Greasy Budgetary Stuff

Money makes the world go ’round. Money is the thing we work for so we can do fun stuff like stage conventions so we can have fun with a couple of hundred of our closest friends. Which means that on every convention staff, there’s a guy chewing on his pencil and grinding his teeth when the Good Idea Fairy arrives with another programming item that’s going to cost a couple of kilobucks…and until another accountant with a masochistic streak shows up, that guy is me.

Well, enough whining. We have a contract with the Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas for the weekend we want. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the function space (and I include the Derby Suite, which is yuge and cool and will probably get used for more than just consuite stuff – just look at it!) all by itself is going to cost us $4500. Assuming we get both of our invited guests of honor, and all three of our guests from last year return, you can add another $2000 onto that (plus tax) because we cover their room costs.* Throw in another $350 for consuite supplies (soda and cheese and crackers and veggies and dip and chips) and a grand for T-shirts, and we’re looking at a little less than $8000.

This is not including the expense of feeding our guests, paying for their transportation, advertising for the convention (including printing up flyers) and miscellaneous other expenses like badges, badge holders, and program books filled with lies and deception. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. Just to be on the safe side, let’s tuck an extra $2000 into the budget for these things and a slight margin for error. That brings us up to a nice round $10,000.

$10,000 divided by the $40 pre-registration cost is a membership of 250. I am against increasing the membership fee, and in fact I want to cut the vendor membership to $50 so it’s more affordable for artists. I’m also leaning in the direction of offering sponsor memberships for $100, but I need to huddle with staff and figure out what kind of cool perks we’re going to offer sponsors in exchange for that extra cash.

If T-shirt sales next year are similar to last year, we’ll sell about twenty shirts and thus recoup $400 of the printing and shipping expense. Maybe we should print fewer shirts? This would make the shirts more expensive.

Last year I plowed about $3500 from my IRA into Son of Silvercon**. I can’t continue doing that; the convention needs to grow or die. Your suggestions (and aggressive recruitment of friends) are appreciated; I’ll be posting the new PayPal links for 2024 memberships as part of the site overhaul, which is coming Real Soon Now.

I am now going to join Fission-chan and Fusion-chan in a calming & restorative cup of tea.

Everything stops for tea.

*We had a couple of guests this year who offered to cover their own hotel and transportation expense so they could write it off on their taxes (did you know convention attendance is a business expense for artists & authors?) or just snuck out on us without telling us they paid for their hotel rooms. I appreciated this greatly, but I can’t count on it next year.
**Thank G*d I am officially Old now and don’t get the 10% penalty for taking money out of my IRA any more.


  1. Just offering myself as a volunteer. I have been to many cons back east and helped organize Esotericon for 2 or 3 years. LMK when memberships become available so i can purchase one.

    1. Many hands make light work, and we’ll be glad to have you aboard! The website is going to be rebuilt some in the next couple of months, but in the meantime you can always send a check/money order for $40 to Friends of Fission-chan. PO Box 143, Tonopah NV 89049. Or you can use Paypal.

  2. that paypal link is not working for me, it’s just nagging me to create or update a paypalme profile

  3. Ugh. We’re having problems with Paypal right now – their new “marketplace” interface is a pile of crap and we’re trying to figure out how to deal with it. Will update when we’ve got a handle on it.

  4. I offered my help, having years of experience being involved in east coast conventions. Balticon, Lunacon, Disclave,Esoteticon, Boscone, Philcon, and others. I have helped with dealers room, masquerade, security, helped with membership’I will eventually get a membership, and i still offer my help and ideas to the con committee.

    1. Jay, we’d be glad to have you aboard. You and I may have crossed paths at Balticon and Discalve, possibly. Check the updated “Son of Silvercon” page for updated Paypal link and other info.

  5. Speaking of flyers, flyers should be going to the colleges, gaming clubs, Medieval groups like tha SCA, ECS, Aragorn and any others that people can get to. As well, the Star Trek and Star Wars groups,

  6. Agreed. If you can help with this, it would be greatly appreciated. If you’re in Vegas, touch base with Dan Minucci and figure out how you want to split up the work.

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