Comic-Con International in Decline
While I was attending Special Edition: NYC last weekend, I talked to a lot of creators about the Big One — Comic-Con International in San Diego — which is only a few weeks away.
And I heard from more than one artist that — much like Marvel/Disney, who announced a pull-out earlier in the year — they were either pulling the plug this year or that this would likely be their last year exhibiting at the convention.
And all of the stories lined up along the same axis: Profit. (Or lack thereof.)
Between hotel prices, table prices and (for some) travel, it was getting increasingly harder to make a profit at a convention that was catering more and more to fans that were attending to see movie premieres and catch a glimpse at a celebrity — not find new titles and buy books from old favorites.
After having attended that show for over ten years in a row, I jumped off the treadmill a couple years ago. And, as much as I thought I would suffer withdrawal symptoms, I was actually quite relieved to not have to make that marathon run again.
In my case, I would lose close to three weeks’ productivity. I’d lose the week prior in prep. The entire week of the show would be lost in travel and convention. And then I’d lose the a chunk of the week afterwards recovering!
And — after deducting hotel expenses, table costs and food — I’d return with very little profit.
In fact, I’ve said for some time now, I’m beginning to realize that — between Kickstarter and Patreon — I have fewer and fewer reasons to travel to a convention to try to make money.
So, let’s take the assumption (and that’s all it really is) that Comic-Con is in decline. What does that mean for you?
Well, if you have it as a goal to exhibit at that show (and haven’t yet), you can take one of two philosophies:
(1) It may not be a goal worth keeping anymore.
(2) As established creators pull out, this is the perfect time to try to snag an Artist’s Alley table for 2016!
I wouldn’t attempt Option 2 unless you were able to mitigate one of your major expenses — for example, if you live near San Diego, this might be an attractive idea.
But the standard Webcomics.com advice applies to this convention — as with all — you should never go unless you have a clear-cut plan to turn a profit.
If that’s you, you may want to sign up for an place on the floor as soon as Comic-Con 2015 wraps.
I think your chances at succeeding have never been better.