The Comic-Con business survey

24 JANUARY 2015

If you're curious what kind of money vendors actually make at Cons, check out this survey from The Devastator and The Beat. 107 vendors weighed in on their 2014 sales and the results were rather shocking - to me, anyway.

Such as:
  • The average income per convention is only 1K. It breaks down to 1450 per Comic Con and 615 for indie Cons.
  • Craftspeople tend to average 4500 in revenue; publishers, artists and cartoonists hover in the 800-1100 range.
  • Exhibitor booths bring in an average of 2255, while Artist Alley and Small Press make 845 and 900 respectively.

The top-earning shows were - no surprises here - SDCC, Denver and NY. But when rated by survey respondents, the winners were Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Phoenix Comicon and Small Press Expo. The majority said sales were up and almost a third said they would be at more shows in 2015.

Still. When you consider that many artists are only making 900 bucks over the course of 4 days, you can see why many wouldn't want to pony up for airfare and hotel rooms and floor space. It's clear now why so many popular artists and writers are sitting out Comic Cons. It's just not worth it for them to attend. Of course, I've heard this from creators for years, and I have one friend who barely recoups his costs even though he's constantly busy on the floor. Still, it's surprising to see the dollar amounts when my friends who are bartenders, strippers and psychics all pull down that kind of cash in a night or a weekend.

The survey also ranks marketing channels and other data significant to convention pros - so check it out if you're in any way considering selling something at a Con in the future. You'll have a better idea of what to expect in revenue and which convention - if any - could be profitable for you.


  1. Hi Valerie. Thanks for the financial info on comic cons. Now I totally get why comic creators (writers and artists) are reluctant to come to cons. This just makes me appreciate how much time they spend with us fans.

    1. Exactly. It's clear that many are operating at a loss just to show up for their fans.
      I hope this makes people realize why some creators charge for sketches and can't offer giveaways and swag like the big booths - they're hanging onto that floor space by a thread.

  2. I wonder if they asked people at Dragon Con? That con seems to keeps growing every year.