InConJunction XXXViI

InConJunction is an old-school science fiction convention held each year in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is hosted by the Circle of Janus, the local science fiction fan club, and as such is very fan-focused, without the autograph mill atmosphere that is becoming a real turn-off at a lot of the larger media conventions. This year it was held over the weekend of June 30 to July 2, 2017 at the Marriott Indianapolis East, which would be within walking distance for me if the neighborhood were walkable.

Because we needed to get a good spot for our van to load in and out, we went over to the hotel right after lunch to get parked near the loading dock but not within it. As a result, we had most of the afternoon to sit around in the air conditioning and relax. I pulled out a story and tried to get some work done on it.

To our surprise, they started dealer load-in early, so I had to scramble to put away my notebook and get out to the van to start carrying everything in. However, it was still a slow process, since I was the only one of us physically up to the process of lifting all those boxes of t-shirts and books. It didn't help that we were getting hot and humid weather, which I found enervating. There were more than a few times where I just had to stop and try to pull my brain back together to think of the next step I needed to take.

Once we got everything inside, we had to start assembling our structures so that we could get merchandise out. Even with fewer structures to build, it was still time-consuming enough work that we weren't done before the dealers' room closed for the night. We went over to the con suite to see what was happening there, then headed back home to try to get some rest before the big push to get set up.

On Friday we had to get up and get going in a banging hurry to squeeze every possible minute of setup time out of the morning. However, the rush resulted in us forgetting several items, so one of our team had to make three separate trips back home to retrieve forgotten items.

We did get finished setting up in time to look around the dealers' room. However, this was at least partly a function of having less space to put things out, and thus less time spent in unpacking small fragile figurines and the like for those displays. Also, the smaller dealers' room made it easier to make the complete round of the area.

Once the doors opened to the general membership, we settled in to focus on selling. Obviously we had to dial back our expectations from even the smaller anime conventions we had done in the middle of June, let alone the giant comic cons we sometimes do. Even so, it was frustrating to spend so much of our time standing around in hurry-up-and-wait mode between customers.

After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed over to the cons site to have some munchies. I pulled out a notebook and did a little writing, mostly ideas I'd been thinking about while doing the highly physical labor of loading in and setting up. Then we went to the Capricon party and reminisced about that convention's better days. I really miss going to it, since my very first convention ever was Capricon XV, back in 1995. But after the loss we took in 2016, I simply couldn't justify going back, at least not as long as we're going to be trying to sell merchandise. Maybe if my indie writing career reaches the point that I can go purely as a promotional effort, but that would be a long shot.

When we got home, I ran up to the storage unit to pick up some books and a box of figurines that had been forgotten. Then I wrote some e-mails.

On Saturday we didn't have to get up so painfully early, and we could actually take a little time to eat and to make sure we had all our things before we left. When we got to the con hotel, we dropped our stuff off at our booths in the dealers' room, then headed over to the con suite to grab a second breakfast.

Once we got everything open, we finally got some serious sales, big enough to make a real dent in our book stock. We also had some people ask about other books, so I made notes of things to retrieve from the storage unit.

When the dealers' room closed for the evening, we went over to the con suite to hang out and munch until the parties. I got my notebook out and made some more notes before we headed off to the Honorverse party.

Afterward, I ran up to the storage unit to retrieve more stuff. That is one of the good things about being a local dealer -- you don't have to kick yourself when you find out that someone wants The Thing You Didn't Bring.

On Sunday we headed back to the hotel for the final day of sales. We dropped by the con suite and got some more munchies, then opened our tables for sales. At first traffic was so slow it made me wonder why we were even bothering. Then everything sped up to double-time and we had several major book sales while I was supposed to be packing all the figurines.

Once we did get everything packed, it was time to start hauling out far too much merchandise. Again, I ended up being the only able-bodied person hauling stuff out, and by the time we got it all out and packed into the vehicles, I was so worn out I could hardly even think about cooking. So we decided to just run up to our favorite Chinese buffet and grab supper. We arrived just in time to get seated, and they actually turned out the "open" light while we were finishing up eating. But it was a very satisfying meal, and a lot easier than trying to scare up something at home.

Copyright 2017 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated August 11, 2017.