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June 23, 2007

MoCCA, Day 1

This entry will be short because I am weary, but I promised updates from the show, and so I shall report.

We rose and drove to the Puck building (named so for the gilded statue of Shakespeare's energetic fairy on the premises). Robbi dropped me off with a big pile of books and a white wooden shelving unit and went to park the car. Immediately after she drove away, the long line of eager vendors started to move, and I was left to tug the precariously-laden handtruck with one hand while doing my best to lug the shelving with the other. In other words, it was great fun.

Here are the way too many books we brought. We are dreamers. And fools.

Eventually Robbi showed up and we rode the freight elevator up to the seventh floor.

"Was the ride up to the seventh floor in the freight elevator an important part of the day?" you might be wondering. "Not especially," I say in reply. "And why, then, did you think it important to show us a photo of this unimportant moment?" you might rejoinder. And to you, I say that the Barnstorming is all about dull moments and the quiet dignity they portend, that this is the motto of the Barnstorming. "I did not know the Barnstorming had a motto," you say, surprised and disappointed by the lameness of the motto. Alas, this motto is born, like so many mottos must be, I fear, of postrationalization. An unimportant photo is posted on a blog and suddenly a team of bureaucrats is hired to justify its existence.

Eventually we got to the seventh floor.

We found the seventh floor largely deserted and wondered if we were, perhaps, in the wrong place. But we found table S44 and proceeded to set up the booth.

Until realizing that we had left the black sheets that cover the table and the rather shabby looking white shelving unit back at David's apartment. And so I descended from the seventh floor to the ground level (note that I have spared you from having to view a photo of this important moment from my day) and walked the mile back to David's apartment to pick up the sheets. And the mile back to the Puck building. And up the elevator again to the seventh floor. When I got there, I found Robbi, uncannily, in the same position in which I had left her.

We set up the booth.

Robbi felt empowered.

We mugged with the booth.

And then the show opened. The main exhibit area for MoCCA is on the ground floor of the Puck Building. The seventh floor, known lyrically as the Skylight Ballroom, is for the unlucky rabble who did not sign up on time, and so we are situated far, far from the main hubub of commerce that is the first floor. In some ways this was pleasant in that it was quiet and relaxing compared to the riot of the ground level, but in other ways it was disappointing in that the crowds were fairly thin throughout the day and were, even at their heights, not what one would call a din or a riot. But still it was satisfying to stand behind the table while people looked at our books.

We did not sell a great number of books for much of the day. People read and smiled, chatted and admired, but only a few shelled out actual bucks. We kept our chins high. I shilled from time to time, trying to create the appearance of an enthusiastic mob.

The strategy was not what you might call a roaring success.

We did make some new friends, trade our books for the books of others, sign up one new subscriber, hand out many other subscription forms and free postcards, collect a healthy handful of names on our mailing list and catch up with old college friend Jason Liang, who happened to be strolling by.

But we did not sell a lot of books. We dug deep into our marketing background and came up with a brilliant strategy that we will try tomorrow: dramatically slashing our prices! I mean, it's pure genius.

Comparing our prices to those of many of the other folks selling books on the seventh floor (bastard stepchild floor, to be sure), we were a bit higher across the board. A big reason for this being the fact that we print in full color (most comics are black and white or else consist of an extremely limited color palate), but when folks are wandering around MoCCA with limited funds in their pocket, it suddenly becomes a matter of competing for limited resources. And so we will gamble profits for exposure tomorrow and see if we can lure a few more fans into the fold.

At 6:00 the thing ended and we went back to David's apartment to collapse and watch TV.

The miracle of the day came later. Robbi found this, a mutant cherry, that she claims "looks like a butt."

Her words, not mine.

Posted by bogenamp at June 23, 2007 10:52 PM