CEO Bob here.
Hope you are all well. It’s a great Sunday here in the Cave, and I wanted to put out a message regarding some upcoming Brick Cave schedule changes that will be happening in 2019 and beyond.
Brick Cave Has Been Busy
At our peak, we had appeared as a press at as many as twelve different events in a given year- for us, an aggressive schedule that required a tremendous amount of preparation time and commitment. There are sole proprietors and small businesses that make their entire living from traveling and appearing at shows, festival and the the like- we certainly applaud their tenacity and dedication to their business. They would see twelve and have a hard time imagining how they could pay their bills with ONLY twelve appearances in a given year :).
To that end, it was time to assess for us what was happening out there in the event universe we participated in and where our dollars and minutes we best spent. Our touring schedule had impacted our production schedule (and still does) and we realized we needed to balance the scales somewhat.
Some events, like San Fransisco Comicon, sorted themselves out for us (sadly) by closing up shop. Others became about access to the particular community, and whether we really could afford to invest the dollars and minutes based on the results of that appearance. It’s a bit about trying to work smarter, not harder.
Focusing on Fewer, but Better, Events
For 2019, we have managed to adjust the schedule to six shows, plus a heavy presence at the upcoming Cirque du Livre Writer’s Conference. There are some reasons that we believe this is the right direction to take, including:
- We believe managing our own presence (Cirque, Mesa Book Festival, Brick Cave Film Festival) provides us a better opportunity to manage our message. We believe that we have a compelling and interesting story as a business, a publisher and a collection of excellent writers. We have an obligation to to be creative in making sure that that story and the stories of our authors (both personal and published) are told.
- We believe that our growth over the last Thirteen years has placed us in a position to be able to choose events that best align with our goals (Tucson Festival of Books, LA Times Festival of Books, San Diego Festival of Books, Mesa Book Festival and, of course, the Brick Cave Film Festival).
- We believe that it’s OK to say ‘NO’. So many events happen in a given month, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of being out and about and meeting with potential new readers. However, we always have to keep in mind that we need to be a Publisher first, meaning that we need to stay focused on creating new stories to have to take out to potential new readers. We have been a bit haphazard in our release schedule, usually using certain events to motivate us to complete projects, and that is not the place we need to be in going forward.
It’s a New World
The event industry is changing as well. Whereas in the past we have had to fight to gain access to certain events, we have started being solicited to appear at events as a vendor. In many cases, this is because of the initiator of the invitation having seen us at another event, which is both flattering and validating that the work we do in making our appearances professional and impactful pays off both for us, and for the organizers of the events we present at. In that work, we hold three important beliefs:
- We believe that we are a quality business that presents a professional presence that any event should be excited to have at their event.
- We believe that we have a community of readers and supporters of our brand and authors that both Brick Cave and it’s Authors have worked hard to cultivate and grow over the last decade.
- We believe that our Authors are professionals in their field and represent the best in writing and subsequently deserve the best opportunities to meet and interact with new and existing readers of their work.
We’re Making a Big Change for 2020
Nine years ago, we walked into the Phoenix Convention Center to promote a movie that we had not finished yet (Sacrifice). Since that time, almost 10,000 book sales ago, we have had nine shows of joy, fun, frustration, nerd poetry, hilarity and otherwise hard work of elevating our brand and our authors to a new level of public awareness. That movie, and our follow up movie, Sum of Its Parts, would see showings at that very same Convention. Call it by any name, but Phoenix Fan Fusion has, undoubtedly, been a core place for us to be seen over the last ten years.
As we approached our tenth appearance this year (in booth #486, same as last year), we started talking about what our plans were for this event. That discussion moved into the territory of what our place is in the lexicon of the event is and how this event has been changing over the last 4-5 years. Do we still fit? Should we still fit? Can we be more effective somewhere else?
In the end, after some soul searching, and putting aside the sentimental attachment we have to the event, we realized we could be making a much greater impact in an additional community, creating an even larger audience of readers and fans.
I’m never going to say never, because that’s just silly, but we are going to hit pause on participating in Phoenix Fan Fusion in (at least) 2020.
We know that there are a large number of people that expect us and look for us at Fan Fusion. We appreciate that dedication and that support. Announcing this decision now gives all of us as staff, our Authors, and our core readers that have supported us in that event for all these years the opportunity prepare for, and enjoy this tenth year. We have immense respect for the work and effort exerted in planning, promoting and executing and event that effectively creates Arizona’s TWELFTH LARGEST CITY in less than a square mile for four days each year. In some years, our appearance at Phoenix Fan Fusion buoyed the rest of the year for us emotionally and financially.
While we are not in agreement with some things at Fan Fusion and their treatment of (local) Authors, no particular event interaction or action precipitated this decision. Those are their decisions to make in the best interests of their business, and that’s not for us to criticize. It is our purview to decide where our time and money are best spent as vendors and participants, and how that investment is used- especially in the strength of efforts to elevate our local community of artists and writers.
We have no intention of going out with a whimper in 2019, stay tuned to the event page for all the fun things we are planning to unleash for Memorial Day Weekend. We are also not going to disappear off the face of the earth, either. Quite to the contrary, aside from the Brick Cave Film Festival and our appearance at the Mesa Book Festival, we are planning a series of smaller, more intimate events that will give you great access to our authors, our staff and our books.
And our decision by no means indicates that you won’t see our Authors at Fan Fusion in some capacity. As Fan Fusion invites authors as guests, you are always welcome to reach out to them and ask for your favorite local author to be added to their guest roster.
What’s Next for Us?
In September, we’ll be announcing our 2020 Appearance & Event Schedule, which will include a new event and a revamp of one of our existing events. We’re excited to share that with you and chart the next stage of Brick Cave growth for the new decade. As always, you can stay on top of our happenings through our Patreon, our Email List or on Facebook at the Brick Cave Books and Authors Fan Group.