Frequently Asked Questions about the WHC Committee
This page is intended to assist World Horror Convention Committee Members with the setup and operations of each year’s convention.
Q. Who should I contact about specific aspects of the World Horror Convention?
- Alan Beatts. – dealers room/parties/security
- Mike Willmoth – hotel/treasury/data/registration
- Beth Gwinn – guests/publicity
- Jill Bauman – Art Show
[Visit the Contact Page for each Board Members’ contact info]
Q: Can a WHC give out free/Press passes?
No. The World Horror Convention does not issue any kind of free pass. We are, however, happy to work with members of the press who are in attendance to facilitate any story or article they might happen to be writing.
Q: What major departments for the WHC should be established each year by the Convention’s Committee?
- Art Show
- Charity Auction, Database
- Dealers Room
- Digital File Prep
- Grand Master Award
- Green Room
- Guest Liaison
- Historian, Hospitality
- Hotel Liaison
- Programming, Publications
- Publisher Parties
- Special Events
Following are individual departments’ FAQ’s. More will be posted when the Committee Member responsible provides them. Until then, please direct all questions according to the information at the top of this page.
Q: What kind of dealers usually attend?
Since the World Horror Convention has a literary focus, many of the dealers are publishers and booksellers. However, there are almost always other type of dealer present — posters and prints, videos, clothing, jewlery, and any number of other types of product can sell quite well at WHC. The key is to remember that the attendies are Horror fans and chose stock acordingly.
Q: What kind of sales can I expect?
It is very hard to qualify a question like this one. Sales vary widely from convention to convention and also vary depending on the type of merchandize sold. Probably the best way to answer that question is thus — at the average World Horror convention 25% of the dealers will not cover the cost of their table and membership, 50% will break even or show a modest profit after all costs, and 25% will show a reasonable profit. What class a dealer falls into is usually a function of how well their product is matched to the crowd.
Q: Do I have to worry about local sales tax?
Since WHC is a small convention and takes place at a hotel, not a convention center, typically the answer is, No. Though it is possible that local tax people could come a check on the room, in practice it’s just not worth the time and effort to try to enforce local sales tax laws. If this is ever a possibility, that information should appear clearly in the dealer’s information package for the specific year.
Q: What kind of sales or display equipment should I bring?
It is not uncommon to see dealers bring manual credit card “clunkers”, additional covering for tables, and banners with the name of their business. All if this is, of course, in addition to whatever stands, racks, easels or what have you to display their product. For dealers who drive to the event, a hand truck is a very good idea since hotel luggage carts are bulky and always in short supply.
Q: Is there electrical power avaible?
Electrical power is almost always available in the dealer’s room but it may be nessacary to request it in advance on your dealer’s application. That said, the dealer’s room is a pretty friendly place and, if you forgot to ask in advance, it is almost always possble to make an arrangement with either someone near by who has electrical or with the Dealer’s Room Coordinator. However, in either case, remember to bring your own extention cords, power strips, and so forth. Some wide masking or “gaff” tape can also be a good idea for taping extention cords down.
Q: Are their phone lines avaible?
Phone lines are available much less commonly than electrical power. When they are available, it is always by pre-arrangement and usually involves pay some set-up fees to the hotel as well as paying for all calls.
Q: Are high speed data connections avaible?
Normal wired connections are very rare and, when available, tend to fall under the same restrictions and charges as phone lines (see above). However, as more and more hotels install wireless network services, we may be heading very quickly to a point where there will be easy high-speed access in the dealer’s room.
Q: What hours and days are the room usually open?
The dealer’s room is always open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. At some conventions it is also open on Thursday. The room is usually open for set up on the day before the first day the rooms open for business and also in the morning of the first day. The hours are typically from around noon to 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm on the first day, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on the following days, and 10:00 am to anywhere from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Sunday.
Q: Are items left in the room overnight safe?
