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First time at Tulkon

I had become aware of Tulkon in the past couple years, and this year I decided to go for it. As you may have noticed, if you are aware of my con schedule, I have pretty much planned to do all the cons I can this year. Since I didn't have anything planned for this particular weekend, I went ahead and did it.

This was not a first year con. There were many things that were setup and run smoothly, so you could tell that they have done this before. That being said, there were some oddities and miscommunications going on that I wouldn't attribute to an established con, as well.

The first day I get there, and I go to the lobby of the hotel, where there is a registration table setup. Perfect! It was easy to find! I let them know I am here for the con and I needed to check in and know where to go.

They gave me a guest badge, put some stickers on it. and pointed me where to get to the lower level for the convention center. I head down the escalator, walk down the hallway, and find just where I need to go. Here is where it gets odd. I find someone down there and confirm where my table is. But it also turns out that I was given the wrong badge, too. It turns out that check-in for vendors was downstairs in the vendor room. I'm not sure why the folks upstairs didn't know that, or why it wasn't clearly communicated.

Not only that, but it appeared as though they had me assigned to 2 tables. I wouldn't mind so much if they were 2 tables next to each other, but of course that would be too easy. They were nowhere near each other. I took the first one I found (and the best location).

Anyway, I get the right badges and ready to setup. This was a nice hotel, but unfortunately the elevator in the parking garage didn't go to this level. The elevator to this level was on the opposite side of the hotel from the parking garage, as well.

So, I loaded up my stuff from the car into my wagon, got down the elevator, walk alllll the way through the hotel to get to the other elevator and go down one more level. Then have to walk back through the lower level to get to the vendor area. I did that twice on setup and twice on teardown. (Next year I will try to keep it to 1 trip).

I finally get everything setup and ready to go. I am super happy with my table location, as it was right next to the door to the vendor room.

The table next to me never showed up. I asked one of the con people about it. It was a table for the Army, but they had cancelled. I asked if we (the table on the opposite side and I) could spread out to fill this empty table spot. I was told they would check and find out. Great! I waited and waited that first day, and never heard anything back. By the second day, when nobody showed up, we just took over and spread out anyway.

I'm sure the fact that I just did Planet Comicon the previous weekend skewed my perspective a little, but it seemed to be really slow. Everyone else was seeing it too. We kept saying, "Oh it's Friday, it is normally slow". Things did pick up on Saturday a bit, but Sunday was really slow, as well.

Also, there seemed to be several empty vendor AND artist tables, which was very odd. The vendor room was large, but I don't know if it was how they had it setup or if it was because of empty booths, but it seemed very sparse. The artist alley people that WERE there, seemed to have a disproportionate amount of people selling books.

Now, I'm all for people selling their books at a convention. You have to get sales somewhere, right? But when it looks like half (or more) of your vendors is comprised of books, it doesn't really give the shoppers much variety to choose from.

Near the end of Day 2, I found out from a fellow artist that there was a room up on the 6th floor of the hotel that was setup with food and snacks for the artists/vendors. She was super kind enough to grab me something before everything ran out. I'm not sure why this wasn't ever communicated to the vendors, though. This is the kind of information that should have been in the check-in packet with the badges. (It wasn't, I checked)

Overall, I did cover my costs for the con, so at least I didn't lose any money. I think I will try again next year, but this time get a booth in the vendor room, rather than an artist table. That way I can spread out a little more and have a much better setup. I'm hoping that next year will have a better turnout and have better vendor management.

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