Tag Archives: Conventions

GenCon Indy 2014

This was probably my best-ever year at GenCon Indy. With bullets:

  • The Wallrike scooped me up at the airport, saving me cab fare, helping me sort out a housing snafu, and basically being excellent company.
  • The Kokomo Irregulars had the booth completely loaded and assembled by Wednesday at noon.
  • I got all of my Massively Parallel bonus story rows penciled on Wednesday by dinner time, while sitting in the awesome booth.
  • I got to hang out with cool people all weekend. Some of them are name-droppable. Some are awesome people whose names only carry cachet with the folks who are privileged enough to have met them.
  • How many books did I draw in? I don’t know. Pretty sure it was “hundreds.”
  • My panels went well, with only one exception, and that one went so far off the rails it made for great commiseration fodder.
  • Our booth did better sales-wise than it has in any prior year. 15% better than our next best number, and up 25% from last year.
  • I learned important stuff from Jim Zub, who is a great boothmate, a brilliant writer, and a very savvy industry insider.
  • I came home energized, and I got work done the very next day. No con-crud, no post-convention blues, no problem.

The one blemish on the experience is that this year the one game I managed to play was “D20 roll-off” in which you sit down at the bar and roll dice to see who rolls better. And really, this is the blemish every year. I don’t get to play games. When I’m away from the booth, I’m not making money. Sandra sent us some handy bar graphs that showed just how much money we weren’t making when Jim, Tracy, and I had to be away from the booth.BoothGraphSat2014

 

 

 

Adding to the blemishy darkness of this is the fact that while we had plenty of players interested in testing the Schlock Mercenary role-playing game, we never were able to align ourselves for a table and some dice.

Back to the positive notes: Symposium! If you’re a writer, and you want to attend panels in which writers talk intelligently about writing, and do so with the understanding that they’re talking to an audience full of writers, you should seriously consider attending GenCon Indy just for the Writing Symposium. It has attracted an all-star cast, and when the panels are over there are a million things to do. Marc Tassin has done an outstanding job of growing the symposium over the last three years, and when I talked to him about it I could see that he’s committed to continuing to improve it.

Find Me at GenCon Indy 2014

I’m at GenCon Indy this weekend. I arrived on Tuesday for setup, and don’t fly home until Monday the 18th, and yes, this means the convention is eating a week of buffer. Like a voracious monster with 70,000 mouths…

GenCon2014-1437-ZubTaylerHickman

I’m in Booth 1437 with Jim Zub and Tracy Hickman. We’re pretty much smack-dab in the center of the exhibit hall, facing the Asmodee folks.

Is there convention-exclusive merchandise? Yes, there is!

Exclusive pins

(Note: for those unable to attend GenCon, these exclusives can be purchased during the month of August if you’ve got the “Schlock Troops” level of patronage ($2.50/mo) over on Patreon.)

We’ll have plenty of other goodies, including the sale-priced ten-book bundle, and the latest Schlock Mercenary title, Longshoreman of the Apocalypseand not only can you get me to sketch in the back of that at no charge, Zub can sign it for you too! He wrote the bonus story (and it is awesome).

Zub will have Skullkickers collections, and will happily tell you all about Wayward, his new project. He’l also be signing comic books galore – Pathfinder, Samurai Jack, Figment, Skullkickers, and more – and maybe, just maybe you’ll be able to coax a commission out of him. (Hint: use money.)

Tracy will be signing books and books and books (thirty years of writing will do that), and will have his Sojourner Tales game! Brand new!

My schedule is pretty packed. If you have to pick just one thing, you should pick my solo presentation at 7pm on Thursday, “Crafting Humor for the Page.”

Here’s my full schedule:

THURSDAY
  • 12pm — Room 245:  Cliches and Stereotypes, with Susan Morris, Erin Evans, David B. Coe, and Brad Beaulieu
  • 1pm-6pm — Booth 1437 (with occasional breaks)
  • 7pm — Room 245: Crafting Humor for the Page, my solo presentation!
FRIDAY
  • 10am-1pm — Booth 1437
  • 2pm — Room 243: Author Networking 101, with Kerrie Hughes, Kameron Hurley, Marc Tassin, and Carrie Harris
  • 3pm-5pm — Booth 1437
  • 6pm – Room 243:  Getting Great Reviews, with Susan Morris, Steve Diamond, and Kelly Swails
SATURDAY
  • 10am-12pm — Booth 1437
  • 1pm — Room 245: Writer’s Life: Tales from the Trenches with Don Bingle, Howard Tayler, Ed Greenwood, Michael Stackpole, and James Sutter
  • 2pm — Westin, Capitol III: XDM – X-treme Dungeon Mastery, with Tracy Hickman (note: I’ll be a little late and a lot out of breath.)
  • 4pm-6pm — Booth 1437
SUNDAY
  • 10am-3pm — Booth 1437 (note that Jim and I will be there, but Tracy will not! If you want to catch up with Mr. Hickman, don’t wait until Sunday to try.)

Lots of folks, including business partners, peers, fans, and fellow gamers, have asked about my evening schedule, or about “catching lunch” at the convention.

Unfortunately, lunch is taken on the run, and my evenings are booked with private meetings or crash time. There is one, and only one free-floating event, and that is the GenCon Indy Schlock Mercenary RPG playtest. I made that sound WAY MORE OFFICIAL than it really is. Alan will be holding a few of these, catch-as-catch can. Find Alan at GenCon!  I will be able to attend (as a player) exactly one of these. I don’t know which one.

If you want to maximize your chances of playing or watching, follow @AlanBahr, @HowardTayler, and/or @Schlocktroops on Twitter.

 

Banner Tweaking

Here’s a quick comparison between drafts of my GenCon 2014 banners. On the left, the banner I thought was the final one. On the right, the one that we used after I let the design “bake” in my brain a bit.

GenCon 2014 Banner, designed by Howard, using cover art from Privateer Press, Carter Reid, Julie Dillon, and his own hand.
GenCon 2014 Banner designed by Howard. Art by Howard, Julie Dillon, Carter Reid, and artists at Privateer Press
HowardBanner-5x7-2014-WEB
GenCon 2014 Banner designed by Howard. Art by Howard, Julie Dillon, Carter Reid, and artists at Privateer Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you see  the difference? The big change was swapping XDM and SHADOWS BENEATH. For branding purposes, the original layout made it look like SHADOWS BENEATH was a Schlock cover. With XDM running interference, though, SHADOWS BENEATH gets to be its own thing.

I also changed the text effect on my name. The wavy effect was cool, but on a fabric banner it will make people thing the banner is hanging badly. The slight arch with the forward lean (the one on the left) will look much better, especially since people will be looking up at that spot.

This project killed an entire day, and that final tweak was made during three hours I could have spent writing. But I needed to make the tweak, and I didn’t know what exactly it was until I started nudging things around.