Knowing Tom's liberal peppering of salty language and his off handedness of possibly offending some readers, today's blog is served with the warning, he kept his F-bombs under ten, I think. I got caught up in his amusing observations of what happen on his trip from Bellingham, Washington to Portland, Oregon and attending a much coveted comic book Convention.
So. The adventure begins early on Friday at 5 a.m., where I conduct the utmost of my final pre-convention cleaning rituals. Taking out the trash, ensuring the last of my dishes are cleaned, the drying rack is left out to dry, and to ensure the corner it's in dries as well. - It's next to a window, but hey at least I can let it air out while I'm gone.
Anyway, I get to the Amtrak/Greyhound rail station super early and find out that, indeed, there's no seats open on the Amtrak. It was literally a coin flip that I could get a last-minute seat on either the train or the Bolt Bus, but hey - I'd rather fail with the Amtrak and get the greyhound as a backup. If all else fails, there's rentin' a car, y'know?
Well now, there's a 4 p.m. Greyhound bus that'll get me to Portland by ten, apparently.
After buying the ticket, and getting my gear into the office, I decide that with six hours on my hands, I might as well go back to my place, hang out for a moment, and get the freakin' packing tape that I had forgotten.
Upon getting back to the station, I realize that it's still early as hell, 'round three hours or so. I had also forgotten the packaging tape, again. With that in mind, I decide that at the last minute I should go check out the Pawn X-Change (great little pawn shop out here) and also get my hands on some tape. I head out there, thinking either a super-cheap tablet, MP3 Player, or somethin' like that - boom, fuckin' twenty dollars.
Twenty freakin' dollars for a soundlogic xt notebook/tablet, 4 GB but hey - it takes a micro SD reader, and I've got this 8 GB card ready for use!
So I pack onto it as much music as I can think of, haul ass and barely make it to the station.
Where the bus doesn't show up at 4 p.m.
Where the bus doesn't show up at 6 p.m.
The bus gets there at 8 p.m. and we barely get to Portland after an ultra-annoying six hours of being in the ghetto-assed greyhound. To make matters worse, I freakin' forgot my earbuds so I had to use these $5 crappy ones (which is worse off than my crappy $10 earbuds). So anyway, I get on the phone, and EVENTUALLY work it out with Cutie Bytes that I'll hang out at a Denny's, walk to the convention center (which is, like, two minutes from the Denny's) and go at it all day like that. Eternal pancakes, eternal coffee, and a plate of onion rings.
Jake from Cutie Bytes, on the other hand, talks me into just lettin' them pick me up and at least try and get some rest for an hour, out of fear of burnout. I put up a sketchy attempt to go to Denny's but eventually capitulate, netting me roughly an hour and a half of sleep.
I need to seriously thank Cutie Bytes for that, though.
Anyway, the first day was a melange of tired, mostly just shouting to people about the cosplay prices. I also ended up selling 60% of my stock that very day.
Some of the highlights was being spotted by several vendors who remembered me, and more than a couple of cosplayers too~! Even more so, the fine people at Dutch Bros Coffee makin' a brotha feel welcome with some of the finest fuckin' energy drinks and strawberry smoothies ever.
I also ran into a coupla marketers - one specializes in making patches and gettin' swag and merch together, and the other is from a particular group (http://www.toasted-cheese.com/ ) who enjoys literature of all types.
Sure, Saturday was a weird melange of me, yelling at people and selling, but I do remember a particular person from the NW Vendor Groups showing up (and I immediately shined on since I was dealing with customers - I'm still sorryyyyy~!), as well as plenty of people saying they'd download the free offering.
I also lost a sale to Sean Aston Scott.
OKAY, so this dude comes over to my table, reads my stuff and talks to me about the world of The Generalist, what it's about, that kinda thing. Everything's in place, everything is perfect...then he reveals he just busted 40 bucks on Sean Aston Scott's autograph.
So I loudly roar his name like he's Khan and I'm Kirk, and come to find out that he heard me. So I loudly, for the rest of the night, point out that I might have to hurl his midget ass to the wall. Like I seriously start talking shit loudly about how he jacked a sale from me, and how I'll maul him if he comes over to see what's up.
I also talk a staff member into delivering my card to Hwill Hweaton, the third time I've done this nonetheless, this time with the story that the reason why I don't do this myself is 'cuz he and I are feuding.
That nigga doesn't even remember the other two times I gave him a card, or had a card sent to him.
