This evening my journey to my second Spiel convention in Essen begins. Despite my best intentions it's been a largely last minute panic yet again, but now most of the panic is over. I've just been told my games have arrived at the convention centre, and I've collected my float (a whole bunch of five Euro notes for change at the booth), so the only thing I'm waiting on now is the banners which will hopefully be delivered shortly.
As I've mentioned before, last year's Spiel was a huge success for me and I'm hoping to repeat that this week. Several things are different though, and since this is only my second Spiel I don't have enough previous information to judge how that will affect things.
Last year I had rented out a third of my stand to Peter Struijf of Geode Games, and I only had one game of my own (though I had posters for Carpe Astra and a homemade prototype, the finished product was still a month away). My games weren't available in Germany yet (I picked up my first German distributor at the show, with my second signing on shortly afterwards) and It's Alive! had only been out for about five weeks - so it was pretty new.
This year I've a whole stand to myself and three games (the latest of which came out four months ago) which are all already available in Germany. I've spent more money on advertising this time (Boardgame News with their excellent English-language Spiel preview and SpielBox which is apparently the place to go for German-language Essen information), and signed up for a couple of deals with other people too (I'm in the Spiel fuer Spiel magazine again and I'm doing a deal with the Spielerei German-language magazine which will hopefully lead a few more people to my stand. Plus I'm doing the 'free 2 player expansion with every Sumeria sale' deal too.
How much will any of these factors affect my sales at the show? With so little information to go on I have no idea. The show will have cost me a lot more this year, hopefully that will pay off, but I can't be sure until next week, when I get home and work it all out.
Last year I sold 140 copies of It's Alive! to punters and another 96 or so to shops and distributors before finally getting rid of the remaining stock to a couple of big distributors. Those big distributors are unlikely to take any stock from me this time, but I'm hoping to get some orders from the smaller European distributors and betters sales to punters, due to the advertising and deals.
I'm taking a full pallet of Sumeria (504 copies), plus 192 It's Alive! and 96 Carpe Astra. My limited experience as a paid salesman back in my late teens seemed to focus entirely on targets. So I feel I should set myself some. I'm thinking 50 Sumeria, 5 Carpe Astra and 10 It's Alive! sales to punters per day. Is that achievable? I have no idea. Only one way to find out.
Wish me luck...