Summer is here, and for the first time in two years convention season is upon us! Back before the pandemic times, we regularly attended comic book conventions as exhibitors, going from ones as far ranging as San Diego Comic Con to the Eastern European Comic Con held in Bucharest, Romania. As the world flipped upside down and began to normalize, we considered returning to the convention circuit several times, but in almost all cases decided to withdraw over anxiety over attending an in-person event with thousands of people in a closed air environment.
Well, no longer! This summer Mythopoeia will be attending San Diego Comic-Con 2022 as well as for the first time Gen Con 2022. We are excited to be getting back in person, meeting fans, introducing people to our work, and ultimately trying to make new inroads in this wonderful creative journey of ours.
The pause in shows over the last two years has given us plenty of time to think and reevaluate what conventions mean to us and our purpose for attending.
In our entire 8 year existence, Mythopoeia has never lost money on a convention. That is primarily because we have kept costs low and fans seems to be very excited by the comics that we produce. Although we don't do extraordinary numbers, we've managed to make conventions a small profit generator in addition to providing other benefits such as exposure and reach.
That's all about to change, however, as in 2023 we are expected to lose money at a convention for the first time at Gen Con 2022.
Why? Well, for a number of factors. Let's break it down:
1. Air Freight
First and foremost, we are behind schedule for The Wildsea RPG. As of one month ago we missed the deadline to conceivably have our books ocean freighted in time for Gen Con. All shipping is incredibly expensive as of 2022, with costs having gone up around 30-40% around the board. Air Freight certainly has seen an impact, and that means that our shipping costs for the show have gone up tremendously as a combination of the way the world is and our own internal delays as a publisher.
Gen Con is a massive travel show, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, a part of the world we've never been to and have few connections from. Typically we try to compensate the cost of a show by crashing with a friend in the city, but because we don't know anyone we're going to have to pay full price in terms of room and board for the show. We are also traveling with a relatively large contingent of folks, with around 8 of us attending. That means having to pay for a largeish accommodation, in this case an AirBnb, to house those of us that will be working at the show.
In the past, when we've exhibited at comic conventions we have applied for a spot at either Artist's Alley or Small Press. Both are typically smaller booths and areas of the show, designed to accommodate artists, independents, and newcomers. Not at Gen Con! We are exhibiting at Entrepreneurship Alley, a showcase of new companies who have never exhibited at Gen Con, with a booth starting at 10x10 and $2100.
We are fortunate in that we have been selected as a Marketing Fellow, meaning our booth has been upgraded to a 20x10 and we have some advertising support from the show itself. It's quite a daunting prospect, but this show will mark our entrance into the big leagues; where exhibiting at a show becomes much more about marketing and exposure with a long tail, as opposed to viewing the show as a profit gainer.
Our primary goal at Gen Con is to secure distribution for The Wildsea, and for future Mythopoeia products. If/when we manage to do that, we will have the opportunity to exponentially scale our business through wholesale. We have the platform; we have the game; now all we need to do is make the connections and show what we have.
If you build it, they will come. Right? Here's hoping so.
You may ask: with all these costs, and with the prospect of losing money, why attend? Well, the reason is simple: we believe in what we are doing. The Wildsea is one of the most unique roleplaying games I've ever had the pleasure of playing in my 20+ years in the hobby, and I believe that it has the potential to transform - or at least become a huge player - in the entire industry.
We are at the end of a long journey releasing this game, and we are going to do so in the best way possible: at the home of tabletop gaming. Along the way, we hope to show others what an amazing experience the game is, and to perhaps make the inroads needed to take The Wildsea - and Mythopoeia - to the next level.
Without risk, there can be no reward, as they say.
That said, we'll see you at SDCC and Gen Con soon!