Well, last week I spelled out all my reservations regarding the sudden expansion of Emerald City Comic Con. Was it as big a letdown as I expected?
Thankfully, no. In fact, if it weren’t for the expense involved in getting there, I would have signed us up for another year.
Yeah, we’re not headed back for 2014. Never say never, of course, but our sales, which would have been fantastic at a local show, once again disappeared into the black hole of travel and lodging costs. But I’m happy to report that the issues were purely economical… I found the staff this year to be just as attentive and organized as in 2012, once again constantly checking in to see how we were and offering water bottles and booth sitting as needed.
That said, it seemed like different sections may have experienced different results, as some peers in the Q section of Artist’s Alley reported they weren’t benefiting from any of this sort of attention. Also, I still do believe the sky bridge acted as something of a divider to the detriment of those on our (far) side of it, since another peer claimed no less than 3 people told him “Oh, I didn’t know you were here, I already spent all my money near the entrance!”
Rough stuff, and with the layout of the Washington State Convention Center, perhaps not easily addressed, though my first instinct is that there’s a perfectly good area in the middle they could have used as the entrance rather than sticking it all the way at one end. I still will never agree that splitting Artist’s Alley into two halves is a good idea, but the only truly bonehead move I noticed was putting the photo shoot area right at one end of the sky bridge, ensuring a permanent traffic knot in a crucial area that was already going to be a bottleneck. Photo areas need to be out of the traffic flow, not in the midst of it… if you’ve ever been at a convention walking behind someone in a gorgeous and/or skimpy costume, you know how even that bottles things up. Take a lesson from other conventions and keep them confined to a lobby area, says I.
But it wasn’t the absolute disaster I had feared… it just wasn’t enough that we can safely budget to go back again. All the days sold out, with who knows how much of an increase in attendance over last year (the convention was apparently being tight-lipped about that even to its volunteers), but we personally sold only four dollars more than we did in 2012 when all was said and done, and witnessed a lot of people looking without buying, some of whom did mention they were out of money. Did they shoot their wads in the south area nearer the entrance? Quite possible. Even if they made it to the north side, we were all the way towards the back. I was pleasantly surprised at how well we did despite that, but I think it still needs work. Regardless, fare thee well, Emerald City. One day we may see you again, but for the foreseeable future, we must part.