Tampa Bay Comic Con (TBCC) is a family-friendly convention held in the Tampa Convention Center the first weekend in August. If you like your Cons sweaty, this one’s the fandom sauna for you. All joking aside, TBCC is hot when you’re standing in line, but you get to cool off inside the Convention Center. It’s got a strong vendor presence and attracts top-notch celebrity guests (including best-selling authors like Kevin J. Anderson, Terry Brooks, and R.A. Salvatore). The panel schedule is crammed with celebrity appearances, fandom-specific topics, and even quite a few writing panels. Let’s talk about the whole panel thing in a little more detail.
I’ve hosted and participate on TBCC panels for several years. The process to get into TBCC programming hasn’t been very hard. They start taking panel submissions in the Fall and make decisions during the year to fill out their three-day schedule. The key is to have a compelling, popular topic, and a description that will grab an audience. Watch the website for details and submit early.
As I stated before, the Con is family-friendly with guest ages spanning eight months to eighty years. I’ve always found the crowd pleasant, if not a bit snarky (not that I bring that out in people. At all. Ever.) and welcoming. The vendors I’ve worked with, both at my own table in the Artist Alley and while volunteering in the WordFire Press booth have been easy to work with, always willing to watch your table when you need a bio break.
Parking can be a bit of an issue, but you’re all set if you get there early. As a vendor, you can enter the Vendor Room an hour before show opening, so grab some coffee, arrive early, and get a choice spot in the parking garage across the street or connive your way into the Marriott parking lot.
Book sales have been strong. I prefer to partner with a few other authors to have more titles on the table. The different, vibrant covers and multi-genre offerings draw more interest.
Overall, I love TBCC. It doesn’t hurt that it’s in my backyard, but it’s a solid, fun Con and I will continue going back as long as they’ll have me.
By the Numbers:
- 2017 Attendance – Approx. 60k
- 2018 Dates – Aug. 3-5
- 6’ Artist Alley Table – $250 + 3% Paypal fee (includes two entry badges)
- 10’ x 10’ corner booth – $575 + 3% Paypal fee (includes badges, but not sure how many)
- Parking (how much depends on where you find a spot)