As artists, we tend to expose our work and find many ways to expand our connections for more accessibility, experiences, allies, and resources. One way to do it is by attending conventions as artist alley, of course, there are other categories to choose from like Mini Press, Craftsman and more.
All conventions have rule and limitations, which most of them don’t operate the same depending on the place or town. Read carefully the terms and conditions as well as the contract. Always have the legal papers on hand inside and outside of the event (an emergency could strike). Plan everything beforehand and establish some deadline to finish your merchandise, artworks, etc.
These events run in many categories (Video-games, comics, movies, animations and so on). You have to study them on what they specialize, what other sections are running altogether and what type of audience they are aiming for. They are not responsible for your sell flows or the audience that doesn’t have a taste for your art. It’s a 50/50 situation, you are responsible to promote your attendance and they are responsible to promote their event. When the Con promote their client (artist alley, kiosk, companies, etc) it’s a plus!
By no means, you will compete with other artists (old-school thinking, it should be eradicated). Now there might be an opponent that could affect your sells and those are the kiosk, in my opinion. They can sell miscellaneous items (toys, jewelry, apparel to art too). For this, I always try to sell a variety of products to increase my chances of earning more money. Ask for suggestions or help with other artists nearby and help each other. The kiosk can help too like money exchange, shoutouts or mutual services.
Try to enjoy it to fullest, make new friends and allies. Learn from the experiences, be careful and thoughtful of your decisions and calculate the earnings and expenses; but most importantly don’t let any convention mistreat you. This happens a lot by idiots who don’t know how to work with clients. Sometimes these events won’t give a care for you except your money. Demand respect if these conventions consider you as a priority client.