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Eric: Screw art! Get me numbers!

There's been a press release, which I read on Comixpedia and which they got on BuzzBugle, and which might or might not appear on ConnectiCon's website because ConnectiCon has an almost unusable flash interface on their information site for literally no reason I can see (other than to have your computer make hideous sounds and cause other people to glance at you. Yay team.) so I gave up trying to find it.

For convenience's sake, I reproduce it below:

ConnectiCon is pleased to announce its 2005 Web Comics Tier Rewards System.

ConnectiCon is one of the premier web comics conventions hosting over 30 web comics in 2004 and looking do do the same or better in 2005. This year's web comics line-up already includes: Ctrl-Alt-Del, 8-bit Theater, MacHall, AppleGeeks, GUComics, VGCats, Dominic Deegan, Instant Classic, Fallen, Staccato, Dominion, Oscuro Destiny, EXE-World, Noobity, Pihakwa, Mines Bigger and a few others who have yet to fully confirm their attendance.

The Tier Rewards System is as follows:

Your comic must meet or exceed the average number of daily unique IP addresses for 60 consecutive days to qualify for your Tier. All attending web comics will be listed on the convention's website and in the convention program book (provided that a bio, pic, comic description and sample strip are provided).

If your web comics receives:

1,000+ UIP/Day you will receive a free 3-Day membership to ConnectiCon 2005.

5,000+ UIP/Day you will receive a free Artist's Colony Space (includes a 3-Day membership).

10,000+ UIP/Day you will receive a free Artist's Colony Table (includes two 3-Day memberships)

25,000+ UIP/Day you will receive a free Artist's Colony Table, Green Room access and some help with travel expenses (gas, tolls) and depending on available space a place to sleep and shower.

50,000+ UIP/Day you will receive a free Dealer's Room Booth, four 3-Day memberships, Green Room access, all travel expenses and 4-Nights hotel accommodations (Thursday - Sunday)

So.

First off, they're probably going to have a hard time being one of the "premier web comics conventions" when (as T Campbell noted in comments on Comixpedia) they're scheduling at the same time as the San Diego Comic Con. Admittedly, they have Ctrl-Alt-Del, which gets good numbers. Still, I suspect they won't have very many people on the 50,000+ Unique IP list showing up.

For my money, however, this says reams about their priorities. It says that they're really not interested in getting the most interesting webcomics artists -- just the most popular. It's sort of like the Creation Con circuit for Star Trek. It's about pulling in people who plunk money down. Under this system, James Kolchalka or most of Modern Tales (or most of Keenspot, for that matter) would only qualify to have a free table for doing commissions and maybegas money to try and recoup investments.

In other words, what the artist is doing is irrelevant. Just what kind of traffic they're doing.

Which is fine. If that's the priority ConnectiCon has, power to them. But as a webcomics fan, my interest level in that con just dropped to nothing. And the thing is? It's certainly close enough to me to drive down to, and I like conventions.

If you want to interest me in your webcomics offerings at your con? Show that you know something about webcomics and value them. Show you put thought and effort into the people you're recruiting. If you manage to get Scott Kurtz to come, don't make me think the only reason he's showing up is the free ride -- make me think you actually like Scott Kurtz and PvP and get it.

If you need a line item ledger to justify what guests you're going to treat well (Jesus Christ -- no Green Room access for someone who has at least ten thousand daily readers?), you're not fans of the medium, you're fans of the numbers.

The numbers don't interest me much. If Tim Absath were at a convention (and he's one of the confirmed for this con), I'd certainly try to see his panel and hopefully shake his hand, because hey, dude. Tim Absath. If Chris Onstad were a guest, I'd be gassing the car and packing right now. Dude! A chance to meet Chris Onstad!

That's not to knock Tim Absath, by the by. There are plenty of others who would reverse those. The point, simply put, is this. It's not about the UIPs. If you're going to be "premier," convince me you care about your webcomics guests as something more than bait for a hook. Convince me your con committee actually cares about webcomics. Otherwise, I'll just go to San Diego where everyone is just meat, but there's a lot more chance to meet Keenspotters.

