We’ve now vended at our first two cons, and we wanted to take a few minutes to blog about it!
I (press owner Claire Houck/unforth) attended Fandom Fest in Schenectady, NY, and Albacon in Clifton Park, NY, and vended on behalf of the Press. Authors Nova Mason, Shea Sullivan, Catherine E. Green, and Tris Lawrence helped me out with manning the booth, handling transactions, participating in our first DPP panel, and more, so huge THANKS to them. (Also to Prof. Robert Heverly from Albany Law School, for contributing his expertise on copyright law to our Fandom Fest panel). I wrote about our Fandom Fest panel here, and about our events at Albacon here and here.
To be honest, we really had no idea how things would go, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that we far exceeded our expectations. Going into this, I’ll own I was very afraid – would people be interested in our Press? Would we make money? Or would we be that sad, lonely table that everyone walks quickly by? But things couldn’t have gone better – they went so well we’re already looking at more events to attend in the future.
From a fiscal standpoint, we made almost double what I anticipated and completely made up the expense of buying the supplies and equipment necessary for us to vend at these events and going forward. From a panel perspective, our events were nicely attended. From a “growing the business” standpoint, we added many names to our mailing lists and gained social media platforms. And, from a networking standpoint, we had a fantastic time and met a lot of awesome people – and that’s primarily what this post is about!
You already know about us; we’re here to shout-out some other folks we’re now very happy to know!
The amazing Syrren and I bonded instantly over our shared love of the men of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu books and Stardew Valley romance options. I miiiight have ended up with some merch (though the Genshin Impact ones are gifts for a friend).
According to the Fandom Fest organizers, it was 100% a coincidence that we ended up next to Duck and Cover, but we couldn’t have had a cooler or more appropriate neighbor. A con attendee felt it was so on-brand for Duck Prints Press that they actually bought us this one-of-a-kind hand-painted James Bond duckie! We also talked with Duck and Cover about maybe offering some of their custom ducks as campaign add-ons in the future, so be on the lookout…
The owner of The Cogitation Zone, Lisa, is a long-time friend of Tris Lawrence, who commissioned us this custom Duck Prints Press business card holder that’ll be accompanying us to all our future cons! Lisa also had made a large number of adorable creatures, and I miiiight have traded a copy of one of our anthologies for an axolotl. Because. Axolotl.
The Consol Collection, sadly, has no website that I can find, but they had a lot of things such as this adorable Totoro sticker I got for my kids. And when the owner of Eclectic Arts approached me in an absolutely fabulous Hawaiian shirt featuring Pride-flag-colored twenty-sided dice, I instantly agreed to a sticker trade. On the right, jiadoesart had many lovely things, and I picked out some stickers for my Ghibli-loving kids.
Some Other Neat Folks We Met:
Pastel Prince Shop: lots of gorgeous queer art and merch; I’m hoping to get one of their asexual pride bracelets in the future (it got sold before I could grab it, sadly).
Bear and Bird Boutique: a local business that was vending at Fandom Fest, too, they have a lot of amazing bits and baubles, both fandom-related and original. We’ve bought everything from the Hilda graphic novel to a dragon puzzle at their store.
Picnocline: the only reason I didn’t buy things from Picnocline’s shop is that there were so many cute things that I literally couldn’t pick.
It’s Getting Dicey: dice, one of my true weaknesses! They have metal pride-flag dice sets, and lots of queer dice trays. I wish I could get them all…
Two-Penny Nerdlesque: a local burlesque troupe; they were very enthusiastic about And Seek (Not) to Alter Me and our queerifying of Much Ado About Nothing, and delighted told me about their own very queer versions of Shakespeare and other plays – I’m definitely going to have to check them out in the future.
(There are others too, but I didn’t grab everyone’s information, and I think this is plenty for one post. 😀 )
If any of you all are seeing this post, it was an absolute delight to meet you, and please don’t be a stranger!
Going forward, we’re looking forward to participating in more events and making more connections with other creators, especially other queer creators! Just today, we’ve applied to vend at A Big Gay Market, taking place in Washington Park in Albany on October 29th, 2023. We’ve also got a tentative schedule for 2024, and we’ll post more about where you’ll be able to find us as the dates grow closer and we find out if the juried shows have accepted our applications. We’re going to do our best to continue the success we’ve enjoyed at our first two conventions by pursuing vending as a way to meet potential readers and customers, grow relationships with other queer creators, and get the Duck Prints Press names out there for the benefit of all the authors, artists, and others we work with!