Items left over night are relatively safe. However, do not leave cash or unsecured computers overnight. It is also wise to cover your table with a drape (which should be provided by the hotel) at thet end of the day. And finally, of course, neither the hotel nor The World Horror Convention will be held liable for anything that is lost of damaged.
Q: Should I bring small bills and / or change?
Dealer’s usually round prices up to the nearest dollar so there is no need of change. However, small bills are vital and sometimes start to get in short supply near the end of the convention, so bring plenty. Tip — If you’re running out of small bills on Saturday, make sure you stop by the hotel bar around ten or so. The bartender will probably be happy to swap the ones and fives they’ve gotten as tips for a few twenty dollar bills.
Q: Are there any classes of merchandise that are prohibitted?
There are not any that are prohibited by the by-laws of the convention. However, individual conventios may make their own rules.
Q: What are some of the other typical rules?
Depending on the hotel contract, it’s possible that there will be no outside food or beverages allowed in the room. Smoking is almost never allowed in the dealer’s room.
Q: Do I get a free membership to the convention with my table?
In general, you will not get a free membership with you dealer’s table. However, you may be given the opportunity to purchase a discounted membership and you will usually be given a limited membership that will allow you access to the dealer’s room. So, though you don’t get a free membership, you aren’t required to purchase a membership either. All these specifics are up to each year’s organizing committee and as a result change on a yearly basis.
Q: How much do tables usually cost?
Table prices may be fixed or they may be discounted earily in the year and climb to the final price at around six months out. The final price is usually around $100 to $150 per table.
Q: How many tables do dealer’s usually buy?
Most dealers take one or two tables. It is unusual for a dealer to take more than two tables.
Q: Does the room usually sellout? When does it sell out?
The dealer’s room does usually sell out but not very earily. It is not uncommon for there to still be table available as close as one month out.
Q: Who decides which artists may participate in a World Horror Convention Art Show?
A: There is a standing jury that reviews all artist submissions each year and accepts or rejects them on a variety of predetermined criteria. The jury operates independently of any given year’s WHC Committee, and does not answer to any given year’s WHC Committee.
Any artist who has previously been juried into a WHC Art Show may exhibit at any future WHC Art Show.
Any artist who has never exhibited at a WHC Art Show *must* submit work to be juried before being allowed to exhibit, and may do so HERE. You do NOT need to copy this information to your site; please direct new artists to that page.
Q: How much square footage should art show function space be?
A: A minimum of 1600 square feet. If need be, you should bring in extra lighting to supplement the hotel lighting. If this is necessary, then the room will need to have sufficient electrical outlets.
Q: How much panel space should the art show have?
A: Assuming the art show panels are a standard 4’x4’ pegboard arrangement, there should be a minimum of 50 panels. In the case of other panel types, the same square footage should be used, approximately 800 square feet.
Q: Should we have a print shop?
A: Yes. If at all possible set aside an area containing several tables or panels in the art show or in an adjoining space where artists can display the prints they have for sale. This allows the artists to make sales of multiple copies of their work without adding redundancy to the art show. You’ll need to oversee this with your staff.
Q: Where can we find existing art show panel setups?
A: Try local groups that run Science Fiction, Fantasy or media conventions. There are hundreds of these conventions that take place across the country every year, many of which have art shows and may have a setups they are willing to lend out or rent. This has been a standard practice in years past.
Q: How much should be charged to artists wanting to reserve space in our art show?
A: Assuming the art show panels are the standard 4’x4’ pegboard arrangement, the fees should be one of the following rates: $20.00 per 4’x4′ panel with 0% commission, $15.00 with 5%, $10.00 with 10% or $5.00 with 15%. Panel rates over $20.00 discourage artists from participating in the show. If the panels size is different, adjust the fees to sell them at a comparable price.
Q: How far in advance of the convention should information be sent to artists requesting their participation in our art show?
A: Preferably 8 months from the convention date, but no later than 6 months. A follow-up mail out should go out 3 months before the date of the convention to remind all the procrastinators out there to send in their fees and reserve space. This also gives them ample time to have their work juried if they have never before participated in a WHC.