And publishing a press release that outlines and trumpets this? Is just crass. At least pretend you're not being hopelessly mercenary about this.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at March 30, 2005 10:41 AM

Comments

Comment from: Sahsha posted at March 30, 2005 12:06 PM

It's just worded badly.

They want to bring in people, who may or may not (depending on how apathetic the readers are) bring in the most people to the con. They want to turn a profit, bottom line. It would be nice if they were able to draw enough of a profit so that they could afford to bring in web comic creators/teams that are not as well known yet produce quality work- but that's a long term kind of goal.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at March 30, 2005 12:12 PM

This is just a fact of life where webcomics are concerned. Cons want webcomics with large audiences (for the most part) because webcomics tend to have very devoted readers and are more likely to, you know, get people to come to the con. A chance to meet Illiad! A chance to meet Pete Abrams! A chance to meet Tycho and Gabe! A chance to meet Bill Holbrook!

Hey, that's the reason *I* went to two conventions last year. I wanted to meet web cartoonists. While my interest had less to do with who had the most readers, I wasn't trying to make money from the conventions, either.

It might be crass, but at least it's honest.

The only thing I find odd about their tier system is the "sixty consecutive days" thing. Folks who publish Monday-Friday tend to get a big drop in visitors on Saturday and Sunday, which has more to do with their regular readers understanding that NOTHING GETS PUBLISHED THOSE DAYS than it has to do with the popularity of the strip. But, you know... lies, damned lies, statistics, and internet statistics...

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at March 30, 2005 12:12 PM

Translation: "The better you are at bringing in the numbers, and therefore the more likely it is you can afford to pay for this stuff, the more likely we are to give it to you for free."

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at March 30, 2005 12:25 PM

Mr. Wright--

I don't disagree, really. At the same time, there's as much an element of PR here as recompense. These are the kinds of details that should never be made public, because it underscores that the Con is just looking for advertising bait. Most Cons are not for profit, and the idea has always been that they're in it for the love of it. Things like Creation Con are businesses, on the other hand, and it's all about the dollar and pulling in names.

Even if a fan-run Con is entirely looking at Webcomics as a draw instead of something they want in its own right, they should never make the artists and fans involved think that's the reason, because it minimizes them. When I read that press release, it says to me "these people don't know about webcomics and they don't care about webcomics. They're just hoping Fred Gallagher comes so they can advertise his name."

And, as a fan of webcomics, I have no interest in that.

Comment from: Greg Dean posted at March 30, 2005 12:31 PM

I could totally go for free. Maybe. I think i'd be right on that 50k line.

But scheduling during Comic-Con is just a bad idea. Comic Con's just one of those things you don't miss, you know? On the other hand, getting free dealer space, travel, and hotel IS pretty alluring. I'd just have to wonder what the average visitor turnout is.

Fuck it. I can't NOT go to Comic Con. Even if it does cost me an arm and a leg - it's COMIC CON. These guys need to learn what proper scheduling is.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at March 30, 2005 12:35 PM

Well, I guess I just have a different perspective -- I always assumed cons were FOR profit. I'm a great fan of local computer conventions (because you can get a lot of good hardware for cheap at those things) and I've always assumed those things were held for profit, even if the people running it *did* geek out over computer hardware just as much as I did. Likewise for the few science fiction conventions I went to as a kid -- I always figured the people running it wanted to make money off it.

So I never really pictured gaming conventions (or comic conventions) as being any different. Then again, I'm infamous for not really paying attention to the stuff that goes into these things, so there's probably a lot of subtext I'm missing.

And I don't disagree that cons that adopt this model will lose out. The last Ubercon I went to had the guy who does Bob the Angry Flower AND Pete Abrams... two guys with very different levels of readership, but both pretty important in the world of webcomics as far as I'm concerned. So yeah, if you choose a model that is bottom-line oriented, you miss out on some very cool things. It just doesn't offend me, I guess.

