Monday, June 15, 2015

Huzzah to the Renaissance!

Jousting in nasty weather. Yuck!
This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to go to my very first Renaissance Faire. I've always wanted to go, but the timing was never right. Just last week, out of nowhere, a publisher who had connections with the operations of the Renaissance Faire that comes here every summer reached out to me and asked if I wanted to fill an open spot at their tent.

Without thinking, I just blurted, "Sure."

This was supposed to be the Saturday I was going to kick back and take it easy. I already regretted agreeing to go to this show. My audience won't be here. This isn't science fiction/fantasy! I don't write books about knights in armor or princesses and fairies.

When I got there, I was surprised that I was entering a forest once I walked over a bridge. I guess I expected a big open field, and indeed, there was one...but it was for the jousting.

I was walking into freaking Sherwood Forest. And all the vendors had these renaissance-ish wooden buildings and elaborate tents. I was totally floored. And I was not prepared, nor dressed for the occasion.

All the vendors were dressed in proper costume. Me? I was in a black t-shirt and khaki shorts. And I
She put ice cubes in her bosom as she spoke to me.
was sweating in the humid, nasty air despite the tall trees surrounding me. The other authors were great, and we worked together to figure out how to set up our table under a huge tent...a tent that had been invaded by about a billion long-legged daddy spiders.

After a couple of hours, I got comfortable with all the crazy sights and sounds all around, and I began working my magic. We were next to a stage, so crowds often walked right by me after a show. There was a pirate band act that was hilarious. Two very lovely ladies who did a comedy act that involved swordplay. And a guy that was a dead ringer for Captain Jack Sparrow (I've seen him at local cons before, and he's a bit of a local celebrity). He even had the voice down.

Even when the heavy rains came down and we scrambled to pile boxes of our books on top of a spare table, I still had a great time. In fact, I sold several of my books to people taking cover under the tent and waiting for the rain to die down.

At the end of the day, after packing up all my stuff and wringing out all the sweat from my shirt, I couldn't help but be surprised at how well I did at a Renaissance show. For one day, I did about as well as I do at a normal convention. I will always believe that the sci-fi/fantasy conventions are my sweet spot, but still...I have to admit that I need to keep my mind open to other avenues to promote my work.

You just never know.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You have a new venue to hit now! Glad you did so well. Sucks about the humidity, but it is summer.

Cindy said...

I have never even been to a renaissance festival. I can see how your books fit in. I mean the festival is a fantasy of sorts. I really have to go to one this year. We had a lot of rain this weekend too here in Michigan. I feel like we have entered a swamp age while so many other places need water.

Pat Dilloway said...

I went to one once and that was enough for me.

Pat Hatt said...

heat and rain and billions of spiders sucj, but selling books and ice cubes going there work lol

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

That sounds like so much fun. I'm going to a Renaissance fair later in the summer. Good point about different venues.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It turned out better than you thought. I've been to one faire, but it wasn't very good.

Chrys Fey said...

I have always wanted to go to a Renaissance Fair and to dress up like a fortune teller or other such mysterious, pretty lady. :)

By the way, I nominated you for a blog award! I don't know if you accept them or not, but the details are on my blog if you do. :D

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love going to Ren Faires! They're so much fun! I think it'd be really cool to sell books at one, but I write more horror-like stuff so I'm not sure it'd fit properly haha

Sarah Foster said...

That's awesome! Glad you were able to sell some books. There's a local renaissance fair that I used to go to all the time when I was little but I haven't been back in years.

Arlee Bird said...

That sounds like a cool way to visit one of those events. If I went I'd prefer to be working there rather than just attending.

When I worked my last job at a costume wholesaler we used to sell a lot of product for the Faires as some of our customers were vendors at those events. Sounds like an interesting way to market books of the genre.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I've never been to one of these but have always wanted to go.

Patricia Lynne said...

I went to a faire when I was in college. Just as a visitor and it was really awesome. I'd like to go to another one.

Kimberly said...

I'm the same, never went to one but always wanted to go. I just missed the one near here - next year. :)

So glad it turned our well for your book sales!

Christine Rains said...

That is awesome! I went to my first Ren Faire last year, and the weather was freezing, but we had so much fun.

Robin said...

You just never know. That's the truth. I love it when life surprises you in a good way:) Congrats on being a success in an unfamiliar venue!

Crystal Collier said...

What a fun venue! You just never know what a yes will get you.

Loni Townsend said...

Wow, that looks like loads of fun! I'm glad you got the opportunity, and I'm glad you did well!

Mark Noce said...

Sounds like fun! I went to one several years back, and had a good time. Although there were definitely some creepy characters lurking about.

Jeffrey Scott said...

I love renaissance fairs. We have one in Bristol every year and I go a few times, at least. The jousts are lots of fun and the costumes are always very clever. Love the photos you supplied today. I always make sure to post a collection of photos to my blog every year. As for the costumes, some people get carried away. I saw two people once, dressed in Star Trek uniforms. And every year, I see at least one person dressing up as The Doctor from Doctor Who. Well, I guess it makes sense, he can travel in time.

Cheers for a great article.
Stopping by after suggested by Chrys Fey.

Nick Wilford said...

Sounds fun! You're right, we never know what can happen if we try something new.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Huzzah! I guess the moral is never underestimate the power your books can have crossing over to other audiences. That's wonderful Jay and worth the shirt to learn.

dolorah said...

Good to try a new adventure sometimes. Next time maybe you'll be in proper attire, lol.

Random Musings said...

It's always worth trying new venues. Most readers like more than one genre of book and if your genre is under represented at the venue, you will always do well
Popping by on the A to Z Road Trip

Anna Soliveres said...

I personally, love the Renaissance period and have always wanted to go to a RF. The last time I went to Disneyland, I made a point to have dinner at the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Our rider was the Green Knight, and to our delight was Filipino. He ended up winning! So much fun. :)

Beth Ellyn Summer said...

never been to one of these but it looks like a lot of fun!

Intangible Hearts said...

Excellent post--not sure what the guy above me is selling but congrats to you for selling all your books. Right now I'm focusing on some seniors at the Senior Center. Bwahaha.(Penniless Hearts is the book of the month and I'm the featured speaker in July.)

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