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NYCC 09: The Wyndham vs Greyhound

So it had to happen. Days after posting advice on Webcomics.com informing cartoonists how to ship their books to their hotels during a convention -- and explaining exactly how to do it -- I realized that I had tempted fate.  I was staying at the Wyndham Garden Hotel (Midtown Convention Center) with my friend Scott Kurtz. I had packed enough books for Friday to bring with me on the bus (more on Greyhound in a moment), and I shipped the rest to the hotel in three boxes.

Saturday morning around eight, I called down to have the boxes sent up to the room. By nine, when they still hadn't arrived, Scott and I headed downstairs to pick them up and throw them in a cab. We explained that we needed to pick up the boxes and asked her to call for a cab.  The cab arrived and we started to get concerned. I sent Scott out to tell the driver to start the meter and wait. "When will our boxes be brought out?" we enquired.

"Oh, they're right here," she indicated dismissively.

And there they were.  Both of them.

"Where's the third?" I asked.

"We only received two."

"But I have delivery confirmation on all three having arrived more than a week ago."

But it was no use. She checked some closet, but she was too busy guarding her nose from an odor with her jacket (think Bela Lugosi) to really see anything in there.  With the cab waiting, I had little choice. I took what I had and headed to the convention.  Now, at this point, long-time readers of this comic may be feeling a sense of deja-vu. And for good reason. This very same thing happened to me in Chicago -- and at a Wyndham Hotel, no less!

Arriving at my booth, I ripped into my boxes. All of the books had sold well, but copies of Evil Inc Annual Report Vol. 3 had sold particularly well. And, of course, the missing box had my supply of Volume 3s (and a few Volume 2s).  So, in a replay from last year (when I had underestimated my supply), I once again had my wife, in Philadelphia, rush a box of books to the Greyhound bus station at about 1 o'clock.  And, once again, Greyhound, for under $30, had my books in New York in a couple hours. Arch-henchman Mike Ciccotello, who was helping all weekend at the Evil Inc booth, walked the several blocks to pick them up, and returned shortly with a new supply by about 4 p.m. Saturday.

Somewhere in the bedlam that was Saturday night after the con, I stopped over by the concierge desk once more. There was a different person there, of course, so I tried to reason with him. I explained my situation and asked him to look once more. I had replacements, for those books, but I didn't want to lose them forever.  And, lo-and-behold, guess what was waiting for me Sunday morning. The box that supposedly hadn't arrived over a week ago. Of course, now I had way too many copies of Vol 3.

And to make matters worse, I had sold out of Vol 1 and was dangerously low on Vol 2.

Once more, Greyhound to the rescue. This time, an overnight shipment had the box to New York in time for me to pick them up on my way to the Javits Center Sunday morning.  Now, before I loose my credibility as the guy who wrote the chapter on comic conventions for the "How To Make Webcomics" book, let me explain something about the shortages. When I was planning my shipments, I took my best-selling convention totals and added about 20%.   New York was quite simply a phenomenal convention for me. Don't forget... I didn't have a single new book on the table. Everything I had out was exactly what I had last year (except for the HTMW book).

So, what did we learn? Three things:

  1. When booking hotel travel, spending more doesn't always mean that your needs as a business traveller are going to be met. I've shipped books to much cheaper places and had much better results.
  2. Go Greyhound! Their parcel shipping service is faster than FedEx and way cheaper. For a gotta-have-it-there-now shipment, they're unbeatable. And they got me back to Philly in just under two hours for about $20 ($15 when I booked in advance for my Philly-to-NY trip). The next cheapest alternative was by train and that was closer to $30 and slower by a half-hour or so.
  3. I. Love. New York. I can't thank everyone enough for coming out and supporting my appearance. You guys are awesome.