My 2018 experience is bad and my 2019 experience so far has been shit. It’s less than 25 days till the con, AND WE DONT HAVE ANY PLACEMENTS or any updates since JANUARY when we paid for tables.
Pro row people are getting notified about their tables in waves and some of them are being given only 20 days to prep, which is bullshit.
Get your shit together, guys.
I don't know if this is the case every year, because it is my first time attending, but it seemed to me it was just a massive cash grab , you pay 1.2k for an unlimited table to get placed in the front but you are out of that amount of money for a lot so profitable con, you pay 400 for a lottery table and get placed in the back, for worse traffic.
Don't even get my started on the layout, whoever designed the layout did a half-assed job. The area facing the food hall/washrooms/rest area was completely dead and empty. The hall is way too big for the amount of attendees and it is sad sitting in the dead zone.
Profit-wise, i still did well. But the brutal hours and terrible organization is not really worth it, i make the same at conventions with half the hours. Really don't recommend unless you can put up with their bs.
They have a 50/50 rule on fanart and original art, which, as someone else pointed out, unless you are an established artist with a huge fanbase, just bank on half of your products not selling.
They would not allow the table to be transferred to another artist, or refunded - yet they sell the tables to other people when you tell them they have horrible policies, and keep your funds.
Then I see that they apparently had the alley shut down for part of Saturday due to rain cascading from the ceiling onto tables and even causing a fall for someone.
Poorly handled all around, and I will thankfully never seek out to return to this convention. Bullet dodged.
I have heard horror stories about the checkin line, and the staff must have taken that into consideration because it was not bad this year at all. I was there before checkin time on Thursday, and waited no more than an hour from when the doors opened, to getting badged. People that came in later on Thursday didnt have a wait at all!
I split a table, but still had to buy a $95 badge. I was able to find a fairly cheap Airb&b within walking distance so that helped.
As far as sales went, they exceeded my expectations. It was my highest grossing con and i only had half a table so i was happy with that. But the hours ARE very long, and just to buy food or drink will require alot of time away from the table so a table helper or friends willing to do food runs is definitely a bonus. (or if you pack everything with you).
I sell mostly traditional original art, and did very well. I did wish there was a little more enforcing of the 50/50 rule but overall it was a tiring but positive experience for me.
The computer system at the convention center, and the center itself is older and gives them trouble every year, but the staff themselves do all they can to help and make things as easy as possible, but now that it's moving those issues might be rectified.
Otakon is a 3-day con, and day 2 (Saturday) is a VERY VERY long day in the alley. I think last year it was open longer than ever before and we had a 13-hour alley day. If you're tabling with a friend or have someone with you that can help it's great to take shifts so you can get a break, but going solo can be really really hard. (Like I do) But the staff are really helpful and there are always water coolers close by to keep you hydrated.
I always make a lot of money at this con, and I always gets a lot of connections, plus (when I do get a free moment to go to a panel) I always have a lot of fun. This is my favorite and most profitable convention and even though it's moving, I'll keep on following it and applying!
Staff are helpful, but hindered by a bad system. Hoping the new venue will be better. The current one has a bad layout, is in disrepair and the convention center's staff are rude, unhelpful and clearly don't want us there. The alley's hours are insane, 10-12 hours days on Friday and Saturday, but you do many money late into the evening. Be kind to yourself and be sure to bring a helper.
Anyway, every year I manage to get into the alley, I make more profit than the previous year I was there. It's a very profitable week of hell.
The staff is mostly helpful but disorganized. It takes half the day just to get checked in. They should open up more stations or find a better system.
The layout is terrible. Forget having any space behind you if you have a corner table. This might improve with the venue change.
The show is expensive. Tickets are expensive. Parking is expensive. Hotels are expensive.. Eat in, pack your room with people, and take one car.
The attendance was down this past year.