When I was invited to share a table with fellow author, David Moore at Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans, I jumped at the chance. David is author of ‘The Shroud’, an incredible novel that has been picked up Lion’s Gate Productions. Filming will start at the end of this year. I figured rubbing elbows with him couldn’t hurt, and being at Comic Con for three days would be fun as well as an awesome experience. Would I do well selling my books? Probably not. I knew it going in. I’ve been to a Comic Con before and knew what to expect.
The first thing I found out about getting a table on Artist’s Row is that it’s expensive. Not so much the table itself. I was sharing that expense with David. But … and here’s where you need to read the small print. If you want electricity at your table, you have to pay for it. It’s not cheap. And you have to pay the labor to have it done. Same for Wi-Fi. We’re not talking a few dollars, we’re running into the thousands. So, no electricity. Leave the laptops at home. No Wi-Fi. I can get around that one. I use my data plan or I use my Mobile Hotspot. The table comes with 2 chairs and 2 floorbands (passes so you can go in and out each day.) If you have an assistant, you have to pay extra. ($40 each) We both needed an extra floorband. They’re not interchangeable. The person who wears it, keeps it for the three days. No trading or swapping. If you want a chair for your assistant … you guessed it, you have to buy one. We won’t even discuss concessions. They were over-rated. Parking was convenient, but expensive. $30 a day definitely put a dent in the budget. So did having to pay the City of New Orleans for an occupational license and paying sales tax on the last day. My checkbook hates me.
Living an hour outside of New Orleans, I opted to drive back and forth, rather than the expense of a hotel. It might have been a smart decision, IF I drove a small vehicle. I happen to drive a large SUV, and went through a half tank of gas for the round trip each day. Winters are mild in this part of the country, except for those three days. As luck would have it, we hit winter during Comic Con. A day long torrential downpour with temps in the 20’s. For us, it was brutal. For me driving in the mess, miserable.
A crucial blow to my weekend was finding out my tablemate wasn’t going to be there after all. David has Stage 4 cancer. He really wanted to do Comic Con, because he thought it would be fun. Unfortunately, his health took a turn for the worse and he ended up in ICU. My prayers are with him and his family. The first day, his daughter, Mary Beth joined us. The next day, his partner, Joe Ferina helped out. My dear friend and head minion, Stephanie was a godsend for me. She manned the table for me so I could stretch my legs, and use the bathroom. She did coffee and food runs for me. And best of all, if I saw someone pass in an interesting costume, she chased them down and got their picture. We ended up with an incredible album of pics. You can see them on my Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/MadisonGrangerAuthor/
To be fair, I had a blast at Comic Con. I met a lot of interesting people; attendees, vendors, and even a celebrity or two. I was awed by the people who came by my table just to chat and thank me for writing. A few bought books or a necklace. I even had a couple of men buy my book. That really tickled me to no end. The entire weekend was fun filled. I was amazed that every single person who passed by my table made eye contact with me, smiled and said hello. EVERY SINGLE PERSON! I’ve never seen so many happy people before. It was a surreal experience.
Sitting at my table, I happened to look up to find a man staring at me. When I realized who he was, his name came tumbling out of my mouth. Apparently, he reads lips. LOL And Mitch Pileggi (Skinner of X Files) smiled and winked at me. Yes, I was star struck!
I caved and paid the fee for a Photo Op with Dave Bautista (WWE Champion and Guardians of the Galaxy) A truly nice man. Even though we had 10 seconds to take the picture, he managed to ask me how I was,
and answered a quick question with a smile. My crush lives on.
It was a magical weekend, and one I won’t soon forget. Will I go again? Most definitely. Will I go as an artist to work the Con? Probably not. It’s not the marketing niche I need and want. I was approached and invited to attend a SciFi Con in October. I’ll think long and hard before I decide one way or the other. For now, I’m going to relish the memories and focus on writing.