Phoenix Comic Fest Recap

After dragging our tired and sore bodies home and resting, I wanted to give our readers a little bit of a recap on the weekend. We had a wonderful time with our authors, the Amazing Wyked Writers! I have to give a big shout out to Terry L. Smith who organizes the group every year. Our partnership with her and the authors she brings to Comic Con/Comic Fest has been one of the best things that ever happened for our little business. Thanks to her for inviting us that first year and giving us the opportunity every year thereafter to be part of supporting our local, independent authors in Arizona. We cannot thank Terry enough! It was awesome carpooling with her for load in and load out. My favorite part was our zombie brunch today when we went to pick her up at the hotel and give her back her lovely van that fits all the things! We loved working with her as well as her great helper, Sarah!

I also want to give thanks to our helpers! They worked tirelessly this year and while I know I try to give them the chance to see panels and roam the halls, this year was a bit more chaotic and I appreciated their patience and assistance. We gathered them from all avenues. We had Aimee, who is our loyal and good friend who’s helped out three years in a row now. We had James and Julie who helped Gini Koch last year. With her move to Atlanta, we gained them as awesome helpers! Hal brought out his grand daughter Ivy, our young ball of energy who was a super love getting all the authors drinks and/or help with every little thing! KC Klein loaned us her daugher, Kennedy on Thursday who is super sweet. Colette Black brought her daughter Samantha who helped on Saturday and Sunday. Samantha was excellent at watching her mother’s spot during signings and did a great job helping customers. We had Jennifer Windrow’s daughters again this year. Thank you Sage and Sydnee! I enjoyed having my co-worker Daisy and her son Dylan help us. Dylan even dressed up as Spider-man! Last but not least, we had Rick, a friend of Terry’s, who is a ton of fun and a blast to work with!

We had twenty two authors this year from all genres. Some of the highlights were getting to reunite with authors we’d worked with in the past, Sharon Skinner, Dr. Bruce Davis and Arabella Thorne. We loved seeing them and getting the chance to see them reunite with fans of their books. While both Sharon and Bruce (and Colette) were also doing signings at the Brick Cave Media booth, it was such a delight to have them with us and I love supporting our Brick Cave Media Authors!

We also got a blast out of working with and meeting new authors, Deborah J Ledford, Deborah Wellborn, Gerard Moor, JF Castillo, Joel C Cunningham, Patrick Tylee, and Ross Caligiuri. All of them were professional, upbeat, positive and completely fun to spend time with. Lest I forget, we also had a blast with our returning authors, the above mentioned Terry (T.L. Smith), Alica McKenna Johnson, Catherine LaCroix, Colette Black, Ann Videan, Duann and Alan Black, Hal C F Astell, Jennifer Windrow, Sara Fujimura, KC Klein, and Deena Remiel. I got all the hugs and all the pictures which I will be posting. If you aren’t a fan of any of these people, you should be. They are all really cool, great with fans, encouraging and supportive to each other as well as other authors and if you liked them, please buy their books and support them.

For us, the best part of the event was the raffle we put on in which ALL of our authors contributed. Big thanks to KC Klein for the Kindle Fire and Western Science Fiction Association for the memberships to local fan convention CokoCon which is co-chaired by author Hal C F Astell as a member of Western SFA and in conjunction with the group Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society (CASFS). It was a huge success in getting readers to talk with each of the authors and learn about their work. I certainly liked that people also wanted to learn more about Duncan’s Books and More as well. We had tons of participation. One of our helpers, James, rocked getting attention to our little raffle event, handing out game sheets and talking us up. He was the best! For everyone who participated, whether they won or not, we appreciated your time and were glad you enjoyed playing Author Bingo. We had crowd when we pulled the winning ticket and were so happy Breanne Hatch Roxbury won, as she hopped up and down with excitement and was in tears over winning all the lovely books! Congratulations, Breanne and I hope you enjoy all your winnings! We will see you at CokoCon!

Of course, I also have to mention that I personally managed to get away for a couple things. I took time to go over and say hi to L.E. Modesitt, author of the Recluse books and my favorites, the Soprano Singer. I got some of our books signed and chatted a bit. I also got the marvelous opportunity to meet one of my favorite authors Mercedes Lackey and her husband/ co-author Larry Dixon. They were both genuinely the sweetest people I’ve met. Larry gave me art cards signed. They signed all the books I brought. Larry seemed really pleased to see the copy of Born to Run I brought! Mercedes had me sing for her when I said I had all her music! Lovely pair and again, encourage everyone to read their books. They both were a delight! I even managed to stop in and get some photos of them at the tail end of their panel. Julie also got the chance to meet the pair and agreed that they are super nice! I also got some pictures of some cosplayers who visited our booth, including my favorite, a pair of T-Rex’s. My friends have nicknamed me Rexie for my short arms so now I have to get pictures of my cousins wherever we go!

I also went to a panel on blogging “Navigating the Geeky Blogosphere and Infinite Airwaves.” As you know, we’ve been running our blog for a little while but we both want to make it the best we can, which means learning from the experts. While Duncan could not take the time, supporting our authors is a huge responsibility and he takes it seriously, not leaving until they leave, we figured I could go to learn a bit. I was excited to see Geeks Who Eat, The Geek Lyfe and Couch Crunchers. I loved re-meeting Sarah Eikner and Matthew Stubbs from Geeks Who Eat as I’d actually met them at a movie screening for IT. It was great to get some advice, most of which confirms we need to be consistent with our content but otherwise are doing good by our readers, just trying to support readers and authors, independent creators and film in any way we can.

I’m sure most people heard the news about the evacuation of the convention center. Luckily, we had already left the exhibitor’s hall for the night and missed that excitement. I’ve heard overall it was a long process but was managed to keep participants safe. The convention did announce that the event will be now be named Phoenix Fan Fusion. I love the new name which incorporates all the geeky fun that is the event and I feel like encapsulates our Phoenix fan community. Since everyone else is commenting on how the event went, I will chime in with our thoughts. From my perspective, the security was not terrible. It was a learning process for me as well as the security but I think it went well. Sunday was very smooth. I think while the event thinks they have handled ADA and mobility issues, they’ve only put one solution in place. They have a place for people to be dropped off up front which is awesome, unless you are working the event and are the driver in which case, there is no place close in which to walk in….and no dedicated line to go through. The lines for ADA were combined with specialty and cosplay and I really felt there needs to be a dedicated line for people who are having issues standing in line. There was a similar issue with load out but the dock was accommodating and got me a chair to sit in…thank you so much!

Attendance was down but our numbers were good. We had our biggest group ever so overall the group did well. We really appreciate the fans who come out and support the authors. I think there are some small changes we need to make but those are more little changes that will help all the authors do well as well as the bookstore. I loved that a couple of my watercolor bookmarks were enjoyed by our customers. Even though I started it as a relaxing hobby, I love the watercolor designs and are always happy when someone likes one.

Load out from the event needed some fine tuning as there was some miscommunication on our part as well as the event on what the process was. It took longer than expected but I’m hoping that we will learn from this year and next year will be smoother.

We love coming out to Phoenix Comic Fest, now Phoenix Fan Fusion and we look forward to an exciting year ahead and an even better year in 2019!

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