Comment from: Doctor Setebos posted at March 30, 2005 12:35 PM

So, what, are you saying there's an inverse relationship between quality and popularity? Are you crazy? Name me one cartoonist that gets droves of UIP traffic that you wouldn't want to see at a con. While I agree that this probably isn't the best way to go about setting up your guest list, it is a great way for that cartoonist that just hit 12,000 daily UIPs to say "holy shit! I get a table and 2 free 3-day passes? Where do I sign up?" And at 12,000 UIP, it will likely be at least of some quality. While on the surface it may seem wrong, what I'm sure they hope to accomplish is a way to hand out appealing rewards to up-and-coming cartoonists as incentive to appear at their con. It may not work exactly as they want, but it may be a good first step to constructing a fantastic rewards system.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at March 30, 2005 1:03 PM

So, what, are you saying there's an inverse relationship between quality and popularity?

No. I'm saying that if all they care about is popularity -- and they make public notice of that fact -- I feel like they don't give a damn about webcomics except as a draw. And I don't go to cons that don't give a damn about their subject matter.

Slight distinction, there. ;)

Comment from: Greg Dean posted at March 30, 2005 1:25 PM

's fair enough.

Comment from: Wednesday posted at March 30, 2005 1:38 PM

Name me one cartoonist that gets droves of UIP traffic that you wouldn't want to see at a con.

Oh, please, please, please do not get me started on the crowd management issues for at least one of them.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at March 30, 2005 1:39 PM

As Eric said, there's two types of cons in the world. There's fanrun, like DragonCon and Sakura Con and 'for profit' like CreationCons. Most fen (rabid fans of X) look at profit conventions with a sneer.

Having worked fan run cons for 10 years.. I can tell you while most cons do want to make money to get bigger, all the money is reinvested back into the convention. When I joined the Sakura Con team it was in a small, dark hotel in Tacoma.. and look at her now! When I left she was taking over a second hotel. That takes operation costs, yes.

Now, as far as guests go.. You INVITE people. You make a 'wish list' you look it over, you decide who would be cool and who your con goers would like to meet. You then go and invite people, you offer to pay for their travel and stay costs. Once you have the number of main guests you can afford you then go fortha nd gather secondary and tertiary guests. What those guests get varies from con to con, but typically it's gas money and food money. (Free entrance is a given)

But to hang out a sign and that says "If you have this many readers we'll give you this stuff" says to me "We don't care who or what you are, we just want what you can bring to us." It's repugnant, it's unprofessional and it tells me the people who are organizing the guest list have no clue about fanrun cons. (Just in case their chosen date didn't.)

Maybe they thought they'd get the east coasters who aren't attending ComicCon.. but still. There's a lot of compitetion for dates in con season, but not THAT much.

Not a con I was attend, staff or guest. ^_^;

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at March 30, 2005 1:41 PM

..I'm not even going to bother trying to correct various mischosen words (was instead of would) .. stupid brain.. but do you think if I offered TrueType a billion dollars they'd put in an edit function?!

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 30, 2005 3:00 PM

There are two types of cons, really.

There are cons which are meant to be gatherings of fans. These cons are always open to the public, try anything that they can, and often operate hand-to-mouth. You can find dozens of examples in your area; my personal favorite is Vericon, out of Harvard.

Then there are the commercial cons, which are meant to advertise something. Some of these are not open to the public, tend to stick with more safe events, and exist to pull a profit. E3 is one; I bet some people would throw GenCon in here too (I'm not familiar enough to judge).

Is one inherently better than the other? That's up to personal opinion. ConnetiCon is what it is, for better or worse. In some ways, I appreciate this press release - I'd rather know up front what kind of convention is happening before I think about attending.

