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Stego

Ideas For Denver Worldcon

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On shirts: shirts at Glascon went well, but they went well for several reasons.

Basically, everything went right. The design was really, really attractive. We only had one design (in two styles, admittedly). They were available well ahead of the con, so we could and did do a lot of pre-sales, which helped cover costs. We pimped those pre-sales hard, not just on this board but also anywhere else we could think of. Pre-sales shirts were given out on Thursday night (if they hadn't already been sent out) and people wore them around the con, which helped advertising-wise. The pricing was right. The numbers were, if not right, on the low side so we didn't have leftovers. The positioning of the table was right - you literally had to walk past it to get into the party. The people selling the shirts were fantastic. IIRC, none of the other parties had shirts. And finally, because it was in Glasgow, my impression at least was that there were more people there who were not what you might call 'con regulars', the seen-it-all types whose wallets are a little harder to prise open. ;)

Now, many of these things were true of LA too, and might have been true of other shirt sales enterprises - I don't know. I'm just saying that we made money in Glasgow for a wide range of reasons. There isn't a simple magic formula for why shirts will sell or won't. They're a gamble, but one you can moderate, I think.

Wild Cards shirts might in some ways be a harder sell than ASOIAF ones - but on the other hand, there's an untapped market. It pretty much hasn't been done before AFAIK. Ran's mentioned captaincomics, and there is also Wild Cards Online: there are dozens of regular readers on both sites devoted to WC who have never so much as registered at this board, and who probably won't be at WorldCon. I would be confident of getting significant pre-sales off them. And we would only need to sell maybe 100-150 shirts to make some money, so long as we do the maths and set the break-even low. Shipping could be an issue, but as I recall we charged that to customers at cost in Glasgow.

I'm not yet sure if I will be in Denver, though it's looking unlikely. However, there or not I would be happy to help with pre-sales if we do shirts: taking orders, pimping shirts around the internets, putting up cash for printing, whatever.

I just want a WC shirt. :P

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Keep the ideas coming peeps (although I'll make the obligatory fiscal responsibility statement: we're likely only doing one [two at the very most] official t-shirt designs, if we do them at all). Selling them elsewhere besides the board is definitely important. Also, pimp them here, and in the book forums.

I'd also love additional ideas for fundraising (that doesn't require a huge outlay of cash before we can get started). Raffle is good. Paypal donations are great. What else?

As for any decorations -- I thought we could basically recycle all the fabric we had for WFC, buy a few red lightbulbs ($10) and a few more strings of $1 Christmas lights, and $15 worth of posterboard, and make an ersatz Jokertown in the suite. Basically, of all the things we have to budget for, party decorations are pretty low on the priority list. I'd rather recycle what we already collectively own and keep these incidental costs as low as possible. :)

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What about name tags to hand out indicating something like, "Power: Sticks to Utensils" or "Power: Playing World's Smallest Violin"? Some poor people with legible handwriting would have to write them up beforehand of course, but it could be something to do idly. Coming up with silly powers can be an amusing pastime, as comic book geeks will tell you. ;)

Awesome! :D

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Can we have a fan art wall - in which only MS Paint created images are allowed?

Incidentally, re WC T-Shirts, I do see that there are a tonne of advantages in going with WCs for the theme, but personally it is not something that i would be particularly interested in. I could well be in the minority of BWBers in that i've not read Wild Cards, but I would just want to make sure that we definitely have a good market for them before we go ahead. From what i remember at Glasgow, while we sold alot at the party, a significant numbers of sales were directly to BWBers.

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Zak, I was thinking of putting you to work at the parties, doing custom MS paintings for $5 each.

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Zak, I was thinking of putting you to work at the parties, doing custom MS paintings for $5 each.

Brilliant.

As for t-shirts -- yes, that might be an issue. Or not -- Wild Cards has a fairly dedicated following outside of ASOIAF, and it definitely taps GRRM fans who don't give a shit about epic fantasy (that being a goodly chunk of the WorldCon audience, which is skewed towards SF). Stego and I and whoever else will be involved with t-shirts will do the Hard Reckoning, and will definitely take this into account as well. :)

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Zak, I was thinking of putting you to work at the parties, doing custom MS paintings for $5 each.

