my new employer that it is highly unlikley I'll get the time off for GenCon (highly unlikley as in "asking for the time off is the same thing as turning down the job" kind of highly unlikely.)

So it looks like I'll need a committed rep to sell my game in decent quantities and have no idea where I'm going to find one.

I feel really terrible right now.


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: woodelf on June 02, 2002, 12:10:07 AM
Quote

I hope I can find someone to make an Office Depot run before the con is over to make those flyers. I don;t know if I should just print them up in avdance on the assumption I'll sell out.


there's a Kinko's quite near by--might even be walkable (i don't remember), which we used last year.  (printed and bound our ashcans overnight W night.)


Title: GenCon 2002 - very important
Post by: Jason L Blair on June 02, 2002, 12:18:36 AM
Yeah, the Kinko's is only about six blocks away. I made a few trips there to get Little Fears flyers made when we got dangerously on the second day.


Title: atari really kicks ass
Post by: hive on June 19, 2002, 09:05:32 PM
jason -

i'll be attending GenCon this year and would be happy to do a cover-signing session for Little Fears to help promote it for free. I'm going to the con in spectator mode but if you have a day and time to set up just drop me a line at hive@internalist.com


-
h


Title: Seraphim Guard's booth
Post by: Michael Hopcroft on June 19, 2002, 09:16:05 PM
Well, I'm all set. I have a share of booth #203 at genCon along with four other GPA-member companies, so go ahead and look me up.

I'd also like to coordinate with anyone who can print out a limited number of flyers and has a booth at the conevntion that they are willing to have flyers at that link to my booth. Contact me priovately if you're interested.

Note that I will not have a table at origins. I will, however, have a sample of the game for people to look at that I will be carrying around with me. Look for the guy in the HeartQuest T-Shirt.