Quick Con After Action Report

Hey, back The Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm if you haven’t already! We’ve hit the mid-point doldrums and need things to pick up ASAP if we’re going to raise the amount we need to do another Cirsova Classics project!

Had a great time at Arkansas Comic Con. Our best con performance to date. We actually made our table back, which is a first for us!

Of course, I blew a lot of the money on souvenirs…

Got a sketch cover from our buddy Tim Lim.

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The guy who does the Street Fighter battle academy doujin series was there; I’d been waiting for over a year to see him again, and I bought the next 10 issues. The interior art… is not great, but it’s serviceable for the story he’s telling, and the story he’s telling is legitimately fun and every page I can’t wait to see what happens next!

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I also found a handful of Doctor Spektor and Jungle Twins books, including the issue with them choking out and punching a gorilla!

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We even got to meet Misha Burnett in person for the first time!

Okay, so what’s on tab?

Cirsova’s Things To Do List is nuts right now:

  • First off, finish making payment to the accepted offers. I’m doing this tonight, possibly tomorrow as well. Checks will be going in the mail for people who requested checks. Please cash them as soon as possible, since terms are enforced on acceptance of payment. There are a few offers in limbo still, and at least one withdrawn story due to an eligibility issue–so, things are not set in stone, and I may “call back” a story or two that we sent rejections for when we know exactly how much space we will have.
  • The Paths of Cormanor arrived right on the eve of con setup. I haven’t had a chance to get to those yet. That’s the first thing I need to work on as soon as payments for 2022 are out.
  • Pulp Trading Cards are on the table as a stretch goal item for Strange Recollections of Martha Klemm. I need to get those laid out ASAP. Also, to fulfill one of the stretch goals for The Cosmic Courtship, Michael Tierney has his scans hosted at his website.
  • I’m sure there’s more I need to do and it is on my list, but I don’t know that it will get done this week. I DO want to get my United Caveman Federation tell-all posts done at some point, by OMG, I’m soooo busy! Help, I’m drowning!

Saline County Comic Expo + Other News

…was a lot of fun for us! It was actually one of our best con showings yet. We managed to sell a handful of books and magazines and I spent less on swag than I made in sales.

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Selling NFTs at a con

Our best sellers? Schuyler Hernstrom books that we didn’t actually publish.

Considering that most people go blank-faced when they realize that the books you’re selling are not comics at a comic con, we did fantastic.

I’m probably going to dump all of my old back-stock at Central AR Goodwill just to get it off of my shelves. Back issues have done especially poorly; most folks pick up the newest ones [which is hard because our newest issue has two part twos of ongoing series]. So, for the Little Rock Comic Con in September, we’ll be starting fresh with just the most recent stuff + the Tarzan book.

Open Submissions

Okay, this is a reminder, open submissions begin August 1st and will end August 7th. Get writing! If you want to get an idea of what we’re looking for, we did a post here, and, of course, please read the Submission Guidelines!

Interior Advertisements for Fall and Winter

We’re accepting advertisements for the interiors of the Fall and Winter issues! Fall will include the conclusions of both Wild Stars and Badaxe; Winter will feature a cover story by Kamen America writer Mark Pellegrini. Details about our ad specs can be found here.

Michael on The LCS Guys

As some of you may know, Michael is a regular on Critical Blast’s show, The LCS guys. In this episode, he talks some not only about his Wild Stars work with Cirsova and his plans for the future of the series but also his new Robert E. Howard project that’s on the horizon.

If you want to catch up on all of Michael’s Wild Stars adventures, the best way to do so is through The Wild Stars 35th Anniversary Omnibus, which will get you the original Book of Circles graphic novel, the Force Majeure comic/novel hybrid, plus Time Warmageddon and Wild Star Rising. We’re serializing Wild Stars V: The Artomique Paradigm this year [Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 is forthcoming]

The Paths of Cormanor

Jim Breyfogle’s The Paths of Cormanor will be launching soon on Kickstarter!

The Cosmic Courtship

We’ve finally been able to put in the full order for The Cosmic Courtship, so that will be arriving soon for us to begin fulfilling! Yay!

More news and details on all of this soon…

Early Review of Some New Cirsova Stories, NJACC Postponed, and Looking for Summer Advertisers

2-3 Spring Cover 0.03 Front Cover Only JPGReviews – One early, and though partial, positive review is in for the new Cirsova from Jesse Abraham Lucas at PulpRev.com. Jesse offers pretty thorough, and glowing, reviews of both Alpdruck! by Michael Reyes and Pour Down Like Silver by Cynthia Ward.

