After my Wizard World post, I had people ask how to find out if a convention is good or bad. Luckily with social media and the internet, it’s never been easier to find information on a Con. Here are a few tips to make sure you pick the right show to throw your money at.
Yup, they’re still around! I highly recommend checking out Friends of Comic Con. They mainly focus on San Diego but they have forums dedicated to other shows as well like ReedPop (NYCC, C2E2), Wizard World, and tons of others. Everyone on the board is very helpful and honest in their reports. You might even see me posting there from time to time! The Female Geek Bloggers G+ group is another great place to ask questions about conventions.
Most conventions now have hashtags which means you can easily check out live reactions to a show. Plus most, if not all, conventions have social media pages. Be sure to check out their Facebook pages to see if attendees have left reviews or to see how a show responds to any issues. There’s no such thing as a perfect show, but how they respond to issues is very telling. Did they apologize? Did they not address any issues at all? AwesomeCon in D.C. had issues a few weekends ago but the organizer took to their Facebook page to make a statement and to answer fans concerns. It was really nice to see and would make me feel comfortable in perhaps checking the show out next time.
Do you have friends (online or IRL) that attend a lot of shows? If you do, ask them! While we’re all looking for something different when we attend shows, most of us always expect things to run smooth and for issues to be handled properly. Even if your friend hasn’t attended the con you’re asking about, chances are they might know someone who has. Do you follow a lot of creators on Twitter or Facebook? If you do, pay attention to what shows they always support. If a convention treats their guests well, there’s a good chance they’ll treat attendees well too. If you see a celeb mention that they had to drop out of a con for financial reasons (not being paid by the show), take that as a huge red flag.
I guess this pretty much covers everything I wrote above but do those searches! There are tons of nerdy websites out there, including sites dedicated to conventions. Do they have any write ups about the show you’re interested in? Are most of the headlines that pop up positive? Or are they negative? Don’t forget to check out the comments too. I know, most of the time we’re told not to read the comments but in this case it could help. If a show has big enough problems, it’ll grab the attention of the local news and media as well. Just do a search for “Space City Comic Con” and you’ll see plenty of local news articles about it.
In the end, there’s no guarantee you’ll pick the right show for you but there are ways to try and make sure you do! We all have different opinions and they should all be taken with a grain of salt but if you see constant bad reports about a show, it’s probably best to stay clear. I’ll even admit if you’re someone who’s not there for the celebs, Wizard World might be OK for you depending on the city. Keep in mind too that if a show is new, to maybe expect a few hiccups. Putting on a convention is hard work and sometimes all it takes it for one thing to go wrong and you can get a domino affect. If a show is around 2-3 years old, they might experience some growth issues as well. It happens! If you’re someone with ADA questions, be sure to try and ask ahead of time what you need to do. Some shows give badges for you and your attendant, others don’t. Some have special line up areas as well. It’s all about being as prepared as you can be.
I know a lot of what I posted here seems like commonsense but sometimes we just need that little reminder that hey, there’s tons of information out there just waiting for us to find it! And if you follow me on Twitter and have questions about certain cons, let me know! I’ll try my best to help or at least try to find someone else who maybe has attended if I haven’t. What advice do you have for people looking for a convention to attend?