Last weekend was my first and last Starfest Denver. It was my first because I didn’t learn about it until 2019, but I missed the window to sign up and signed up for 2020 (sad trombone). It was my last because after 45 years, the family that runs it is retiring from cons.
It ran from Friday afternoon through Sunday evening.
I went in with a few goals.
Primarily I wanted to practice my hand-selling. That went well, I handed people books when they stopped by. I still need to dial in my pitch but got better at it. My friend Todd a few booths away has his sales approach down pat, it was impressive to watch. I learned though, that his approach isn’t mine. He was able to hold people at his booth for upwards of 10 minutes, excitedly explaining his series, the characters, etc.
My secondary goal was to eliminate stock. Between Stocking up for events that didn’t happen or I had to miss, my shelf of books in the garage was overflowing. I wanted to clear those shelves of old covers, old back matter, etc.
To accomplish that, I set some really aggressive discounts. If people bought 10+ books, they got them for $5 ea. which was in a few cases at a loss for me, and in most cases a tiny profit. Very much a loss leader approach.
It worked. I moved 6 or so 10+ orders. Folks literally just said, “I’ll take one of everything.” I came home with very few copies of anything and completely sold out of Space Rogues 1.
I was really impressed by the Starfest crowd. Despite my pricing experiment, I outsold every in-person event I’ve been to previously, by orders of magnitude. Even if they didn’t buy a paperback, they took cards and bookmarks to get ebooks.
It’s truly bittersweet how much I enjoyed Starfest since this was it. There were/are rumors the organizers might sell, but who knows if that’ll happen or if it’ll still be the same event.
I’m really glad I went, and wish the organizers, fans, and creators all the best in the future. I’m sure many of us will cross paths elsewhere.