I returned once again to Comicon Erie, and was surprised by a couple of things this year.
First, I brought a table buddy this year. This is Mack.
While not an artist, he helped a lot with carrying my gear in, setting up the table, and tracking sales.
I brought him with me because last year’s Comicon Erie was ABSOLUTELY PACKED on Saturday. People had a hard time moving up and down the aisle, even with the ample amount of space given.
This year, though… Saturday had a lower turnout than I expected. And the cosplay contest wrapped up at 5 pm but the show floor stayed open until 7. Not a lot happened once the cosplay contest was over. (I mean, there’s a reason a lot of shows have the cosplay contest be the last thing that happens in a day. Did it change because they got overwhelmed last year?)
Sunday had more attendees this year than last year. Plus there were some vendors and artists who said they did better sales on Sunday than on the previous two days. That makes sense, since there are some con goers who wait until the end, after scoping everything out, to go back to the artists and vendors they liked.
But this year, I’ll be honest, I was expecting more out of Comicon Erie than what was there.
I don’t know if there was another event happening at the same time, but attendance was not what I expected it to be. And that affected my sales. I earned less this year compared to last year.
On top of that… well, I need to preface this: at large shows like this one or Phoenix Comicon, etc, on Day 3 there will be a form on your table asking, “Hey! Would you like to reserve this same spot next year? Just fill out this form and include a deposit, and we’ll reserve this for you next year!”
This year the convention was asking for a larger deposit than what they asked for last year.
I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt and say, “Well, the convention center is likely raising the rates on everything.” (Convention centers do that. A LOT.)
But look – I did so well last year I decided to reserve the spot and come back this year. But this year actually earned me less in sales. And now the center wants a LARGER deposit out of me?
What if sales just keep going down every year and the deposit gets increasingly larger and larger? I’m not interested.
Plus, it’s not cheap for me to go to this con- I’m not local. So I would have to pay for hotel (or at least an AirBnB), food, the convention floor spot, and gas to get there.
Also, chairs were not provided with the table this year. Somehow I missed that detail on the application, but I thought that (like MOST OTHER comic conventions), chairs would be provided with your table space. But not here!
I asked one of the con organizers to bring me a chair – which I would need to pay to rent out. But they never got back to me. So I was on my feet ALL THREE DAYS of the show. Thankfully I didn’t give my money before they took my request and ditched me – and I had a table neighbor who lent me his chair once in a while. (And now’s a good time to give a shout-out to Keith Cunningham – on Instagram @cartoonkeith. Check out his comics! He lent me his chair.)
So, Comicon Erie, I love you, but I won’t be going back next year.
That said, I saw some posts from folks I follow on Instagram – turns out, there WAS a convention happening the same weekend, but in Maryland. Small Press Expo (or SPX).
I’ve always wanted to go to this show, so I plan on going to SPX in lieu of Comicon Erie next year.
I hear that SPX is harder to get into, though. So I’ll have to do my best!
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!
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