Comment from: Death of Rats posted at March 30, 2005 3:13 PM

Having gone to last year's ConnectiCon (thanks to living in the area), I can say that despite this press release, if it's going to be anything like last year, it won't be too commercially oriented.

There was tons of just plain fan-run stuff there, and it was (and I hope still is) a really fun con.

On the other hand, I've done some reading about it, and apparently, budget is one of their biggest problems, so maybe this is just an attempt to solve that.

Comment from: thehappyguy posted at March 30, 2005 3:19 PM

Yes, I suppose it was worded badly... it really is ALL about numbers if you must know... we don't have a gargantuan budget to bring in 100's of web comics but we still feel that each web comic should be rewarded for their hard work.

It costs about $1500 to bring a guest to ConnectiCon (airfare, hotel, food, booth space, etc). Now our badges for those who register early cost $30 which means a guest needs to attract 40-50 people to attend the convention. A web comic with 50,000 fans has a much better chance than a web comics with 25,000 fans who stands yet a better chance over a comic who has 1,000 fans. Much as folks don't want to think about them in this way but conventions still need to be run as a business and at the very least break even if there is to be another one the following year.

By no means are we a "Creation Ent." or "Slanted Fedora" type convention where we'll sign all the web comics to exclusive attendance contracts and charge their fans $100 to attend the convention, another $50 to attend their 30 minute panel and then another $75 for their signature, and $100 if they want a sketch. The most someone might end up paying to see their favourite comic is $50 which is how much a 3-Day at the door membership costs.

We are by fans for fans. Visit our forums... there is some good info there. Some of our staffers read 50 web comics regularly, but there is no way we could bring in all of those web comics because that would eat up over 60% of our budget!

If you have any questions please feel free to email me,

Mathew Daigle

Convention Chairman

ConnectiCon 2005

www.ConnectiCon.org

m.daigle@ConnectiCon.org

Comment from: Arachnid posted at March 30, 2005 3:50 PM

From Gabe at PA:

On Monday we had 518,650 unique IP's (sic). I expect scantily clad ladies to feed me foreign delicacies while trained elephants dance around my golden throne.

Oh wait, that's the same week as San Diego comic-con so we'll have to pass. Maybe you guys could just send me my elephant in the mail.

Heh.

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at March 30, 2005 4:13 PM

As an aside, [b]Greg[/b], I've been getting connection timeouts to Real Life for a few days now, over several different computers and connections. I don't think I've changed anything - any thoughts?

It occurs to me that there's another way to look at the tier system, now that I've had a few minutes to think about it. I don't know what ConnectiCon's policy regarding creator-guests has been in the past (I assume it's been around the 25k level, but I can see the 10k level), but is it possible that the motivation behind this is not "let's reward the big names" but "let's show the little names that there are advantages to showing up"? I'd still kinda think it's a bad way to go about things if that were the case, but I'd be a lot more sympathetic.

As far as scheduling goes, I don't tend to go to comics conventions, so I'm not really in a position to complain there - but there are only fourteen weekends over the summer season, including the coveted Labor Day weekend, so it's inevitable that two titans (even if one or more of those is perhaps soi-disant) would clash over a weekend. (Like Otakon and Gen-Con. Grr.)

Anyway, I meant to post this three hours ago and got distracted by Meeting!s, so hopefully this isn't all horribly outdated by this point. :)

Comment from: Chris Anthony posted at March 30, 2005 4:13 PM

(Rassinfrassin forum tags. They'll get theirs. Oh yes...)

Comment from: Kris@WLP posted at March 30, 2005 9:21 PM

Hm... is there some service that will do me logs without my uploading a program onto the Web server?

The Statistics page for wlpcomics.com covers the -entire- site, doesn't do breakdowns by folder or individual page, and doesn't track back more than one week.

The gzipped logs in the server space run (even gzipped) about 20 MB -per day-, and don't go back more than a week.

Suffice to say, I can't separate WLP's web comics from the total raw hits/ unique hosts stats provided, much less determine which web comic gets how many unique visitors per week.

