Last fall, we here at The Beat teamed up with the awesome folks at The Devastator to put together a survey for convention exhibitors. With all the controversy over who is spending and what cons are con games, it seemed like time to seriously upgrade this survey. And you responded, with more than 100 people taking the survey, giving results on the top cons and CAFs that revealed average sales and average amount of satisfaction with each show.
In case you’ve never heard of them, The Devastator is a humor/comic magazine based in LA that features sharp satire and art by founders Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows as well as people from The Onion, the Daily Show, Adult Swim, Marvel and more.
The result, as crunched by the Devastator’s staff, has some eye-opening statistics. You can read the entire report right here, and see some of the Devastator team’s own comments below, but here are a few of my own eye-openers:
- 6-9 years is the sweet spot. Exhibitors who were in this experience range did better than newbs or veterans. I’ve never seen this quite laid out in such a visual fashion but it does tend to back up our intuitive grasp of the rise and fall of an artist’s career, and also rampant ageism of the comics industry,
- People with bigger booths made a lot more money, but they may have needed bigger booths because they made a lot of money. So not sure what that one means.
- PR to other outlets, meaning TV and radio probably, leads to bigger sales than just social and The Usual Comics Suspects
- This was a bit of a shock: Average sales for APE, which most people think of as not being the top show on the CAF circuit, were actually higher than SPX and MoCCA and right behind TCAF. I understand that APE has a lot of maker booths, however, and these do better than comics only booths overall.
- Just about all the major cons on the circuit are mentioned, and some get very low ratings…while having high sales, reinforcing the idea that comics people often value mood over moolah.
- Despite widely reported “con burnout” more people are doing more shows in 2015. Only 1% are going home for good.
Anyway that’s me done. Read on and discuss!!!
Huge thanks to Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden for putting this resource together.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.