:lol: I'll have 50!

Regarding t-shirts. I think we should be happy to walk away from having making them if things don't live up to expectations (I believe we felt obligated to have them some years, even when the process was going awry). Mormont mentioned the expectations (i.e. attractive design, having them well before the con for pre-sales etc). Zak's point about a Wild Card t-shirt having less appeal is a fair point but as Mormont says, while lots of people may have already got an aSoIaF t-shirt (and not want another), few may have a Wild Card t-shirt. And if the design looks good, people unfamiliar with the book may still buy them.

Maybe I shouldn't ask...but I presume there are no BwB t-shirts still around somewhere? :P

A question - Is giving out badges and whatnot likely to increase our chances of selling stuff?

While we give out ribbons and stickers, we could always sell badges. :)

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I just wanted to chime in that I would LOVE a Wild Cards theme. I think it might encourage some of the pure-ASOIAF fans to read them :)

I had the fundraiser idea of Cat vs. Pod, but I think that was a joke. Maybe. Also, chocopudding kiddie pool wrestling might have been a joke. Maybe.

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I had the fundraiser idea of Cat vs. Pod, but I think that was a joke.

I don't get it. You want me to beat up a cat? :wideeyed:

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I'm rethinking some ideas based on what other people have said. If you're looking for something to use as a fundraiser it needs to appeal to the fans as well as to people who don't know a lot about the Wild Cards. Or, go with two designs, one for the fans, one for the non. While some people would really appreciate a graffiti-styled design that simply says "The Rox Lives!", no one else would really get it. I'll have to give this some more thought.

Ideas for Kat's buttons are a bit easier. They're relatively cheap and can be odd enough for the fans to wear them and probably get questions about them, leading to getting new people interested. The problem there is we start running into licensing issues if we get too specific. Mottos, sayings and such are probably OK (the already suggested "Hartmann in 2008", or again, "The Rox Lives"). How about stylized smiley faces representing some of the characters? One with eyes closed for The SLeeper; one with a slightly downcast mouth with a sunburst color scheme fading from yellow to white for Golden Boy; Grey with rivets around the edge for The Turtle; feathers around the edge and a hint of cleavage at the bottom for Peregrine; pixelated version for Modular Man and so on.

If you want to do pre-sales, you can probably get some of the more die-hard fans to pick up some more obscure referencing goods. I'd love to see a very spiffy etched-glass coffee-cup for "Latham & Strauss, Attorneys-at-Law, Specializing in Identity Theft"; or a very plain white with black printing (slightly off-center) cup with "Ackroyd & Creighton, Private Investigators". Those can usually be ordered in small enough runs to make a few bucks from those who want them and still have very few left over. Given that 2008 is an election year in the US, some typical campaign shirts with "Hartmann `08" might go over well.

For straight fundraising, the best ideas might be what Ran suggested way back at the beginning of the thread. Try contacting someone at Tor and see if they're willing to donate promotional materials that can be auctioned or raffled off (the parties will be a whole lot of free advertising for them). Check with the authors and artists and see if they have anything they'd be willing to throw into the hat. Check and see if there's anyone here who'd be willing to throw in some goods, I'm pretty sure I've got a set of the Wild Cards graphic novels somewhere around here I'd be willing to donate to the cause.

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Zak makes rational and good points about the ASoIaF only side of George's readers. We will consider this when finalizing anything.

Also, I am more inclined to push the latest iteration of Wildcards and perhaps the first book or two rather than something from the books the least amount of people have read.

I need to send out some emails to TOR. Sigh.

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From what i remember at Glasgow, while we sold alot at the party, a significant numbers of sales were directly to BWBers.

And two dozen or so that were sold in Kansas City a few months before.

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I don't get it. You want me to beat up a cat? :wideeyed:

I want you to try to. Pod and the Pussy enter a large burlap sack. Only the winner emerges.

(Bets are made and cuts are skimmed off the top for fundraising.)

Ok, in all seriousness, I'm just excited. Sorry for the hijack :P

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Zak makes rational and good points about the ASoIaF only side of George's readers. We will consider this when finalizing anything.

