So as I said in the intro to this Patreon, the main purpose of creating this page was to allow me to defray the costs of attending conventions each year, and hopefully expand my geographic reach.
Well, as part of doing my taxes each year, I have to figure out how much I spent and how much I made (yeah, that's kinda how you do taxes, right?). So I've been poking around in Excel this week looking at conventions, which ones made money, which ones lost money, etc.
Here are some rough numbers, for anyone who's interested.
I attended 16 conventions last year, but there are only 15 used for these calculations. Why? Because I didn't sell books at Dragon Con, I just went there to network and promote myself. That's a decision I may revise in future years as Falstaff grows and we can staff a convention more fully, but for now, I don't do a table at Dragon. I find more benefit in networking with other writers, publishers and editors.
So for the purposes of this analysis, I attended 15 conventions last year. They ranged from one-day events, mostly comic cons but also bookselling opportunities like an event at the Cabarrus County Library and the Charlotte Geek Gala.
Of these 15, seven were in Charlotte and the surrounding area, so they required no hotel stay.
I was profitable, after cost of books and expenses, at nine of these 15 conventions. I was profitable at all seven "home" cons. One of these, HeroesCon, I was only profitable at because my local game shop, Get Some Game, gave me space in their booth because they're awesome people, and they saw some value in my presence there, both as a very minor draw and in helping sell stuff at the booth.
The two "travel cons" where I made money were both comic cons, SC Comicon and Soda City Comicon. At Soda City, I had hotel points that eliminated the hotel cost, and at SC Comicon, I sold books like a madman.
There were two cons that I had travel expenses with no sales. I booked flights to Arisia and Balticon, but because of snafus with the con and programming, I felt it was better to back out of the con at the last minute than take the chance of attending and losing even more money. Both of those decisions cost me a $250 plane ticket, but saved me a very expensive hotel bill, as both cons were in the middle of a major city. I estimate I would have spent over $1,000 per con more had I gone, with very little sales if any to show for it.
Overall, I sold $5,874.00 at conventions last year. That's a pretty good chunk of change in paperbacks over the course of a year, I feel.
My book costs were estimated (because shipping is inexact when I'm dividing freight charges across a bunch of books) at $3,1070 (rounded).
My estimated expenses were $4,090.00 over all the cons. This includes meals, gas, lodging and table fees. These are round numbers, I didn't dig through all my receipts for this excel sheet. That's coming, and I'm not looking forward to the process. Yes, I know I need to streamline that process. It's on the list. Local cons cost me nothing but a few dollars in gas and whatever I eat. Travel cons cost me that plus hotel, and often table fees.
This boils down to me being around $1,400 in the red across all my cons in 2016. Y'all donated $1,630.00 last year, which means that between book sales and you guys, I managed to attend 15 conventions and meet a bunch of fans without going into the hole!
That's pretty awesome, and the first time I've ever been able to do that. I appreciate the hell out of y'all, and I'm already planning trips to new conventions this year based on your support.
Tomorrow I head to Mysticon in Virginia for the third time, but I have at least four conventions I'm doing this year that I've never done before, and it's thanks to your support.
I'll be at RavenCon for the first time this year, along with Penned Con and Awesome Con. Penned Con is in St. Louis, where I've never been, and Awesome Con is in DC, where I have never done a con. I also did the Statesville Comic Con, and will do more of those local one-day shows.
So thank you all for your support, I hope this shows how helpful it is!