So I went to GalaxyCon, but not by myself. This time I split a table – not in two, but five ways. Because this time, I was with the Columbus Cartoon Coalition.
I’ve been part of their executive board for a couple of months now, as the Convention and Festival Lead. It’s basically my job to watch out for conventions and say to the other exec members, “Hey! This looks interesting. Maybe we can get a table here?”
GalaxyCon popped up on my radar sometime in the middle of the year. Maybe even September? It’s been a while. But I reached out to the other CCC members to gauge if there was any interest. We got our stuff together, we coordinated, and we set up to show our work!
How Did It Go?
This was our first time at GalaxyCon Columbus. And…well, I hesitate to call these “red flags” but they certainly were signs that got us to worry. Here’s what we noticed before the show even started:
The website focused on celebrities. Exclusively. Kudos to the organizers for getting some big names on their tickets, but this show promoted the celebrities over just about everything else. Glad they got a Muppet puppeteer for Friday, though. That was neat.
The Artist Alley was shoved to the back of the floor. We were right by concessions, so we weren’t isolated. But when attendees first walked through the door, they saw Vendors right away, not Artists.
GalaxyCon’s set-up hours were unusually early. And strict. Usually, if a convention starts at 2 pm, organizers want artists to show up two hours ahead of schedule to get set up. GalaxyCon opened Friday at 2 pm – and their set-up hours ran from 8 am to 12 noon. After noon, the doors for the loading dock shut.
Whoever organized Artist Alley did not care who sat next to whom. For the most egregious example, I saw a cutesy crafter with overall skirts and adorable mascots next to someone who drew Lovecraft Tarot with exposed vulvas. It gave me Put-N-Play flashbacks.
At the show itself, we managed to make back the cost of the table. In hindsight, I’m REALLY glad I stayed with family in town. That saved me from spending money on hotels. And I did budget for food and gas – though parking fees were an issue. Thanks for chipping in towards the cause, Geo. You should check out his comics. He’s a member of the coalition and a great table buddy.
What Sold the Best?
FAN STUFF. 110%. Fan works sold the most at this show. Junior’s comics, especially Growing Up Gerudo, were the most popular thing at our table. Shout-out to Junior, as well, for being a great table buddy and for sharing a TON of great ideas. We also sold a lot of Bubblegum and Marceline prints that our cohort Jeremy drew for the table.
That said, we DID manage to get the word out about our coalition – attendees were super intrigued that a coalition of cartoonists even existed in central Ohio. We ran out of business cards by Saturday afternoon.
And people DID support the original stories we did. Geo sold some copies of Tukk & Rol, Junior sold some copies of The Divine Intervention, and I sold so many copies of The Legend of Jamie Roberts that I got down to 1 copy on hand at the show.
In hindsight – I DO wish I brought my pins and keychains. Those were REALLY popular at other tables at GalaxyCon. I only brought my books that would fit in one suitcase. In fairness, we at the coalition agreed that everyone who could split the table would bring two items each for sale. We only expanded when we realized:
a) with the right displays, we could fit WAY more and still have room on the table, and
b) we needed more things out to draw and keep attention.
We DID make back the cost of the table overall. But would we come back to GalaxyCon next year?
We decided that if we WERE to go back to shows like GalaxyCon, only members with fan works or experience at fan conventions should go. Otherwise, members would be better suited to anime conventions, local shows, and events dedicated to comics.
Would I go to this show solo? Probably not. The table fee was too high for me to go solo. That’s why I brought GalaxyCon to the coalition’s attention. And at the end of the show, the organizers proclaimed that if we signed up to return next year THAT DAY, our table would be “discounted” to $350.
If you’re new to showing your work at conventions, skip events like GalaxyCon Columbus. Unless you have a REALLY cool buddy to split the table with. Your wallet will only thank you.