The title of this post is a twist on the old saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But I live in Maine, and we do not have lemon trees this far north. (When that day happens, not even the most ardent climate denier will be able to refute the facts. ) So instead of lemons, I used apples, a fruit that grows in abundance in Maine.
But what I am really referring to is the Pine Tree Con, a show we attended in Bangor this past weekend. It was a two-day event featuring all things comic books, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Clif and I had reserved a vendor’s table. As we had recently had a successful time selling books at The Great Falls Comic Expo, a similar show in Lewiston, we had great hopes for the Pine Tree Con.
Unfortunately, the Pine Tree Con was not only poorly attended, but in addition, those who came, mostly older teenagers and young men, were not at all interested in either Maya and the Book of Everything or Clif’s The Wave of Time. A few vendors did well, but most did not.
Now here comes the cider part. Even though I didn’t sell many books, I still had fun. Simply put, the vendors who come to such events are a terrific bunch of people. I had a wonderful time chatting with many of them. The table directly behind me belonged to a snappy young artist named Bob Raymond. His wife and young daughter joined him for much of the event, and as I was alone a lot of the time, they drew me into their warm, friendly orbit. Such a lovely family, and I was sorry to say goodbye to them when the weekend ended.
Then there was Nicholas Anderson, a talented artist and storyteller who has created a series called Planet Ripple, which features a young woman named Minnow, a protagonist with many disabilities, including autism. On his books’ Amazon Page, in the About the Author section, Nicholas notes that he, too, is on the autism spectrum. So I was very touched when Nicholas came to me, as the event was winding down, to tell me how sorry he was that Maya and the Book of Everything did not receive the same public mention that his Planet Ripple series did. My response? You go, Nicholas! Take the publicity wherever it comes. I am also happy to report that Nicholas sold lots of books at Pine Tree Con. The audience was perfect for his work.
Finally there was Shawn French, a former sports writer who now works on video games, horror movies, and comic books. His Escape from Jesus Island is a tale of cloning gone horribly wrong and is “a twisted retelling of the Book of Revelation.” But not disrespectful, Shawn was quick to add. We had a great discussion about editing and writing, and he even gave me some sound advice: When editing, save what you discard. You might use it some other time.
These are just a few of the artists and writers I met, but I’ll stop with the three I profiled.
Not surprisingly, I did a little Christmas shopping, and the presents I bought are zippy and local, just perfect for several people on my list.
All in all, even though sales were disappointing, a very sweet cider of a weekend.