Ellen Million (ellenmillion) wrote,
Ellen Million
ellenmillion

Today, on the chopping block: Convention Collective and Conventions in general...

I'm not sure if the Convention Collective really deserves a chopping block post, because it was more like a one-shot deal, but it's worth a mention, since I'm being thorough, and I can throw in conventions in general.

The short version of the story is that a bunch of us - 22, to be exact - got together and pooled our assets to get EMG to ComicCon in 2008. We figured the split cost of 3 booths together, and airfare and hotel for me to go down and represent us. It was a good chunk of money, but divided between us, something we could manage. We faxed in our application within hours of the forms being posted on the ComicCon site - and received confirmation some months later that it had been received.

In December - FIVE months after that, after the hotel had been reserved and airline tickets purchased, they finally got around to telling me we were waitlisted. Oh? I prodded (and prodded and prodded) for information about where on the list we were, and how likely it was that we would get in. Almost 5 weeks and a dozen emails later, I finally got a reply: we were 88th on the waiting list.

*blinks*

88th.

Yeeeeaaaah.

I canceled my hotel, switched my plane tickets, and refunded everyone their initial payments. Total gain? Lost change fees and dozens of hours of work.

It was a great idea, and if we'd gotten in, it could have been an awesome opportunity. Someday in the far future, I might consider organizing something like this again, but for now... not interested in the amount of work, the economy sucks, and did I mention that it was a LOT of work?

Conventions in general have not been runaway successes. I went to DragonCon four years, and had a proxy booth for two others in the middle. Things I learned:

  • I do not sell as much if I am not there. By an order of magnitude (literally, x10!).
  • Hotels are expensive.
  • Conventions are expensive.
  • Conventions are a whole lotta work.
  • While the audience is larger, yes, and the sales are greater, yes, they are pretty much proportional with effort and investment.
  • Alaska is too far away from everything. Between shipping product and airfare, I effectively kill any benefits of being at the convention. With the recent increases in costs of both, and the costs of checking luggage, this is not something that is getting better, either.

    I always felt like I could have done it better, if I'd had more time and budget, and made a better showing, but after a while, you have to question how much you can put into any four day event. Since I don't really have a merchandise end of the business like I used to, there's a limit to how much being at a convention would help me in the future, anyway.

    Conventions, you are out of here!

    See the Chopping Block Master Overview here: http://ellenmillion.livejournal.com/1143338.html
  • Tags: chopping block
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