Q: Where should the art show be located in the function area of the hotel?
A: As close as possible to the dealer’s room and other function areas. If you stick the art show down some long hallway where people don’t just happen upon it naturally, then it is often poorly attended and the investment the artists have made in coming to the convention has been seriously compromised.
Q: What should the art show hours be?
A: Most art shows open at 10:00 AM. Staying open late, say 10:00 or 11:00 PM gives people a place to hang out and socialize with the artists. If the art show is left open, then people will hang out there. Put a few extra chairs somewhere in the art show so folks will be inspired to linger and talk. The art show should be set up on Wednesday night if possible. If you can’t get into the room until Thursday, set up the panels as early as possible so the artists can start hanging their work by Noon. Open the art show as soon as possible, once the majority of the artists have finished their set up, preferably by 5:00 PM Thursday.
Q: Do we accept artwork mailed by artists not attending the convention?
A: This is a question best left to the committee of the convention. However, if you are willing to handle unpacking, hanging, repacking and shipping the unsold artwork back to the artists, this can bring in extra funds and guaranty a full show.
Q: How many staff persons are needed to run the art show?
A: There should be two people who are largely responsible for the art show and know all of its ins and outs and can make executive decisions; an art show director and an assistant. Then there should be two to four additional volunteers who take turns manning the art show and generally helping out.
Q: What’s the difference between original art and prints?
A: Original art is what is created by an artist, no matter what the medium. Unless prints are hand-pulled—that is to say hand-crafted as opposed to those created by any photo/digital-reproductive processes—they should be considered reproductions.
Q: Should we allow prints to hang in the show?
A: Whether or not to include prints (reproductions) in the art show, in a print shop or hung with the original artwork, is a decision we leave to your committee. Whatever you decide, be careful not to discriminate between artist who produce their work in a physical manner, such as painting, drawing and sculpture, and those whose work is created by a method that produces no tangible original product, such as photography or digital art. If you decide not to allow prints (reproductions) in the art show, we suggest a policy of allowing artists whose work produces no tangible original to hang their artwork in the art show.
This should be limited to a single copy per image.
A: Chad Savage has prepared the basic forms you’ll need for your Art Show. Download them by clicking the appropriate links below. Review them carefully before putting them on your site for artists to download (you may also direct link to them here, if you wish).
If you need alterations made, contact Chad directly.
Q: How do I prepare image files for display on a web page?
A: Files should be prepared in one of two modes, Grayscale or RGB (Red, Green, Blue–these are the colors of light a monitor uses to display an image. The black in an on-screen image is an area in which the monitor provides no light.) An image file should be 72dpi (Dots Per Inch) the size you want it to appear on-screen. The file format to use is JPEG.
Mac users: Make sure the file has the .jpg filename extension, or it won’t be readable in a web browser or on a PC.
Q: How do I prepare images for printing?
A: The file format to use for printing from laser printers, postscript printers and off-set printing is TIFF. These files can be prepared in different modes depending on the type of image in question:
- Bitmap files (in the case of work that is strictly black on white with no grays such as line art)
- Grayscale files (in the case of images that are considered continous tone, such as black and white photographs, pencil drawings and monchromatic paintings)
- CMYK files (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK — for color images). RGB files are not acceptable, as they display much richer color on screen than printers can reproduce with ink.
300dpi (Dots Per Inch) at the size the image will be printed is recommended.
Mac users: Make sure the file has the .tif filename extension, or it won’t be readable on a PC.
Q: How do we determine who will receive the Grand Master Award?
A: A Ballot should be sent out with Progress reports #1 and #2 requesting members, both attending and supporting, to nominate a Grand Master Recipient.
Q: What are the criteria for recipients of the award?
A: The recipient must be living and have a many years in horror, either in film, literature, art, theater, or any mix of these. One can only win one Grand Master Award. (these criteria and a list of past recipients must be listed on the ballot to assist people in making their nominations).
Q: What is the timeline for assembling the ballots and notifying the winner and who is in charge of this?