If you have a review of the new issue, let us know!

Be sure to check out the new issue from one of these retailers!

Amazon [eBook and Print]

Barnes & Noble [Print Only]

Lulu [Hardcover Only]

AerBooks [Print Only]

NJACC – With the current Corona Virus scare, large events are shutting down right and left. Now that the first cases are showing up in Arkansas, my state is ready to get in on the panic, with toilet paper and hand sanitizer disappearing from shelves and price gouging laws going into effect.

So, Not Just Another Comic Con has been postponed to August 29 & 30. Probably a good thing, since if any of the headliners canceled, I’d be one of the most famous people there, and I can’t rely on that dismal level of foot traffic at my table.

That means that the next con we’ll be at will be Saline County Comic Expo, which is cool cuz we’ll be there with Tim Lim, who’s done some Wild Stars art for us, and Mark Pellegrini, whose story Just Don’t Open the Door is in our Summer Special.

Summer Special 2 2020 cover 0.03 Front Only

Looking For Summer Advertisers – We’re looking for advertisers for our Summer Special. This one really snuck up on us, in part because I’ve been so sick the last few weeks, but we’re trying to line up advertisers for the May 23rd Summer issue. This one is gonna be a biggie!

Sky Hernstrom is back, plus both Paul Lucas and J. Manfred Weichsel. Not to mention Donald Uitvlugt has an all new Eldritch Earth story. Plus several excellent writers who are new to the pages of Cirsova Magazine!

Mongoose and Meerkat – Lastly, this is just a reminder, be sure to hit “Notify me on Launch” for the Mongoose and Meerkat Kickstarter!  We want to be able to hit our goal on the first day or so of the Kickstarter. So, uh… be ready with your credit card and be sure you have your parent’s permission!

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Back From SpaCon

It was a long and busy weekend for Cirsova Publishing. Not a particularly successful one, but a long and busy one, nonetheless, where some important lessons were learned.

The folks running SpaCon did a pretty great job, all things considered, what with it being their first year and all, and I don’t want anything I say to be construed as a slight against them, but…

I don’t think we’ll be doing any more anime conventions, at least not until we get the Leigh Brackett Light Novels finished. Fun as they are, small anime conventions are more a place to see and be seen, strutting your cosplay stuff or seeing what other folks have to offer. Most people aren’t there to buy merch, much less books. As a consequence, the lady next to us doing Henna tattoos was killing it both days, while the other small crafts vendors didn’t get much traffic.  Even the bigger toy and comic sellers seemed to be doing fairly light business compared to River City (fewer people seen with swag-bags).

There were a few things that raised an eyebrow, however. We were the only fiction publisher. No one was really selling books, though the local library had a small shelf of cheap SF books along the lines of what you’d expect to see at a normie’s flea market booth (Star Trek books and a few well known thriller authors). While there were a couple people selling comics, no one was selling manga or DVDs of anime.

We were much more successful at River City Comic Expo, and while the cheaper table price and lack of two hour round trip commute didn’t hurt, the biggest factor was that it was more of a vendor driven event. People were there to buy things, and a few of them even bought stuff from us. The other pulp publisher in AR wasn’t at SpaCon, which was too bad, because we could’ve benefited from the synergy or, if nothing else, I could’ve maybe picked up the new volume of Bombay Sapphire.

The Tortured Earth folks were there, and I talked to one of them for a bit; I wish I’d had a chance to actually run the game with them at one of their demos to test out their claim that it was compatible with B/X (or see if it was in the same ballpark). One thing that’s a drag about having a table is that the most you can really do to engage at the con is check out the booths doing a quick circuit; you don’t have the opportunity to check out any of the panels or do any of the activities.

It wasn’t all bad. Our booth was on the end with a direct view of the main stage, so we had a bit of entertainment. I ended up buying a Master Grade 1/100 scale GM and a run of Batman and the Outsiders, including several issues beyond the end of collected volume I’d read. My one strike-out over the weekend was getting a Katana action figure. Out of all the McDonalds I hit between home and the con, none of them had a Katana, so I ended up having to buy her on eBay–I went ahead and bought two; I’m going to leave one as-is and the other I’m going to try to paint using her original costume colors.

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Also, the flea market that had closed down re-opened a few miles down the road in a new location, and the guy I’ve started buying pulps from since I cleaned the other place out has moved with them. I’ve added this one to the pile.

