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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 162 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: GenCon 2002 - very important  (Read 10267 times)
Michael Hopcroft
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Posts: 511


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« Reply #30 on: May 17, 2002, 03:50:35 PM »

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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).


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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.

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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....


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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).


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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).


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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.
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Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
Michael Hopcroft
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Posts: 511


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« Reply #31 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).
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Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #32 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
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Clay
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #33 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.
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Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
Seth L. Blumberg
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Posts: 303


« Reply #34 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.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Michael Hopcroft
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« Reply #35 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.
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Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
woodelf
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« Reply #36 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.)
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woodelf
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The Impossible Dream
Jason L Blair
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Nothing is sacred.


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« Reply #37 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.
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
hive
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Posts: 40


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« Reply #38 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
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Michael Hopcroft
Member

Posts: 511


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« Reply #39 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.
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Michael Hopcroft Press: Where you go when you want something unique!
http:/www.mphpress.com
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