Are you planning on attending a North American comic convention this year as a vendor? While you're deciding which shows to apply to and what kind of wares to bring, be sure to read this survey of comic book conventions and how much independent exhibitors actually make.
Photo: San Diego Comic-Con International 2012 by Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0).
Humor magazine The Devastator and comics culture site The Beat teamed up to survey more than 100 convention participants, who reported which shows they attended, how long they had been attending conventions, what they were selling, how much they made at each show, and how satisfied they were with the convention. They've collected their findings in the Convention Exhibitor Mega Survey 2014 Results, which you can now read online.
While it doesn't contain everything you need to know about convention finances (it focuses on gross sales rather than sales and total costs, for example), if you are an independent exhibitor, it's helpful in figuring out which conventions are the most lucrative and what people are buying.
Some of the interesting findings: The average sales of people selling humor, fanart, and horror products far outpace those of folks selling fantasy products. People who have been exhibiting at cons for 6-9 years average more sales than folks who have been exhibiting for shorter or longer periods of time. And crafters and designers average almost four times as much in sales as authors, graphic artists, and cartoonists. People are spending more on items like jewelry, it seems, than comics.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the entire report are the convention scorecards. The report looks at 16 different conventions (the ones that had sufficient survey data to include) and lists the average sales, the range of sales, the booth costs, and how exhibitors felt about the show. There is some helpful information in there for your convention planning. Read the whole thing at The Beat.