150 W San Carlos St
San Jose, CA 95113
May 22-25, 2015 | Table Cost: $100
There was plenty of space behind tables and they didn't crowd control entrance and exit (so you can enter and exit on both doors) which actually made it really easy for me to use the restroom.
I get the impression that people don't really like the jury system for table signups, but I am terrible at getting tables via first come, first serve method so I actually like this method. I got in twice out of three times I applied through this jury system.
Getting a hotel was not bad, just be ready with your friends when hotel registration goes up and you'll be OK.
Then they switched to a jury panel system.
I've applied to other cons that used a jury panel system. I've seen it work well. And then there's the way Fanime does it.....
That, said - if you survive the ordeal of applying for an AA table and actually get one, you'll probably do well. Fanime is a well-attended show in the middle of a region with an embarrassing amount of expendable income. A large number of my best sales events of all time have been Fanimes. If your product line appeals to the mainstream anime fan, you're probably going to do well there.
I am local to the area and have never had to face the horror of the Fanime hotel registration system. If you are not local, getting a table at Fanime will be extremely troublesome because of the usual lateness of their registration system, which makes it hard/expensive to arrange hotel registrations and airfare.
After the renovation to the San Jose Convention Center, the AA is now in its own room across from the dealer's room. It's a bit smaller than it used to be, a little cramped and, when crowded, a little stuffy. Years before, it had been adjacent to the dealer's room (which used to be nice because the exit from the dealer's room was next to the entrance to the AA) and then it got moved into the tent, a dingy pseudo-temporary structure in what used to be a parking lot behind the convention center. That year was awful for hygiene reasons and for a complete lack of signage or informational support by the staff. Then, finally, back inside the convention center proper.
Even though I do not go through the normal registration process, I always find the AA staff to be very helpful when any issues arise.
Mostly, I find the attendees to be a really good bunch of people. I do find it to be a bit of a younger crowd that sometimes doesn't spend as much as other cons but I still do very well at this con every year. That being said, what the attendees lack in buying power they make up in friendliness and respectfulness. Everyone I speak to is incredibly friendly and I often get the same table visitors from year to year who are generally happy to see me and stop by.
I also consider this con an incredibly good one for networking. I live in Colorado but every single art based job I have landed has been through this convention. I have made more friends in the art community and more job contacts at this job than any other I have attended since I started AA's in 2007. And sometimes, that is more important than making quick cash over the weekend.
At the con, however, it's very smooth, and the staff are great. I will say that the layout of the room leaves for very little room behind you, so it's cramped and easy to annoy neighbors if you need to get up a lot (esp if you're me w/ a medical condition). The tables are also some of the smallest I've ever used, so you really have to consolidate your space carefully.
Sales wise it's a wonderful convetion with a great buying crowd. The Silicon Valley has a lot of money to spend, so you hopefully don't have to fret too much.
I cannot speak about the nearby hotels or food, as I have an Uncle who lives 10 minutes away from the con center who housed me, thus bringing my overall costs down.