7 June 2016 | 44 Comments
This topic veers a little bit away from crowdfunding, but it’s still in the same realm of building community.
Over the last few years, I’ve been completely flattered by upwards of a dozen conventions asking me to attend as their guest of honor. The request means a lot to me–never in my life did I think I would be the type of person that people or conventions would want as their special guest.
Most of these conventions have offered to pay for me to attend. Usually this involves a plane ticket, hotel, per diem for food, and a convention ticket. In total, this is anywhere between $300 and $800. In exchange, they don’t ask for much more than my attendance and perhaps a special event or two.
I’ve turned down all of these requests.
There are various reasons I’ve done this, but this is the biggest of them: I don’t think my presence is worth the convention’s investment.
Here’s how I look at it: Conventions probably have various reasons for investing in guests of honor. Maybe it’s pride, legitimacy, tradition, etc.
But at the core of the idea is that conventions are investing in a person whom they believe will be an attraction for attendees. Not just a fun attraction, but someone who will drive ticket sales. A great guest of honor inspires people to buy in to a convention that they wouldn’t otherwise attend.
That’s where I just never feel right accepting a guest of honor invitation. I know that my presence will not increase ticket sales, so I’d rather just attend as a paying guest (if I’m able to attend). I have fun playing games with people and talking to them about games/Kickstarter/kittens, but I don’t feel right having people pay for that.
In fact, I would wager that there are very few guests of honor who actually drive people to attend conventions that they weren’t already planning to attend. Have you ever done that?
Let’s run a little poll to find out–I’m genuinely curious about the results. I could easily be in the minority here. Perhaps you have some other thoughts about guests of honor as well. Feel free to share in the comments!