Capital Pride 2011

Yesterday I was in D.C. for Capital Pride. It was my first time attending, and I had a vendor table selling books published by JMS Books LLC. I’m just basically a one-man show, and none of my authors live in the area, so my mother agreed to help man the booth (that’s her in the pic; click for larger image).

The whole event was, in one word, a success.

Before the day arrived, much of the talk between my mother, sister, and I revolved around the weather … or rather, what it might be like on Sunday. Talking about what the weather will be on any future date has always seemed a little pointless to me, because it’s going to do whatever it wants regardless of what I want it to be like outside, and no number of meteorologists are ever going to be right. I’ve often said I’d like a job where I can be wrong 90% of the time and not fear getting fired. The weather in DC was calling for hot (87º F or higher) with scattered thunderstorms. My sister thought we’d melt in the heat. My mother thought we’d wash away with the rain.

Neither came to pass. It was sunny most of the time ~ clouds moved in around 4:30 PM, and while there was some lightning, the rain was nothing but a light drizzle. It was hot, I won’t lie, but our booths were shaded and there was a nice breeze, and I’d bought cooling bandannas to help keep us from overheating. We had plenty of water on hand and overall it was a very pleasant day.

The main reason for that, though, had nothing to do with the weather. The crowd was immense, never faltering from the moment the event opened at 11 AM to the time we packed up a little before 5:30 PM. Traffic to our booth was steady, no doubt helped by the NARAL table beside ours that tended to stay busy (thanks guys!). I was limited on what I could bring to the event, mostly because parking was limited so I had to take only what my mother and I could carry on the Metro, but all the print catalogs I brought as promo were taken, as were all my business cards, all my promo CDs, and most of my pens.  And all the Starburst I put out to entice people to stop by the booth.

Our first sale of the day came, of course, when I left the booth to find the bathrooms. After that initial sale, we were quite busy ~ while most who stopped just took a catalog with them, many bought a book, and one guy bought four! I spoke with reviewers, librarians, and archivists interested in our titles; there were also a large number of readers who just came up to say thanks for continuing to sell in print when so much of the world is going digital. Many wanted to know if I had a local store (maybe one day, guys!), and many wanted to know how to submit their own stories, poems, and books to JMS Books.

Overall, I was very pleased with the number of books we sold. I only took two copies of each paperback I had on hand but some titles sold out (especially the lesbian and transgender ones). Some people who stopped knew who I was or had read books I’d published, and I met quite a few people I knew online (Alex Morgan and J. Rocci among them, to name a few). If every person who wanted to talk to me about publishing e-mails me, I’ll be reading submissions until the end of the year!

Like I said, Capital Pride was a success. Well worth the money in marketing alone, and I can’t wait to attend next year. I’m definitely bringing more promo with me, though!