And with all this talk, I'm curious.

(For those who care: for the entire WLP website, avg. requests for web pages 18,000 per day; average unique hosts served, about 2,900 per day. Small potatoes.)

Comment from: mckenzee posted at March 30, 2005 10:01 PM

1. Average numbers for 60 consecutive days? So those of us who update weekly (or even MWF) have a much taller hill to climb.

2. "Name me one cartoonist that gets droves of UIP traffic that you wouldn't want to see at a con." Um, Jim Davis?

3. Slightly Off Topic: I think the coolest thing for me at Momocon was discovering that while no one else seemed to know who I was, all the webcomics knew me. That is the recognition that meant the most.

Comment from: Shadowydreamer posted at March 30, 2005 11:39 PM

Thank you Matthew for that laugh. Its a bit rude of me to say so.. but I needed it so badly today.

You invite guests. That's what makes them guests.

ANd I'm not going to repeat what I already posted, if you couldn't be bothered to read it the first time, I doubt you'll read it a second.

Tell ya what tho, if you need help with Guest PR, how about you email me and I'll be happy to give you lots of pointers and advice based on years of experience.

-Shady.

Comment from: Robotech_Master posted at March 31, 2005 12:38 AM

I agree.

What gets me about it is that convention guests shouldn't be advertised for like some kind of a help-wanted ad. You don't set criteria and post them; if you post anything to attract self-inviting guests you post an "If you'd like to come, tell us who you are and what you do and we'll tell you what we can offer you for compensation" notice.

A convention needs to be selective. The guests who are selected for a convention will tell potential con-goers a lot about the priorities and intentions of the people who are putting on the convention. Not only is it a way of attracting fans, it's a way of sending a message about what kind of convention you're wanting to run.

This press release, on the other hand, is kind of the moral equivalent of a "Will Work For Food" sign. Even if it didn't fall on the same date as one of comic fandom's uberconventions, and even if I weren't broke, I don't think I'd really want to attend a "Will Convene For Guests" con.

Comment from: Lea-Hernandez posted at March 31, 2005 2:31 AM

"but we still feel that each web comic should be rewarded for their hard work."

One: Webcomics (or print, for that matter) are not the fucking Oneida Colony.

"We are by fans for fans."

Two: Oh, fuck that.

Comment from: Alun Clewe posted at March 31, 2005 5:47 AM

Some of these are not open to the public, tend to stick with more safe events, and exist to pull a profit. E3 is one; I bet some people would throw GenCon in here too (I'm not familiar enough to judge).

Although this has little to do with the current subject, for the record, GenCon, no. GenCon can't really be compared to E3; it's quite definitely open to, and for, the public, not just for press and industry insiders, and has all sorts of events. The closest analogue to E3 in the game industry (er...the not-necessarily-electronic game industry, that is) would, AFAIK, be the GAMA Trade Show.

As I said, I know this doesn't have much bearing on the topic currently under discussion, but I just thought I'd mention it.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 31, 2005 9:17 AM

Ah, the organizers of E3 are really good about spreading the myth that E3 is for current industry workers (including press) only. There's obviously no hard count, but it's estimated that around 25% of the attendees are not currently working in video games (and before 2002, working in the industry wasn't even required). And they're not always picky about the whole age thing either (in theory, it's an 18+ show. My current record is spotting an 8-year old). Finally, if you're going for an "Exhibits Only" pass, the organizers don't really give your credentials a close check. $300 bucks (based on last year's pricing) and you're in.

And that's not to speak of the questionable entries into E3... seriously, being a part-time employee of Electronics Boutique is apparently enough to justify admission (they show up by the dozens). E3 isn't nearly as exclusive as the organizers make it sound like.

But stepping away from just how many people weasel their way into the show, E3 and GenCon (from what I've heard of it) are alike in that they exist (at least at this point) primarily to make money. They are a commercial venture, both for the organizers and the main attendees. The commercial con group has many different subdivisions, which is where you separate the two out. But at the highest level, they're more alike than it initially appears.

