InConJunction XXXII

InConJunction XXXII was held over the weekend of July 6-8, 2012 at the Indianapolis Marriott East. We had not originally planned to attend, but two weeks before the convention we got an e-mail that one of the big dealers had canceled at the last minute and the con was looking to fill that hole in the dealers' room. My husband and I talked it over and decided that an opportunity to make money was a good thing. So we went ahead and expressed interest, and we were able to get the tables.

This year the dealers' room had early load-in on Thursday evening. Because of the extreme heat which had settled over the area for the holiday weekend, I had to wait until after dark on Wednesday night to load the van, and even then it was painfully hot. I made sure to drink plenty of fluids and I was still miserable.

As a result of restrictions on use of the loading dock, we wanted to park as close to the door as possible, so we went over right after lunch on Thursday. Grabbing a good parking space also meant we could spend the afternoon in air conditioning while we waited for the dealers' room to open. When it did, we hurried to get stuff in. We had several friends helping, which enabled us to get in much more quickly than usually would be the case. We took a full case of bottled waters with us and made sure everybody drank plenty to keep hydrated.

After that long, sweaty task it was really nice to be able to set up in air conditioning. We were able to get our store fixtures into place and about half of our merchandise organized before the dealers' room closed for the evening. So we headed back home to gather up some forgotten items, feed and water the cat, and try to get some sleep in a house without air conditioning.

The next morning we got up very early so we could be there the moment the dealers' room opened for setup. We used most of the six hours of allotted time, but we had everything organized by the time the doors opened. I also had time to get art in the art show.

Sales were fairly good, although we had enough lull time that I was able to make some notes on a novel I was writing. Although the dealers' room closed late, it was still so hot we decided to go to the con suite and sit for a while before heading home. It gave us a chance to visit with some friends from Louisville. They'd had some trouble with traffic getting across the Ohio River and were running late.

When we did go home, I ran up to our storage unit to pull some books that people had expressed interest in buying. Even working after dark it was still hot and unpleasant. I also removed sold books from our listings to avoid the embarrassment of duplicate sales Then we knocked off for the night and tried to get something resembling a decent night's sleep in a house without air conditioning.

Saturday morning came way too early, especially considering that the house never did really cool off. We set out fresh water for the cat and headed over to the hotel, where we could sit in air conditioning.

Once the dealers' room opened for dealer setup, we went in and got our tables open for business. Then I took a little time to look around at the other dealers' setups before the doors opened for business. Sales were a little on the slow side, but we were still selling at a reasonable speed.

In the afternoon I had my anime panel, "Liked the manga, love the anime -- or not." We discussed the phenomenon of adaptation decay, in which a storyline or fictional universe often loses something as it goes from one storytelling medium to another. Sometimes it's a matter of information density -- a feature-length movie contains about the same amount of story information as a novella, which means that in order to make a movie of a novel, a lot of material has to be left out. Some times it's a matter of storytelling conventions in different media -- in fiction it's expected that the author will lay the groundwork for all important story elements within the first quarter to third of the story arc, while in games the introduction of new equipment, abilities and non-player characters as the player's character levels up is an important part of the game's reward system. And then there's the problem that some story elements simply don't translate from one medium to another -- for instance, things going inside a character's mind can be presented directly in written fiction, but must be inferred from visible action in a video format.

After my panel, I returned to our dealers' tables to find a huge book sale in progress. I pulled backstock to cover the gaps in our displays and dealt with some smaller sales going on at the same time. Then I went to the con suite, where they had burritos from Qdoba Mexican Grille. They were a bit spicy, but were they ever good.

Later in the afternoon sales slowed to near non-existence, and I was soon struggling to stay awake. I did fall asleep at least once, and woke with a start when I had a leg go numb from sitting on it wrong.

When the dealers' room closed for the night, it was still so hot that we didn't even want to try to go home. We'd brought our supper with us, so we just went down to the con suite and ate it there. Then we just hung out, waiting for time for the parties to start. We visited with some friends, and I did some work on my con review and some book reviews.

Then we went to the parties. We don't drink, so we gave the Barfleet party the go-by. However, Xerps had a good party, and a local fan was having Party 'Til Your Brains Boil in honor of the heat. We stayed until it cooled enough that I could go to our storage unit and pull books without risking heatstroke, and then we turned in for the night.

Sunday morning we got up and headed over to the hotel. When we opened our dealers' tables, I discovered a gap in our Star Trek books that looked an awful lot like someone had taken a five-finger discount. Not exactly what we want to find, but probably not a huge loss.

Once the dealers room opened, we got a fair pattern of sales, although we had enough slow periods that I was able to write my con report and look up information on other cons we might want to try later in the year or next year. After noon we started packing some of our under-performing merchandise so we could concentrate on the things that were selling well, particularly our t-shirts.

Once the dealers' room actually closed, I brought in the t-shirt boxes and we started packing and breaking down in earnest. I broke down the big gridwall and took it out, then loaded out the books. After that point things became more challenging as I had to figure out how to fit everything back into the van. I managed to get it all in, and even added an empty box someone else had abandoned, but there were some iffy moments.

Once we had everything loaded, we headed back to the con suite to say our last good-byes. Then we headed home, happy in our unexpected good fortune.

Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated October 21, 2012.