It’s been all go on the convention front for the last couple of days – at the meetup on Tuesday night, Cathietay and her husband daveytay volunteered to help out with the convention organising, and we sat down together with lytteltonwitch and worked out a few more details. We decided to go with one of the slightly more expensive bus companies, because if you have to spend several hours on a bus, comfort is a bit more important than saving a few dollars. We also decided to include a picnic lunch in the price we charge for the bus trip – partly because it will simplify things a lot if we arrange the picnic, rather than people having to organise their own food, but also because if we end up with less people than we need to cover the cost of the bus (about 25, I think), we can just do a cheaper food option, and conversely, if we get more people than that, we can go a bit more upmarket with the food (Cathietay summed it up as “we can do cheddar, or we can do brie”). We also decided to set prices now for the registration evening and the dinner, and work within those limits (we’re going for “cheap and cheerful” for both – the Sydney convention dinner was just pizzas in an old church hall, and was just as enjoyable as a fancy catered meal would have been). So, we ended up with a pretty firm programme, with several free events, and three paid events: the registration evening ($15, which includes a “goody bag”), the dinner ($25), and the bus trip ($35). For people who register early, we’re going to reduce the price by $5 on each of those (we’ve worked it out so that even if everyone registers early and gets the special price, we should still cover our costs, and any extra money we get from late registrations will go towards things like prizes). So, things are coming together nicely.
The meetup was a success, too – as well as Cathietay, daveytay, lytteltonwitch and I, there were a couple of newbies: pin-guino, who brought a friend along with her; and 107steps, who had caught a book a few days ago, and was very excited about the concept of Bookcrossing. Nice to see some new faces (not that there’s anything wrong with the old faces, of course!) – now let’s hope we didn’t scare them off, and they come back next month! The table was positively groaning with books – I passed on The Return of the Time Machine by Egon Friedell; Dreaming Down Under ed. by Jack Dann and Janeen Webb; Shadows by Shaun Hutson; An Unofficial Rose by Iris Murdoch; Finding Mr. Write by Beverley East; More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon;The Orchard Thieves by Elizabeth Jolley; and The Cartoon Connection by William Hewison, and picked up Carolan’s Concerto by Caiseal Mor, and When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka. After the meetup, I released the rest of the books I’d brought along into the wild: Wild Animus by Rich Shapero; The Borrowers by Mary Norton; Shards of Alderaan by Kevin J. Anderson; The Adventurous Four by Enid Blyton; and A Horse of Her Own by Selma Hudnut. That reduced the to-be-released pile a bit!
I spent most of yesterday emailing people: sending registration forms out to people who’d already expressed interest in the convention, answering questions, asking questions of the bus company and restaurants… and I haven’t even started on the really big job, of PMing all the active NZ members reminding them that the convention is coming up and telling them how to get a registration form. That will take ages, because the way the PM system is set up, you can only PM one person at a time (which is great for stopping spam, but frustrating when you have a genuine reason to want to send multiple PMs!), but I’m getting pretty good at cutting and pasting messages…
Today’s contribution to the convention was a minor one – we had to go into town to pick up the new computer (which has finally been repaired, yayyy!!!!), and passed a cheap fabric shop on the way, so I bought 15m of calico. Over the next couple of months, I’ll convert that into about 40 book bags (which are really simple to make – there’s only about 5 seams to sew), which lytteltonwitch is going to print iron-on NZBC logos for – perfect goody bags for the convention! (We stole the idea from the Australians, of course, but good ideas are worth stealing!) And at about $1.50 a bag (including the logo), they’re almost as cheap as the boring plastic wallets you always get at conventions, and a lot more useful (especially to bookcrossers, who can never have too many bookbags!)
There was an exciting parcel in my letterbox this morning: a book I’d ordered from lulu.com. This book is particularly exciting, because it’s Yule Be Mine by Charlene Teglia, a friend from a forum I visit quite often – it’s a romance, so not at all my usual choice of reading material, but judging from her forum posts, she writes well and has a great sense of humour, so I’m expecting it to be a cut above the usual Mills & Boons-style writing of the genre. If it’s as good as I expect it to be, I’m going to send it around on a bookring – a lot of bookcrossers do like reading romances, so she might get a few fans out of it (who’ll hopefully then buy her next book!).
Currently reading: Walking Through Tigerland by Barry Oakley