Comment from: thehappyguy posted at March 31, 2005 1:06 PM

Heres the thing... we do invite web comics and other guests:

Ctrl-Alt-Del,

8-bit Theater,

MacHall,

AppleGeeks,

GUComics,

VGCats,

Dominic Deegan,

Instant Classic,

Mines Bigger,

Steve Bennett,

Tiffany Grant,

Daniel K. Harrison,

Piano Squall,

David Williams,

CJ Johnston,

Lianne Sentar

are the folks who we've invited to attend this year and have responded in kind that they will attend. We like these comics, we read these comics. They've expended our guest budget for web comics and anime. We have a seperate budget for the tier system because there are so many good web comics out there that we don't know about but would like to.

However, having an open enrollment system allows web comics with less resources know what they'll be comped for if they decide to attend. It also gives those comics who are more timid about approaching conventions an idea that we want them to attend the convention and have a chance to meet their fans.

We treat ALL the web comics who attend like guests because as far as I'm concerned every web comic has something unique to offer whether I personally like them or their strip... someone out there probably does and they should have the chance to meet their favourite web comic and the web comic should be given a chance to get out there and interact with their fans and maybe meet some folks that will be their fans tomorrow morning after they stayed up last night reading through said web comic's archive.

You may feel that we shouldn't make this information available to the public because it makes us look bad or inconsiderate. We feel that our putting this info out there for everyone to see makes us HONEST and UPFRONT. Web comics don't get the runaround with us. Everyone is treated similiarly at the convention whether you're Penny Arcade or DedEnd. You're all web comics, you all word hard to put your work out there for FREE for the public to see and criticize and if you've done a half decent job people will enjoy your work and want to meet you no matter how big or small your comics are.

ConnectiCon is NOT about hand selecting who can and cannot attend. We don't want to exclude anyone (well there is one person because it would be a hazard to that person's health for them to attend). We want to include as many people as possible.

ConnectiCon is about meeting new people, making new friends, making connections and having a good time.

Comment from: Alun Clewe posted at March 31, 2005 1:46 PM

Re the E3/GenCon thing: See, though, whether or not in practice E3 is only attended by press or industry insiders, it's still promoted that way--and even by your own figures still is primarily that way; if 25% of E3 attendees are not currently working in video games, then that means 75%, a hefty majority, are. Compare that with GenCon, at which the vast majority of attendees are not working in the game industry, and the events are geared toward regular gamers and not toward press and industry insiders. They're not at all the same type of beast. GenCon may or may not be a commercial venture for the organizers (I'm not sure it is, but I don't have the facts to dispute it), but it is most certainly not a commercial venture for the "main attendees". For the exhibitors, yes, but the exhibitors are far in the minority compared to the non-industry attendees. The main attendees at GenCon are just regular gamers not associated with the industry.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at March 31, 2005 4:04 PM

Ah, but the thing is, it doesn't matter why the attendees are at the show (a vast number of the people at E3 are there to see the new products and have fun with them), my division is purely centered around the organizers of the show and their reasons for creating a convention. If your goal is profit, then you are a commercial convention.

The attendees's reasons for going to the show really don't factor into the matter; I go to E3, Otakon, and VeriCon for the exact same reason - to have fun and to hopefully have something to write about. However, I clearly know the first is a purely commercial con, the last is purely a fandom con, and the middle one is one I haven't decided a classification for yet.

I'm not saying one type is good or bad. But they are what they are, and it is nice knowing going in. I'm actually pondering ConnetiCon still; it's quite close, and I have a friend in CT that I haven't seen for a while. Of course, I wouldn't blame any webcomic artist who chose to forego it for being too commerce-oriented.

