This weekend I peddled my wares at EightSquared Con, this year’s British Science Fiction Association Convention, held in Bradford. I had been a member of the BFSA since writing my cyberpunk novel, The Desperate Ones. I hadn’t thought of selling there until a friend an fellow writer, David Gullen, suggested I give it a try. Last year the con was in London, and was much larger than the recent Bradford one. My booth was a success last year, but despite the con being smaller this year, it was an even bigger success for me, not just in terms of sales but in many other aspects.
This was the first year I was able to appreciate Eastercon as a real community event. Last year almost everyone who stopped by the booth was friendly and receptive, but this year people came back to chat and were very welcoming. I never had to explain that I was the artist behind the handmade objects– everyone seemed to get that, and there was a real respect for the labor involved. Many said, “Oh I hoped you’d be here again!” and they brought their friends to the table. Others came by to show me the jewellery they were wearing that I’d made– some said they wore their pieces almost every day. It is rewarding to see thing things one makes having a life of their own. Maybe that is when they are really finished? When a pair of earrings or a necklace finds its true owner and suits them beyond what I could have imagined when the item was just a pretty object, before it was theirs.
Another highlight of the con– I actually got to go to a panel. (Sometimes it was slow enough that I could have gone to more, but as soon as I decided to go it would pick up at the booth.) Perhaps I will blog a bit about it on The Desperate Ones.
So much of the process of selling online is done alone. I imagine things, make them real and then document them in hopes someone will like them enough to buy them. Translating the process to go “live” has been a challenge. Little by little I have tried to furnish the stall, make it more like a wonder cabinet, somewhere people can linger and explore. Perhaps the most satisfying thing from this weekend was just being a part of the whole thing, this community of gentle readers with a common sense of humor and wonder.