A Note to all Convention Runners
Dear Comic Convention Runners of the world:
Once upon a time, vending at convention shows were a fun and effective way for artists to make money and pay their bills. Attendees came far and wide, pushing record ticket sales, spending a lot of money, and over all boosting the local economy.
Then it and the economy crashed.
Then it built up again. And people started to notice. More people were creating more shows in the towns where shows already existed. More smaller shows started popping up with more frequency. Even ones dedicated to the same thing. Just look at all the “comic conventions” that are in Phoenix and Dallas.
There’s this thing called “(over)saturating the market” which leads to “cannibalizing your sales” and attendance. It’s happening. Attendance is in a down swing. Vendors are making less while having to work twice as hard and hit twice as many shows (which cost more money) just to keep making the same bills they’ve been making for years. This is even with the invention of new cool toys, new art, new inventory, different products. (There’s a joke about celebrities having another job here somewhere, too.)
When you make a show to be within 2 months of another local show within a 4 hour driving distance, you’re splitting your attendance pool even further.
Come on, it’s basic business, y’all. Stop competing with each other and work together. We’re all here to make money. Look at your competition and then make them not a competition either by time or distance.
Or even better, create a different kind of convention – one with a different theme. Take on the tiny shows that aren’t cutting it and have stayed tiny for over 20 years. Build something new. Make something where your audience wants to and can go to both shows. “Fan Experience” shows with under 20 celebrities are just a cop out. Strive to do better.
That requires doing some market research.
Good luck. It seems we’ll all need it.