Comment from: Alun Clewe posted at March 31, 2005 4:59 PM

Er...no offense, but it really looks to me like you're back-pedaling. Your first post about GenCon, you contrasted it with "gatherings of fans", and lumped it in with cons that "are not open to the public [and] tend to stick with more safe events." No; GenCon is a gathering of fans, and it's most definitely open to the public. Your second post, you said it was "a commercial venture, both for the organizers and the main attendees". Again, no; the main attendees are not affiliated with the industry, and it's in no way a commercial venture for them. (I don't think it's solely or primarily a commercial venture for the organizers either, but obviously I can't prove the organizers' intentions.) Now, you're changing the terms and saying that "it doesn't matter why the attendees are at the show", and that all you're concerned about is the goals of the organizers. Well...okay, but that's not what you said in the first place.

Anyway, I'm not convinced that GenCon is run primarily for profit. It certainly wasn't when it started; arguably it could have become so since then, but I really don't think it has. I think it's simply bigger than most gaming cons, but it's the same type of thing; it exists mostly because its organizers want to promote gaming. Maybe it is primarily a for-profit venture, but I'd have to see some evidence before I know for sure. (It makes a lot of money, yes, but it also costs a lot of money to run, and I'm pretty sure most if not all of the profit is pumped back into the convention.) It is definitely not "commerce-oriented", and the showing of new products is certainly not the main point of the con. GenCon has loads of gaming events, mostly organized by individual gamers and not sponsored by game companies; the exhibit hall is a relatively minor part of the con.

(Admittedly, GenCon is organized as an LLC--a Limited Liability Corporation, a commercial entity--as opposed to a not-for-profit organization. But I think that's just because that was the most practical way to organize it once it became as large as it has; I don't think that necessarily implies that its organizers are in it for the money.)

Anyway, whether or not GenCon exists solely to make a profit for the organizers (which, as I said, I definitely don't think it does, though I don't have any proof), it's still an entirely different sort of thing from E3 and similar industry cons. E3 is all about showcasing new products, and whether or not many attendees go there just for fun that's not the avowed point of the con. In principle, if not entirely in practice, it's for press and industry. GenCon is for gamers, for fans; game companies do have exhibits there, but the exhibit hall is only a small part of it, and the main point is for gamers to get together and have fun; the opportunity to check out new products is just an extra benefit. Again, the gaming industry does have an analogue to E3, the GAMA Trade Show, which is a show centered around the game companies showing off their new wares to each other and to distributors and press--but that's not at all what GenCon's about. I just don't see any basis for comparison between GenCon and E3, except that they're both conventions. I most definitely would not call GenCon a "commercial convention" any more than local gaming conventions are. It's a lot bigger than other game conventions, but it's not otherwise all that different.

One question...have you ever been to GenCon? Or even taken a good look at its website? Because I really get the impression from your posts that you think it's something entirely different from what it actually is...

But anyway, again, this point really has nothing to do with the ConnectiCon, so I suppose there's no point in debating it further. (I say rather hypocritically, after making this lengthy post...)

Comment from: kirabug posted at March 31, 2005 7:36 PM

I know I'm walking into this thread late, but I'll ask anyway... how critical is it for a comic artist/author to attend cons? At least, for the newbie starting out? Do cons allow you to pass out flyers for your comic, etc. if you're not a guest?

I live in Philly, and I work some weekends, so as much as I'd love to get to a con, I haven't yet. (Yes, I know there are some in Baltimore and in NY, but I haven't gotten there yet.) Am I shooting myself in the foot?

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at March 31, 2005 7:51 PM

Conventions are more useful for cartoonists who are well known enough to actually *sell* things there. I've been to two, and it's cool to actually meet other cartoonists face to face, but I don't think at the end of either it was useful in terms of becoming more well known. There are eight billion things happening all at once, and most people aren't going to remember you.

The best thing that came out of the first con I went to was making a few friends who I ran into and hung out with at the second. So basically -- no, I don't think you're shooting yourself in the foot at all.

Comment from: kirabug posted at April 1, 2005 1:48 AM

Cool - thank you :)

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