OK to whomever submitted this … “I don’t want to sound mean” - but you do sound mean, and you are being mean.
I do get the sense that you are wanting to set some sort of realistic expectations for people who think they can make a lot of money at artist alleys. I also get and agree with the sense of frustration for people who complain about sales/how “good” an artist alley is when their work is not the most appropriate for the audience of a particular event.
But your phrasing comes off as elitist, and worst of all, discouraging to the people who have the most to benefit from the artist alley experience.
We all had to start from somewhere. Artist alley is great especially for amateurs. You get to interact in a (more often than not) welcoming, positive environment with other people who love doing the same things you love doing, in the physical world! You get to see in-person consumer reaction to your work! You get to meet and make friends with other artists who can support you as you all grow! You get to learn! This isn’t a professional art gallery for the established or something. I can’t think of many better opportunities than an artist alley for a young artist.
What’s more, people have a hard enough time building self-confidence in their own work. You hear this over and over and you can see it over and over in social media everywhere - artists are their own worst critic. The attitude given in the message above is one of the most disheartening things, another voice in the back of your head wondering if you will ever be good enough.
What is your definition of ready? How do you know when you’re ready? It isn’t a black and white answer. For god’s sake, you will never know if you are good enough. You will always have self-doubt. This happens to professionals who’ve been doing it for decades too.
I have events that I do well at and events I don’t. There are artists whose work sell better than mine, and artists who don’t, and it’s not always immediately obvious who they are based on the subject matter or quality of their work.
Sales happen or don’t happen for lots of reasons - the perception of your art skill is certainly a factor you want to consider. But it is also one of many factors.
So yes, be realistic with your expectations, but at the same time, don’t forget: You will NEVER know if you’re ready for something until you do it.
Also, this is a whole other rant, but people really need to stop selling/buying the myth that original work/OCs don’t sell. I know quite a few artists who sell mostly or exclusively work of original characters (including those with no story behind it). Heck, I probably count as one of them.
Sure, depending on the event, most people may be looking for fanart, and fanart definitely has higher visibility and accessibility to most of the audience. Yes, if you want immediate, short term return, fanart is an easier route to go.
What people for some bizarre reason don’t seem to understand is that when you create and sell original work, you’re building an audience for your own art independent of someone else’s established creation. Building an audience for original work takes longer, so you need to commit more time to it - but it is how you get beyond simply drawing fanart forever and being at the whim of whatever next new thing hits the street. (Also it’s probably a much more acceptable way to build a sustainable art career. :p)
I have a whole other long post in me about this, but I’ll save it for another day. I don’t rant often, so not sure if I will regret posting this later, but this is something that bothers me a great deal. Anyways, had to get this out.