Get a vendor booth at the event and set up as an information table for the Department of Planetary Affairs. Recruit my friends to wander around as DPA officers and man the booth complete with an informational video and pamphlets about the organization and the aliens it regulate.
I download the vendor application and fill it out but I have a few questions. So I give them a call. The man with whom I spoke to was very nice but ever so nonchalantly informed me that there is a four year wait list with 600 vendors on it waiting to get a booth at SDCC.
I am surprised only because there is no mention of this on the website anywhere. Ultimately, I am not surprised because SDCC is the biggest convention of its kind and will make or break a book, TV show, movie, or video game. Fine. Saves me the $3,000+ it would cost to have a booth.
The new strategy is to spend the four days with a squadron of those same friends wandering around the convention in some killer uniforms as DPA officers, enjoying it, and in theory creating buzz. Make people wonder what is the DPA? Where is that from? There are twelve of us. I give them a heads up of the dates and my intention so that they have one year to save money and make arrangements. I spend the next seven months gathering ideas for the uniforms, weapons, gadgets, and ways to promote.
Then it was announced a few weeks ago that the badges for 2013 would be on sale Feb. 16th. Time to make a commitment. Half of the people I had asked to join me were already going to be in the area for other events. Which is great but also means they can’t attend all four days. A few people had to drop out because of work. Only three of us could do the four days. Three people versus 150,000 is not good odds. Time for….
Everyone commits to Saturday only. I rather make one day really count and put everything into it.
Ten of us in killer uniforms, hit it hard, make a splash, drop the mic and go home. Still useful, still creating interest. By 8:58 on Saturday the 16th all of us are online and ready to hit the registration page and ready to buy now.
To SDCC’s credit they do dedicate a lot of verbiage on the website warning you of the difficulty of getting tickets. They even say, “Good Luck!” at the bottom of instruction page. Little do I know that this is not some over inflated exaggeration on their part.
Only two of us got into the mythic waiting room, numbers 617 and 34,031, the rest of us were stuck on a white screen waiting for the page to load. After some math and forty minutes I threw in the towel. Facebook and Twitter have streams of people talking about the white screen or what number they are, or begging strangers to purchase for them. It's total madness.
Throughout the hour SDCC announces four day badges are sold out, then Saturday, then Friday, and after that I shut everything down. I am still in shock. I can't believe it. I feel like Wile E Coyote with my legs spinning and defying gravity until I look down.
SDCC has 327,000 fans on Facebook and the convention only takes 150,000 people. That leaves 177,000 in the same position as me. Publishing my novel in 2013 has never been contingent on being at ComicCon so everything I am doing right now I will continue to do, but it is still a disappointment.
I feel like I have gone through most of the seven stages of grief, or is it five. Whatever. In the anger stage I couldn’t help but wonder if SDCC is too big, too full of its own self-importance. Maybe that’s just the frustration talking. It’s certainly a cliché line of thought but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. I don’t want to judge it too harshly because if I ever make into those sacred halls I will be jubilant. Then again maybe I will find that I was deceived by all the hype and find being there doesn’t live up to the legend of what it has become.
Whatever the case I have plenty to do ComicCon or no ComicCon. There are world’s to discover and stories to be edited. Let this be a warning to all you hopeful attendees of SDCC. Keep your expectation in check and definitely preregister in August for the next year, you can always return the tickets if it turns out you can’t go after all.