A: Ballots have a deadline, usually Dec 31, so that the administrator, can tally the votes and notify the convention of the winning name. The person in charge of assembling the ballots is Mike Willmoth (P.O. Box 8068, Scottsdale, AZ 85252 USA, 480-945-6890 (home/office), email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q: What responsibilities does the convention committee have toward the Recipient of the award?
A: The con should invite the winner to attend as a guest of the convention if possible(all travel lodging and meals should be comped for this guest as well). This becomes the final GoH for the con. If the winner can attend, then the con can advertise the winner in PR3; if not, then the winner is announced at Opening Ceremonies at-con on Thursday.
Q: Where does the award come from and how much does it cost?
A: Contact Alan M. Clark (P.O> box 40776, Eugene OR 97404, U.S.A (541)461-3272 email@example.com) He produces the award for $100.00. The convention is responsible for this cost.
Past Grand Master Award Recipients:
- Robert Bloch-1991
- Stephen King-1992
- Richard Matheson-1993
- Anne Rice-1994
- Clive Barker-1995
- Dean Koontz-1996
- Peter Straub-1997
- Brian Lumley-1998
- Ramsey Campbell-1999
- Harlan Ellison-2000
- Ray Bradbury-2001
- Charles Grant-2002
- Chelsea Quinn Yarbro-2003
- Jack Williamson-2004
- F. Paul Wilson-2005
- Ray Garton-2006
- Joe R. Lansdale-2007
- Robert McCammon-2008
Q: Who should we invite to be our Artist Guest of Honor?
A: Anyone who is involved in producing visual art for the Horror Genre. It could be someone in comics, book and magazine cover and interior illustration, sculpture, special effects, photography, etc. This person should not be someone who has already been an Artist Guest of Honor at the World Horror Convention.
Past Artist GOHs:
- Jill Bauman-1991
- Harry O. Morris-1992
- Stephen Gervais-1993
- Gahan Wilson-1994
- Alan M. Clark-1995
- Don Maitz-1996
- Rick Berry-1997
- Bernie Wrightson-1998
- Lisa Snelling-Clark -1999
- Rick Lieder-2000
- Charles Vess-2001
- Randy Broecker-2002
- Nick Smith-2003
- Jeremy Caniglia-2004
- Allen K-2005
- John Picacio-2007
- John Jude Palencar-2008
Q: What kind of facility can host a World Horror Con?
A: Almost any hotel with function space of approximately 7000 square feet or more with a room block of at least 100 rooms will work.
Q: How does a WHC use function space?
A: Dealers Room requires at least 1500 sf, Art Show at least 1500 sf, Programming at least 4000 sf in at least 3 rooms (1 for readings and 2 for panel discussions).
Q: How does a WHC use sleeping rooms?
A: Besides rooms to accommodate attendees WHC also uses a suite for Hospitality, Green Room (for program participants), Program Operations, Convention Office / Security, and suites for publisher parties (not paid by WHC unless with special arrangements).
Q: What does WHC need to book a hotel?
A: Typically, a hotel contract (example available from the board of directors) will be sufficient to reserve a hotel for a convention. One or more convention committee members are designated as Hotel Liaison and act as the primary contacts between the hotel and the convention.
Q: Does the hotel need to have any food outlets?
A: Yes, attendees will utilize any food outlets, any beverage outlets, etc. pretty well. It is a good idea to have at least a restaurant on site since many attendees don’t want to leave the property to eat or drink.
Q: What is needed for a WHC Registration area?
A: Registration is typically handled by one or two committee members at-con, but can also be handling memberships pre-con. Reg has two or three tables in a public area of the hotel with access to power for equipment and a phone line for a credit card machine. Staffing can be one or two additional volunteers who are trustworthy to handle cash, checks, credit cards, etc. A computer is usually used to enter registration data, but can be located elsewhere for data entry after Reg is closed.
Q: What kinds of supplies are needed?
