|San Diego Comic-Con, is it worth it? - Part 1|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 16 July 2009 10:03|
Comic-Con is next week and Rorschach Entertainment won't be there, though make sure to look for Sean Dietrich (Small Press Table N12) as he'll be setup selling artwork and of course his books (Industriacide, Fervor, Mess). Though we've been there a few times since 2003.
A little about Comic-Con, it is the largest comic book and pop culture convention in North America with over 100,000 people in the doors. The vast majority of creators and publishers are also inside those doors plus you get hollywood people including actors/actresses and of course those that are looking for new projects. Fans save up their money all year in order to blow $1,000's of dollars on 1,000's of booths worth of products. Then there's panels filled with news, movie previews and a ton of other stuff happening. Basically put it's massive, almost absurd, how big the show is and even overwhelming for the fan.
For comic book fans, I think everyone should go once in their life just to see the sheer amount of shit at the show, how much cool crap that you'll never find at your local comic book store. But save your money up for the show and don't put it all on credit cards because the costs add up fast.
Costs of Going to San Diego:
• Airfare - this of course varies but it'll be $200-$400 (and more depending where you live, if near a major hub are cheaper). Remember that some airlines are charging for check-in'd luggage, so add that in.
• Hotel - San Diego loves the geeks so much that they jack up the prices on their hotels during Comic-Con quite a bit. Expect to pay $200+ (I swear it used to be more but it is a down economy so maybe they lowered their prices) if you want to be near the show, though sometimes you can find something under that price. Remember the show is 5 days long (including preview night) and if you're an exhibitor you need to be there the day before so that's 6 days. So lets just say 5 nights hotel at $500 a night equals $1000 just for hotel and more if you're exhibiting.
Now you can cut some costs and stay farther away (like Mission Valley) and take the train/trolley to the convention. Renting a car doesn't work to well as there isn't a whole lot of parking available in downtown San Diego at least in walking distance. Though if you follow the Comic-Con Hotel shuttle schedule you can hop on that - though that can get tough to find a seat on depending at the time of day.
• Exhibiting space - The prices are pretty high and for good reason, they bring a ton of people in the doors. For the 2010 show it's $2,200 for a 10x10 booth and Comic-Con Table for $850 which is an 8 foot table with a backdrop, no price for Small Press but it'll be right around $500
Over the last few years, most publishers that have had a 10x10 booth have made their money back maybe even made a profit if they are in the meat of the show floor. If you at one end or another especially by the wall, you're in a world of hurt (I've been there twice). You'll still get sales but lose a lot of foot traffic making it tough to make the sales you need. If you're in the Independent Publishers area you've almost golden. It's in the heart of the show
I had a Comic-Con table in 2008, unfortunately they put those tables at one end of the show unlike that had been in some years in the past. I believe these are great bang for the buck but Small Press area was a better location being closer to the middle in 2008 making them a much better value - but they are selective into he gets a small press table. The main thing is with the Comic-Con table I paid for working the show but I didn't come back with anything extra.
• Marketing Materials - This is pretty simple, you want banners on your booth/table to promote you and for someone to see you from across the floor. You'll also want some postcards/bookmarks to give away from your table if not the freebie tables (you'll need 1,000's of pieces for that). So at the most basic this is only a few hundred dollars and you can reuse the banners for future shows.
• Shipping - this is more for the publisher and dealer and it's actually quite tricky. Creators can just stick their portfolios in their suitcases, though if you're exhibiting you may have to ship some stuff.
This first thing is to figure out how much product you need. So Calculate the costs of working the show (Booth + Air + Hotel + Food/Drinks + expected shipping costs + display/promotional materials). If exhibiting you're talking around $5,000 or more to work San Diego. So you need enough product to make that much money back plus you'll want to take enough to turn a profit.
Now the tricky part is you don't want to send so much that you have to ship a bunch of stuff back, because that'll really eat into your costs - you're actually better off giving you comics away at the end of the show.
The San Diego Comic-Con is a union facility... so if you're shipping a lot of product you either have to hand carry it in or ship to the convention center and pay the union to take your product to your booth. Not sure what the cost is on that but remember paying around $400 back in 2005-06. Now a days I hand carry it in, though sometimes you can sneak in a hand truck (they're supposed to stop you and make you rent a hand truck).
• Sales Tax - Don't forget to calculate this in. In order to setup at San Diego Comic-Con you need a temporary sales permit meaning that after the show you're going to have to pay taxes to the state of California. The permit is free, it doesn't cost you anything upfront just on the backend based on your sales. It's an often forgotten cost of working the show.