Cheers Stego. I'm honestly not trying to be negative here. I can see that there are good reasons for it -

- George would like it

- It is new and different

- It introduces asoiaf readers to george's other literature

- It would bring in George's other fans into the Bwb

I guess that as someone who doesn't know wild cards, I'm seeing all the references here and feel a bit like an outsider since i haven't heard any of these names and don't get the jokes. At BWB events there's always been for me a kind of camaraderie since every person there you know has read the books and knows the characters and it's always kind of amazing to feel that these books have brought such a disparate group of very different people together. And they all have this one thing binding them together. I suppose with Wild Cards I wouldn't feel this - I'd worry that a division would kind of be set down between those who have read Wild Cards and those who haven't. A division that hasn't really been that stark before.

However, as I said at the start, there are very good reasons for doing WCs, and I can totally see the sense in it aswell. I'd also probably at least read the 1st one before going anyway. :) And anyway it is a party theme, it's not like some fundamental shift in the Earth's alignment. :P And I know you guys will have considered all this anyway. Whatever we do, it's going to be a fucking awesome craic!!!

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I haven't read Wild Cards either. But Lugalirra gave me the thirty second rundown on who Jetboy is at WFC and I felt completely at ease with the Jetboy Lives subtheme at our party in Saratoga.

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Also, I am more inclined to push the latest iteration of Wildcards and perhaps the first book or two rather than something from the books the least amount of people have read.

Agreed with this. For those not at Saratoga: George mentioned at WFC that the new Wildcards was written with the idea of being a separate entry point into the Wildcards universe. Meaning, you won't have to have read the other books to "get" the new series. And book 1 is still relatively easy to come by (unlike the middle books, which are now out of print).

Also, for those who are really lazy, you can read the Wikipedia entries. They cover the main points. Or, here:

SPOILER: very bare-bones description of the Wildcards universe, spoilered only for the most avid of spoiler-avoiders

An alien virus is released over Manhattan. Said virus kills 90% of those infected, called "drawing the Black Queen." 9% inherit disfiguring mutations. These are the Jokers. Jokers are feared and hated by the uninfected populace, and are forced to live in Jokertown (the seedy, crime-ridden Bowery district in Manhattan). 1% gain superpowers. These are the Aces. The creator of the virus, Dr. Tachyon (from the planet Takis), is guilt-ridden by what has been done to humanity, and tries to make things right. (Deuces are people who gain useless or stupid superpowers; for example, the ability to transform oneself into a stapler.) Subsequent books have the virus traveling over the rest of the planet, with new Jokers and Aces cropping up. Hijinks ensue.

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I get that the majority of the BwB has probably not read Wild Cards, but again, the new book is coming out in January. That means we will have about 8 months before the party for people to read the book.

Also, Zak, you can tell me if you'll do this or not, but don't you think a lot of BwB members will read George's new Wild Cards anyways, given that he is so excited about it and it will be easy to acquirre? I can't help but think that if the BwB says that we are going to have a Wild Cards party 10 months from now, some people in the BwB will go out and buy the book just to know what all the fuss is about. It's like a book club, except with 10 months to read the only really necessary book (Inside Straight).

And I really do think there are tons of WC fans out there in the woodwork...besides, I have no doubt that the other WC authors would stop in at our party, probably bringing their fans as well. Who will want to buy shirts. But I do recognize that some BwBers will be thrown off the party idea because it isn't ASOIF, it is known.

And honestly, I think TOR would jump at the chance to support the party. Seriously - the've got a new book out and here we are throwing 2 parties at WorldCon about it? That's pretty sweet. What better advertising could they ask for??

Oh, about Ran's Powers idea. I wonder. What if they got their free sticker or ribbon or whatnot when they entered, but then had the option of paying a dollar to stick their hand in a jar to get a Powers Pin? I'd pay a dollar to get a Power.

Oh, btw, there's a review posted at Captain Comics about Inside Straight. The guy gave it an 11 out of 10.

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I know I will be picking up some of the WC books between now and then. I think it sounds like a fun theme. Some very good ideas being mentioned here! I am not much of an idea person, but I am a great helper! So let me know if I can do anything.

I CAN'T WAIT!

ermm... yeah.. a little excited. :blush:

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