A: Typically, there will be registration forms for members to complete if paying at-con, printouts for members to sign when picking up their badges and registration material, Pocket Programs with the program schedules (supplied by Programming), Program Books with the guest appreciations and so on (supplied by Publications), etc. You should also have a cash box to secure all funds for the Treasurer to handle throughout the event.
Q: What sorts of hours is Reg open?
A: WHCs usually run Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday, so opening Wednesday evening for pre-registration pickup helps with the crush of folks already around, say 6-9pm Wed. Thu around 12noon-9pm, Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-9pm and Sun 9am-12noon or so since it’s a short day.
Q: What kind of special events can WHC have?
A: Just about anything a committee can think up; artists’ receptions, writers’ receptions, birthday or wedding celebrations, anniversary celebrations of classic literature, meals with special guests, screenings of TV/film/radio/theatrical productions, awards’ banquets, charity auctions, once-in-a-lifetime readings, even short trips to local events or sites that have some connection to WHC.
Q: Do we need to present our to the WHC Board?
A: Though the Board probably not tell a convention no on an idea (unless it’s illegal or harmful to the goals and aims of the convention) the board does have quite a bit of experience in what events do and don’t work. Letting the board know what you’re thinking can save you from reinventing the wheel, especially if it’s a wheel the board knows won’t turn.
Q: If we have an idea, how do we proceed?
A: First, decide if the event is going to cost the convention extra money. If so, you might consider making the special event an additional charge. Or, you might be comfortable letting the convention cover the additional cost out of revenue. Also, special events, though they are stand-alone, are part of programming, even if they are meals. Plan them as programming so that people are not torn between a cool reading by their favorite author and a chance ot have wine and cheese with their second favorite author. Also, be sure you have planned space well enough that the event is in a room big enough to handle it.
Q: Should we publicize the event before the convention?
A: Absolutely. If it’s a separate charge, you don’t want to have angry convention attendees who are on a budget unable to visit with their favorite authors because they didn’t know what the charge was going to be.
Q: Does the event have to be on-site?
A: No, but take care in planning something off-site. Anything off-site requires thought to transportation and possible food and beverages while there. Also, taking convention members out of the hotel also takes them away from the art show and the dealers’ room, keeping them from spending money during the one or two or three hours they are somewhere else.
Security (this is rough and I haven’t talked with Alan about it so he probably already has a bunch of this done)
Q: Does WHC need security?
A: Absolutely, even if it’s only the basic security of the hotel. Hotel security can offer help with parties that get out of control or with attendees not getting along or with attendees trying to be too cozy with other attendees or special guests.
Q: Are there special security concerns?
A: Absolutely. There will be two rooms filled with valuable art and dealers’ merchandise. There should be, at the least, internal convention security watching each of those rooms during open hours and there to lock and secure those rooms during closed hours. If the rooms can not be secured, the convention will need to provide security. That does not mean the committee chairperson’s third cousin’s best friend who once knew a cop. This means actual security, licensed and bonded. Also, during registration, there will be cash on hand. Who wants to have to tell the con-com that $3,000 was stolen because no one was there to watch it?
Q: Do we have to have security personnel at every programming item or special event?
A: No, only those that the committee believes could have a problem. If, for instance, your convention managed to get Stephen King to come do a reading and signing, security would be a good choice. If the biggest name you have is Joe Schmaltza and his Dancing Donkey, you can probably forego security.
Q: What does WHC need to have in the way of a treasury?
A: One or two members of the committee should be designated as Treasurer and handle all funds for the convention. There should be a checking account to deposit funds received and to pay for expenses that arise. It is highly suggested to have a credit card account to handle purchases (memberships, artwork, etc.) at-con. Pre-con it is not necessary to have a cc account, but setting up a PayPal account for online registration has been quite successful financially in recent years.
Q: Where does WHC start with a budget?
A: The board of directors maintains a skeleton budget in spreadsheet format to start with that each WHC can customize for their own use. Since income and expenses are unique to each WHC this allows a Treasurer to set up an initial budget for their committee relatively easily.