I spent yesterday, August 24 as a prisoner in the Trumbull, Connecticut Marriott Hotel! I arrived around 9 a.m. and couldn’t escape until almost 7 p.m., when I made a break for the parking lot and, with another freshly sprung inmate, went to ground miles away at the King and I Thai restaurant in Fairfield, cleverly hidden under platters of spicy larb, nam sod, mooh prig sod, massaman curry, and a couple of bottles of icy cold Singha beer.
When I say “prisoner,” of course I mean “guest” at the 2013 Connecticut ComiCONN, my third year at this great hometown comic book convention run by the indefatigable Mitchell A. Hallock. Mitch has been kind enough these three years to provide me with table space from which to meet and greet fans and friends, peddle a few books, and, this year, spread the word about Crazy 8 Press.
Sharing the table with me this year was Crazy 8 mastermind Michael Jan Friedman, author of Crazy 8’s Fight the Gods, Aztlan: The Last Sun, and Aztlan: The Courts of Heaven (not to mention about a zillion Star Trek novels and comics, every single copy ever printed of which I believe he must have signed yesterday).
Crazy 8 Press was on if not the lips, then the wrists of everyone at Connecticut ComiCONN (we sponsored the show’s admissions wristbands), but Mike made sure that everyone who stopped by our table knew all there was to know about our creator owned publishing endeavor. Whether they stopped by specifically to meet their favorite Star Trek author/comic book writer or were just browsing as they made the rounds of the tables of the guests and dealers, Mike pointed to a Crazy 8 title and made sure they knew who we were and what we were about:
A group of writers with a combined dozens of titles and who knows how many decades of publishing experience between us, working together to publish our books, our way in an environment where the big publishing houses aren’t interested in putting out books that won’t sell hundreds of thousands of copies. Mike pointed out the Crazy 8 titles we were both selling, letting people know that these — as well as the titles by the Crazy 8 authors not present — were books we wrote because they were the stories we wanted and/or had to tell, not because they fit the idea of what some publisher thought might fill a slot in their carefully plotted out sales projections. Anyone who expressed even the slightest interest walked away with Mike’s contagious enthusiasm ringing in their heads and the Crazy 8 website address in hand. And sometimes even a Crazy 8 book in their backpacks.
I was a tad bit more reserved in my approach when the day began, but before very long I’d caught Mike’s enthusiasm and was on my feet giving my variation on his spiel to fans and passersby as well. I think I even managed to infect a couple of writers whose names you would probably recognize with the creator owned small press bug as well. We’ll see if that yields some creative dividends for them and Crazy 8 Press in the not-too-distant future…
But that’s what made me a prisoner in the Trumbull, Connecticut Marriott Hotel. And happy to be locked up for the duration at that…