So let’s talk about APE. I think you can tell by the previous post how excited we were for this show. That being said, APE this year was a massive disappointment. There were far less exhibitors than last year, the space of the show floor had been cut by about a third, there were less rows and even with all these cuts, there were still empty booths. Attendance was significantly reduced compared to last year as well. So, as you could expect, our sales were about half of last year. Are sales important? Well… kinda? We don’t expect to get rich at these shows. But, we’ve spent money on printing, paying artists, paying letterers, paying colorists, shipping, travel, hotels, food, gas, tolls, etc. Plus, we’re giving up our weekends, going to work exhausted on Mondays, and typically standing all day on hard, concrete floors trying to keep positive energy up and talk to people about our products. So sales not only help offset some of these costs, they also tell us how engaged people were with our products. It’s good to feel liked. It helps those early Monday mornings, those long Sunday night drives back from shows. So yeah, pretty disappointed by APE. But here at Ghost Thunder, we don’t like to be negative, so here are some ways that APE can be saved.
- PROMOTION!!! Advertise the show, hire someone with experience to promote it.
- GUESTS!!! Tied into promoting the event, have some big name, indie creators there to draw a crowd. Regular cons have wrestlers, actors, mainstream comic names there to bring in attendees. It works. Spend a little money, bring in some creators that people want to meet and attendance will improve.
- CURATE!!! I shouldn’t see ‘Pixel Art’ and ‘Wall of Prints’ type booths at APE. Just no.
- VENUE!!! A giant, half empty building does not set a good mood for a show. And when you have panels off site, it gives people a reason to leave the con floor, and they may not come back. Also, don’t have the show the same weekend as NYCC, which has one of the best artist alley experiences of any of the cons in the whole country. That’s just dumb. San Jose can host a terrific and well attended con (see SVCC), it’s not the city, it’s what you do with it.
We really hope something changes with APE, we do love this show. But as it stands now, we will not be back unless there are significant changes made.