Table Worked: Tacoma Home & Garden Show 2018

January 25-28, 2018

One of the things said throughout the weekend was that “The Home Shows are their own unique animal” in terms of explaining it to people compared to most conventions. And it’s true.

The first thing of importance in explaining what that means is that the Home Shows are a general audience show. We do mostly science-fiction and fantasy conventions, with the occasional comic-con or the like thrown in. I do really enjoy doing the Home and Garden Shows, both in general, and for the challenge, but they’re definitely different from most conventions.

The second thing of note is that for the H&G shows, we’re working with NIWA instead of under the Clockwork Dragon banner. That means that we have at least twice as many books on the table (though that was kind of interesting, learning we had 13 authors represented, but Lee and I, along with our co-writers, were half of the books on the table at this event), and that we’re working with authors we otherwise don’t see most of the time. Over the course of the weekend we had 8 authors taking shifts behind the table. We also had two extra booth staff (thank you to Matt and Sheri!), which made set-up, tear-down, and portions of the weekend much easier.

The other thing with these shows are their unpredictability. The only thing we’re sure of going in is that mysteries will sell. We’ve never been wrong on that yet and weren’t this time. Mysteries do well, whether in Tacoma or Portland. Everything else is best guess. The childrens’ section also usually does okay, and YA does okay, but what okay is varies. I’ve seen childrens’ books fly off the shelves in Portland, and seen just a few go over the weekend. Romance has also had some really good shows, but it didn’t get much attention this time around. I’m not sure if having a bit more robust section of that would have helped or not.

Related to the last bit, there’s always a surprise. Some genre or other that typically hasn’t done great in the past will be the thing at a show, and then won’t be the next time around. This particular show it was the charity anthologies. Science fiction in general, after being absolutely dead at the Portland Fall show, did fairly well. But the Writerpunk charity anthologies, especially the Edgar Allan Poe Goes Punk, had a really great weekend. We’re going to be significantly closer to our goal for the donation to PAWS Animal Rescue after payment goes out for this show.

We’ll also get a really good idea if there’s going to be any trend from this show to the next, as the very next show in line is the Portland Spring Home & Garden Show. That’s always a real experience, as we should have more than 20 authors represented, and over 120 books.


About Lee French

Lee French lives in Olympia, WA with two kids, two bicycles, and too much stuff. She is an avid gamer, casual bicyclist, and lackluster gardener. Most of her writing is done in a Beanbag of Comfort +4. Best known for her young adult urban fantasy series, SPIRIT KNIGHTS, Lee is an active member of SFWA, PNWA, and NIWA.
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