I spent A rainy Mother's Day weekend at the Multiple Alternate Realities Convention (MARCON). It was held at the Crowne Plaza Columbus North in Worthington, Ohio. It was my second year there. Long-time attendees and vendors noted that the event has dwindled in size, formerly being held in one of the large convention hotels adjacent to the (enormous) Columbus Convention Center. I guesstimated attendance at about 300 people, including vendors.
MARCON is organized by dedicated volunteers who do a good job of keeping things runnings. However, the future of the event is uncertain as the organizers are retiring from service: it's a lot of work to plan and manage an event of that size. I know, because I've done it.
For all its small size, the event featured several tracks of programs ranging from topics discussing the future of MARCON to performances by the Harp Twins to seminars on writing and panel discussions on various aspects of literary genres. (The Volfgang Twins, also musicians, provided security, merchandise design, and accompaniment for the Harp Twins.) Those who enjoy role playing games and fantasy/science fiction themed games had plenty of opportunity to indulge in their passions, too. Fantasy and science fiction-oriented groups, such as the Royal Manticoran Army, were present in force and in costume ... er ... uniform. Cosplay among attendees made for interesting people-watching. We saw some excellent costumes.
Every vendor always hopes to make money. In the Dealers Room, vendors ranged from a handful of indie authors (including me) to jewelry sellers (notably the Amber Fox Jewelery) to on-site toy stores. The vendor to the left of me sold CDs with "space music." Most instrumental, the music served as background sound for those who enjoy that sort of musical ambiance. The vendor to the right sold his books and offered free writing advice. I and my best friend Cindra sold books and paintings. About half of the paintings displayed for sale were hers.
Sales of paintings exceeded book sales. That was disappointing—for me, at least. However, I earned enough in sales proceeds to cover the cost of registration if not to cover hotel accommodations and meal expenses. I won't need to restock much, if at all, for the next event in June. I doubt my latest book, Knight of the Twin Moons, will be available by then. (It's scheduled to come out by mid-July.)
For me, the highlight of the weekend was finally meeting one of my very favorite clients, author Dominic Brogsdale, in person. He's taller than I expected. Dominic only stopped by for a moment, but he demonstrated his kindness and generosity by purchasing a couple of paintings, one for himself and one for his mother. What sweet guy! (Ladies, take note: you could do a lot worse than this young man.)
If MARCON will be continues for another year, I'll register as a vendor. But someone will have to pick up the reins and take charge of the event.
Check out my EVENTS page for upcoming events where I'll be attending as a vendor. Even if you don't buy anything, it's always a pleasure to speak with readers and other writers. And if you're looking for professional editing or ghostwriting, contact me.