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Of the people who stopped by our booth, most were disappointed that the Simpsons comic my girlfriend was reading wasn’t for sale or that I hadn’t drawn/written/published it, had been bummed to find out that we weren’t a comic book, or lamented they didn’t have money but promised to check us out online. Hopefully some folks reading this now are in that last category; we enjoyed talking SFF with you guys!

As much as it pains me to say it, we’re going to have to hold off on doing cons for a bit unless we find some really good deals. We’ve got big plans and con tables are a gamble that haven’t really paid off.  I can totally see now how folks have squandered big chunks of their kickstarter money getting booths at cons thinking it will make them more money and in the end contributes to the tanking of their project and failure to deliver on the promised goods. Well, we aren’t in that shape and we’re not going to fail at delivering anything, but we’re no longer going to be taking risks with low reward potential.  If there are cons that are specifically sci-fi or fantasy, we might look into it, because people at those might be more ready to pick up new stuff to check out, but for now, you probably won’t see us at any more anime cons.

Monday Morning and I am Exhausted: River City Comic Expo Decompression Post

My first con was okay, I guess. I sold 4 things the first day. The second day was a bit better, but mostly because I was giving stuff away for free and had a tip jar out.  I got rid of several of the records and CDs that have been cluttering my spare bedroom for years, but I’ve still got hundreds left. Next time, I’ll bring fewer boxes. If I pretend like the tips I got were sales, and I don’t count the CDs/LPs which I really just kind of want to throw away, I ended up moving the magazine at a not-unreasonable per issue discount.

One of the surprising things was at least a few of the people who grabbed CDs/LPs actually knew who the STDs were; “They’re making a documentary, you know.” “Yeah, I’m probably in it.”

There was a panel in which “gamergate” was mentioned in the description which I skipped (busy at a booth, don’t ya know), but would be moderately interested in seeing if there was any video of it.

The only comment anyone made on my Chuck Tingle Legends of Science Fiction was a strange elderly man stopped me to point out that the list was missing Bradbury and Heinlein.

It was fun people watching, especially with all of the cosplayers.  Best cosplayer, hands down, was this guy who was wearing a big flip-top trashcan with pictures of anime girls taped to it and a banner on the front that said “Your Waifu”.

I didn’t meet (I kinda hate fanboying), but I did see Neal Adams and Nichelle Nichols.  At 83, Nichelle still looked great and seemed to be having a good time. I did get to give Sara Frazetta a copy of issue 2 with Ku’s cover, so that was neat.

The real highlight of the convention was finding out that there’s a pretty prolific pulp publishing company based out of the small town I went to college in.  I need to get to know those guys better, for sure.  I talked to Tyree Campbell, one of the writers on their imprint who was from De Moines, during setup the day before the con started.  I picked up one of his books to read through at my table, and liked it so much that when I’d finished it by 2 on Saturday I picked up the second one.  I hope the gin company doesn’t try to clamp down on him, because I’m really digging “Bombay Sapphire”.

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To anyone considering doing a booth at a con, my advice is get a con-buddy.  My girlfriend thinks she didn’t help out any, but being able to stretch your legs and use the bathroom without having to take your cashbox and register tablet with you is priceless.

The bad news is, I was an unlucky 3rd car in a pretty bad accident just before loading into the con on Friday.  The good news is, all I need is a new front bumper and a bad scuff polished out of my hood.  It just sucks that I’ll have to do the whole run-around on actually getting everything taken care of and all the paperwork dealt with.  At least this time I won’t be without a car for any length of time, but cash on hand may be a bit stretched until the claim is settled.  Also, kitty cat had already been dropped off at home before we were hit; she got a shot and the butt thermometer and was pretty miffed, but after her course of painkillers she’s back to her crazy, bouncy, tear up the curtains self.

Thanks to those who have pledged to the Kickstarter over the weekend and those who’ve had good things to say about the first issue.  Also, Frisky Pagan’s review of Thune’s Vision was a nice pick-me-up during the many long dull spells at the con.  We’re getting pretty close to our initial goal for issue 2.  I’d like to get up to some of the stretch goals for illustrations – folks who thumbed through the issues seemed rather disappointed there weren’t illos, and one kid and an adult (at different times) were sad it wasn’t a coloring book, but illustrations are high cost content.  If we get enough people who are willing to buy and read for the stories, I will better be able to accommodate people who would buy and read for the pictures.