Most of my time lately has been spent getting ready for (and recovering from) PaizoCon. Without a doubt, I had more fun there than at any other con I’ve attended, and I was working the whole time. Attendees say it was even more fun for them. We played games, hung out with a lot of cool people and talked Pathfinder. While I did go there to have fun as a gamer, that was not my only goal. My publisher instincts had other goals in mind.
Spread The Word about my Company and Other 3rd Party Publishers. Events like PaizoCon and other conventions are really important to reach a new audience. While most of the attendees at PaizoCon are Paizo board regulars, many others are not. Add that to the Paizo message boards regulars that never visited the 3rd party area before and you have a substantial number of the con goers that simpy do not know who you are. I really cannot count the number of attendees that altered course away from our table when they realized we were a company other than Paizo and never talked to us nor found out that we make Pathfinder Compatible products. So every attendee that we did get to talk to is another potential customer for my company and for other 3rd party publishers.
Run Games. I just figured I’d run a few games to have some fun. As it turns out, that was the smartest decision I made before the con. The first game I ran had everyone play Kenders. The game was an absolute blast. It was nothing but fun and a real joy to run. It ended with the bartender running screaming from the place. I was the best possible ending. The second game I ran was a first playtest of an adventure I plan to release next year. I set the game in the Mos Eisley of Paizo’s campaign setting, but it was merely a convient location to test the adventure. I discovered a few things I need to modify, but all the players said the core adventure was alot of fun. So running that game was increadibly helpful. After the games though, all the players came by the table and I got a chance to talk to them more. Every last one of them was great to get to know and was a real pleasure to game with. I will most definitely be running more games next year.
Network. At PaizoCon, I met about a half dozen new authors and artists that I would like to give their first break to. I met roughly that many in the past year. So that was extremely helpful. Plus I met all the Paizo staff and many of the owners of 3rd party publishers. Clark Peterson is no longer some cartoonish Orcus to me anymore. I can see them all as real people. But I learned more about everyone and their personalities in five minutes of talking to them in person than I had in all the time I spent interacting with them on the internet. Additionally I met Ed Greenwood (and I finally have an Ed Greenwood story), Brian Lew and Jenn Page from The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising movie and many others.
Sell, sell, sell. I didn’t come to PaizoCon expecting to make a profit. Heck, buying two plane tickets from New Jersey to Seattle ensured that I was not going to make a profit. But I did sell books so it offset the cost of a con I would have gone to regardless of being able to sell books. So all is good with the world.
While all this is about PaizoCon, it is no less true for any other convention. Now I’m looking to do the same at a few local cons. Any you would like to suggest?
Dale McCoy is President of Jon Brazer Enterprises.The Book of the River Nations: Complete Player’s Reference to Kingdom Building is available at game stores worldwide. Order your copy today from your local game store.