So after a fun evening hanging out with Cutie Byte's grandparents and telling black jokes, Sunday eventually comes and, with it, the conclusion of my adventure.
It's here that my heart freakin' breaks.
First off, there's the cosplayer in the Imperial Commander uniform who shows up, hears my spiel and points out that his little brother bought my complete set the day before. That's cool, and I'm pretty glad and all-grins until he tells me that the dude's been readin' it non-stop and won't let anyone else at it until he's done, keeping it close by and pretty much readin' them (Book 2 if I remember correctly) at that very moment.
Holy. Fucking. Shit. Hnnnnnng.
Then later on, I make a full-set sale to one of the staff, whose son is getting out of the Marines that day. With that in mind I throw in some extra stuff, some sappy messages of respect to our soldiers in the books, and date two of them. I also throw in an old stock rare copy of Taboo 2 to her since she was doing me such a solid.
Here's where things get interesting. So she takes off with her gains, and all is well..'cept I remember I only dated two of the books. I had wanted to date all four so he'd KNOW he got 'em signed and bought the very day he got out, y'know? So I go bother other staff people and describe her until one in particular says her name.
They make the call to her (she was outside on the other side of the convention center or some such), and apparently the whole having a son for a Marine is what did it. That and the staff person helping me was her daughter.
She bought my last old stock copy of Taboo 0 for herself. :3
Quite a few people showed up on Sunday after having downloaded and checked out the free offering overnight, including one dude who straight-up bought the four set. How can I be happier, y'know?
Well, towards the end I gift my neighbor with a copy, and I bring over two of my books (new stock Taboo 2 and 3) over to Dutch Bros Coffee...who are currently all checking out the new Bud K-style katanas they traded for.
Katanas. And I'm about to bring 'em some books.
Now, I get to there and holyfuckingshit the employees are happy as fuck. When I get to their boss (I think the owner), he literally puts the katana down, grabs the book and tells me how glad he is I'm bringin' him the newest copies.
Like, literally, his eyes light up and he goes, "Wait, are these your newest books?!"
They had already told me they remembered me 'cuz of the six books I gave 'em last year to read on the road, and apparently they really REALLY were looking forward to seein' me again.
I don't mind cryin', and don't view it as being unmanly, but goddamn - that was it.
I damn near burst into tears in front of one of the biggest-armed dudes I've ever been in the presence of and his acrobatic cohorts. Just fuck, the Dutch Bros Coffee is a festival of badassery, and here I'm two days with meh, if at all, sleep, and yeah - just still beside myself with utter and absolute joy at having accomplished my goal.
So. I sold roughly sixty books, most at "cosplay prices" and some at "convention prices." I gave away maybe six books altogether (some to Cutie Bytes, some to my neighbor, the Dutch Bros copies), and I'm left with four new stock copies to gift to a friend for a particular thing he's doing and...well, hell.
All I have left from headin' up there is a single box of the free download cards and a single old stock copy of Taboo 0.
Getting back home is hell (fucking Bolt Bus didn't have good fans, and the electrical outlets aren't working) but I do figure out that my new neighbor towards the second half owns a particular business out here in the Fairhaven segment of Bellingham.
I also skipped over quite a few things (a cup of coffee with one of the marketers since I needed to break off for a few after a bad-ish Sunday start. I work too goddamn hard to give away the free cards sometime), but that's pretty much the majority of my RCCC adventure.
I'd like to thank my street team, my fans, my Soldiers and Knights (above all!), and every contributor to the Internuggetathon. Most of the money's already eaten up in buying more stock for the next convention and stocking up the final four book stores here in Bellingham, and there's still Orycon to look forward to...if I can get in.
This year has been insane, utterly insane. Two fundraisers and multiple conventions, but I've done better with each one, to the point where I'm FINALLY able to sell enough stock and walk away with something akin to fifty bucks worth of profit.
Ultimately though, I'm growing as a brand, a C- celebrity of sorts now, and that's fuckin' awesome.
Now I've got a shitton of stuff to follow up on. I've got prizes to give out to contributors of the Internuggetathon 2.0, not to mention the winners of the games thereof. I gotta figure out how to get in Orycon, and I got reviews, Anime Riot, Da Hooliganz, Bit Trauma, Mesotec, Author of the Things, my website, Duder's Army, just EVERYTHING the fuck to do.
And there's also Taboo 4, Killer 13, and the Crimson Quartet.
~Thomas Duder, Let's Get Crackin'