Lexicon is a new gaming convention held in Lexington, Kentucky over the weekend of April 2-4, 2014. We didn't even know it existed until a member of their concom approached us at ConGlomeration and invited us to sell in their dealers' room.
The biggest problem with the drive was the wind. There were some times when I had to fight the wheel just to stay on the road. As a result, my forearms were aching by the time we arrived in Lexington.
Because a new convention is always something of a risk, we decided to stay at a cheaper place down the road rather than the main hotel. Our pick was a Quality Inn, part of the Choice Hotels franchise, but when we got there Thursday afternoon, I could tell it was an older building which had probably been an independent motel when it was first built. It had a zigzag roofline of the Googie style that was common in the 1950's, and I could almost imagine it once having a big sign in front announcing it as the Starlite Motel or the like.
Then we headed over to the main hotel, hoping we could make connections with the dealers' room director, maybe even get to load in early. However, we weren't able to find anybody, and we weren't even sure which room was going to be the dealers' room.
Finally we headed back to our room to have supper and take it easy for the evening. Our friend came over and visited for a while, but I still was able to get some work done on A Separate War. After having struggled with it for the past several months, I was finally getting to the climactic confrontation with the villain, and I wanted to push through it and be able to start on another novel that might prove more popular with the demographic that reads at JukePop Serials.
On Friday we got up early to eat the hotel's complimentary breakfast before heading over to the main hotel. We got there early and finally were able to get in touch with the guy running the dealers' room. He was scrambling to redo his plans because the room was several feet narrower than the hotel map had indicated. As a result he needed to find a way to move several people's tables several feet each evening so that they'd be secure.
At least we were able to secure our tables and start loading in, but I could tell we were dealing with a very inexperienced concom, however well-meaning they might be. If you've done much conrunning, you know not to rely on the dimensions given on hotel maps. Half the time they're from two or thee remodels ago, and the rest of the time they're apt to be just plain wrong. You really need to make a personal visit to the venue and check the layout of the room to be sure all your dealers will actually fit. And even then, you really should show up a few hours before the dealers begin loading in and make sure the hotel set the tables up correctly.
We carried our first few loads in through the back door and down the corridor to the dealers' room. Then they got the loading dock doors open, but by this time we no longer had a stable load in our van, so we couldn't move closer. Still, it was a darn sight easier than the maze we'd had to travel when we were loading in and out for Indiana Comic Con at the Indianapolis Convention Center.
While we were loading in, I had a nasty little accident. A knife box was weak and just folded up in my hand, and the unsheathed blade within sliced my finger. I ran back out to the van to grab the first-aid kit and get it bandaged up.
We got everything in a little before noon, but it still took another five hours to get all our structures up and the merchandise in place. By that time we had only an hour or so of sales time left, making the event effectively a two-day con for us.
When the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed back over to the sleeping room to have supper. I got "A Separate War" back out and kept pushing it onward.
On Saturday we didn't have to get up quite so awful early, although we did want to get to the hotel's complimentary breakfast. While we were there, we watched TV news coverage of some activities related to the Kentucky Derby. In Lexington things were not quite as hectic as they would be in Louisville, but I could tell it was on the level of what towns near Indianapolis experience before and during the 500.
Then we headed over to the main hotel to get our tables open for business. Traffic was slow, even with the dealers' room opening directly onto the main gaming room, so I ended up spending a lot of time talking with a guy at the tables across from us. He said that the concom clearly meant well and wanted to run a good con, but were so inexperienced that they were making tons of beginner mistakes that could've been avoided with at least one experienced conrunner advising them.
When the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed back to the other hotel for supper. Then I went on the computer and looked at some possibilities of additional products to acquire. I also did some more work on "A Separate War" before turning in for the night. I was becoming steadily more confident that I could indeed get it finished before our next event and get started on Holovideo.
On Sunday we had the hotel's complimentary breakfast. Then we loaded out our personal belongings and got checked out before heading over to the main hotel for our final day of sales.
Traffic continued to be slow, and it was becoming increasingly clear there was no way we could justify returning in future years unless they grew a whole lot. We were avoiding losing a lot of money only because we had held expenses down so firmly.
We started packing in the afternoon, but we were still packing by the time the dealers' room closed. We'd parked right by the loading dock doors, so I started carrying stuff out as my husband continued to pack. Even so, it was getting dark by the time we finished loading, and we still had a long drive home.
Copyright 2014 by Leigh Kimmel
Permission is granted for reproduction in fanzines and other non-profit fannish publications.
For permission to quote or reprint in other venues, contact Leigh Kimmel
Last updated August 9, 2014.