Monday, March 20, 2017

Kansas City Pet Expo

After years of people encouraging me to get a booth at a pet expo, we finally did one last weekend. I can see why it was suggested so often, but the results were very mixed for Serenity Mountain Publishing as a business.

Kimba and Hiro are ready to make new friends!!

We made a deal with the Amazing Pet Expo folks for a corner booth and got one right near the main stage and entrance. Great location! Nothing to complain about there.

We caught folks coming and going from two angles, and the booth got lots of attention. We were also the only books there, which always helps. My favorite question of the weekend was "Are these books to read to your dogs?" Um...If you want to. Lots of books went home in the hands of new readers. That is always a win for us.

A photo that needs the title "This is why I write." Love those ears!
We also had a perfect view of the main stage and all the excitement that went on there. The costume contest on Sunday was a very big deal. We felt sad for some lovely young ladies we met who had gone all out for their turtles and hermit crabs. They were simply outdone by some adults who took this event seriously.

Pug Princess Leia

A service pony, giving a ride to a dachshund. 

Spaghetti Collie

They were fabulous, though none of these won. I didn't get a photo of the tiny little dog in a Western outfit who took 1st place. We couldn't even see her!

There were also other wonderful groups there.

This group brought beautiful birds with them both days. All their animals are rescues who cannot be returned to the wild.

This lovely owl is missing half of his wing, but the span was still impressive.

Charlie the crow spent a lot of time making barking noises like the dogs all around.

We also met a new blogger friend (and fellow member of the Cat Writers' Association), along with her dog Preston, who is technically the voice behind the blog. She is clearly heavily involved with the expo nationwide.
Looking forward to what Spencer has to say. He's the one in green.
Overall, we had a good time. And sales were decent. We have a general sense of what percentage of the crowd we should be able to capture, and we were right on track for that. If we had paid our normal $50-$100 for the booth space, it would have been well worth it. Even with two nights in a hotel. The problem for events like this is the cost of the booth space. After the deals we made, our booth was still $500. We debated long and hard about doing it at all. I did have to allow for the "I told you so" afterward from my doubting business manager. Last pet event for us.

What we have seen over and over is that pet owners (mostly dog owners) come to events like this for freebies and to show off their dogs. Most are not interested in purchasing anything...from anyone. We have to balance what simple advertising we get from events against the time and money it takes us to participate. The reality of writing books is that the publishing and what comes after are a business. As the writer, I'm happy to have booths everywhere and shout about my books to the world. Back to the reality of the world, my business manager (aka my husband, who is a professional money guy) has to rein me in most of the time.

We still had a fun weekend getting away from the house and meeting new people. Although, in our opinion, the freeway system in Kansas City was created by a drunk with a sense of humor. We got lost and ended up in a place literally called The Bottoms that looked like a place where bad things happen. Thank God for the map app on my phone. We followed that little blue dot more than once. We finally figured it out about the time we had to leave.

So, no more pet events. I promise. Sometimes you just have to try and find out. Lesson learned. But I have no regrets about the new friends we met and the books that went out into the world.

And Scott got to eat corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick's Day (that I didn't have to cook) at Chappell's Sports Bar with football helmets overhead. It's all good.