As frequent con-goers, we’re obviously huge fans of keeping track of all of our convention memories. Just look at our Conventions section for how thorough we are. While prepping to attend San Diego Comic Con this year, a woman named Shelley Harper reached out to us with her project for helping others keep track of their convention memories. She’s hoping to raise enough money through a Kickstarter to print a run of Con*Quest journals. We chatted with her a bit and learned what inspired her to start the project.
1) This type of journal seems like a scrapbooker’s dream. Do you have a history with scrapbooking or memory books and did that play a part in the inception of this project?
I actually do not have scrapbook experience. I have one Smash Book and my daughter has one as well. I have formerly been a staunch non-scrapbooker. I have never had the time to put into them. In fact, when I got an intense baby scrapbook when my daughter was born, I cried. Because I knew I could never complete it.
The inception of this project truly came from my five years of going to shows. I literally had a manilla envelope that had my photo-ops with Twilight, Walking Dead and other stars from my convention experiences. I had autographs in my Twilight books I can no longer identify. I had stacks of business cards and tickets in bags in my closet from the cons. So while at Wizard World in Portland, I walked by the journal booth and the plastic sleeve booth. They were both busy. I went back to our One Less Nemesis t-shirt booth and told my business partner of my observation. Then we looked at each and it just hit us. We should make a journal FOR comic-cons, that only comic-con people will get. It will need to have cosplay pages and sleeves and be big enough to put everything in. Our goal with this journal is that it needed to be something people could do AT the show, while waiting in all of those lines. And then they could print a few of there best pictures after the show and stick them anywhere in the book. We didn’t want it to be laborious or need a lot of intense page design. That’s why our tag line is: the place to stick, stuff and journal your con.
2) You’ve clearly been going to cons for a long time. What was your most memorable experience and how did you document it?
Oh I have had so many memorable experiences. Most recently I had my picture with one of my long time TV crushes: James Marsters (Spike from Buffy). I paid for the photo-op, took a picture of it, posted on Instagram and put it on display in my journal, right next to Nathan Fillion, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackels.
My very first con was a Twilight convention before Creation Entertainment began doing them. Lori Joffs and I were moderating an Ashley Greene panel and when it was over, we couldn’t find her manager. I remember walking with Ashley in back halls of the hotel, trying to find someone safe to take her where she needed to go. She was very sweet. I have a photo op with her too.
3) Will you be attending Comic Con this year? If so we might see you there!
I wish!! From what we understand, there is a four year wait list for vendors. Our first production run of journals was not ready until the end of April for C2E2, so there was no way we could vend at SDCC. My hope is to get there someday. If so, I’m going to look you up!
4) Some might initially look at the $10,000 goal as a bit high for this project. You have a very clear break down of the percentages of the costs, which states that 63% will be going towards journal production. Can you elaborate on production costs and how much you’ll be selling the books for after the initial printing?
Actually $10,000 will not cover all of the costs that are needed for production. We’ve just found out that we need to print 2,000 of the inside pages for the next round, so that has raised our costs. The journals are hand crafted in the US (Arkansas) and because we are starting out, we can only afford to do smaller production runs. The journal’s inside 32 pages have 16 different designs and are printed on oversize card stock to keep everything safe and sturdy. The canvas and binding are hand sewn. In addition to production costs, the cost to exhibit and travel to the conventions to sell them at are also high and are not part of the costs in our Kickstarter. We have to build the business enough for our sales to exceed costs and we are not there yet. The journals retail for $35 and with the custom tote bag, $40, so the prices on the Kickstarter (including shipping) are an excellent deal.
5) If you don’t reach your goal in time, what’s your next step?
We are going to do everything we can to reach goal. We believe in this journal with all of our heart and soul. We have shows planned for this journal and we just know once it catches on, people are going to love it. If we don’t reach goal, we have to re-evaluate if and how we can continue.
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. They earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. They have contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. They’ve also written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. They identify as queer.
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