CapriCon is an event held at the Showgrounds in Rockhampton, Qld, each year late in August, but the show is more cultural than agricultural. That’s not to say it doesn’t have animals. This year, there were some charming baby goats, but they were billed as therapy animals not as potential blue-ribbon contenders.

CapriCon describes itself as ‘the largest single-day pop culture convention in Central Queensland showcasing a wide spectrum of pop culture including comics, collectibles, cosplay, anime, medieval, gaming, art, steampunk and more.’ The ‘more’ apparently includes local literary accomplishments, because I was encouraged to set up a stall there (in ‘author’s alley’) to promote my latest book, ‘The Spaceman’.

The area I was allotted was a mere 2m X 2m. Not to worry. How big, after all, is a book?

So, how was I to adorn my space, meagre though it might be? What props might I use to attract clientele to my little patch? Well, I called on a friend of mine, Paul, from two doors down the road. And he jumped at the opportunity to exercise his artistic bent in my interests. Which is just as well, because I was clueless.

So, Paul went at it like a bull at a gate. He created a make-believe Space, complete with snow out of shredded paper, a red line which one must not cross, and a sign propped up by an easel saying ‘Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here’. And much more. If you’ve read my book, which Paul has, you’ll know the significance of these props.

Oh, one more thing. He mocked up a top hat for me to wear. As you would be aware from reading my book, funny hats is a sub-theme in the scenario of ‘The Spaceman’.

We set everything up in situ on the afternoon prior to the event. Then, from 7 a.m. the next day, it was all systems go. I sat at my card table in my top hat spruiking my book, while Janet sat beside me playing cashier, with a float of fives and twenties. Nothing high tech here. No eftpos. Nothing but the folding stuff.

And the carnival was in play all around us. What a carnival it was. Candy for the eye. There were a minority of really original hand-made costumes, usually period efforts, which I’m obliged to applaud. Less laudable, but entertaining nonetheless, was the profusion of Darth Vaders wielding Jedi swords, or characters out of Game of Thrones. The parade of people sporting their alternative realities was theatre enough even if I didn’t get to sell a single book. The costume hire people in Rockhampton must have really made a killing on the day.

I sold eight books, which is one per hour. Perhaps that sounds miserable, but I keep telling myself it’s name recognition, not dollars, that I’m chasing. Isn’t that how it works? How else can I expect my fame to spread?

Oh, if I’d been selling top hats rather than books, I’d have been laughing all the way to the bank. Paul, if you’re reading this, please take a bow.