Who needs drugs? Not me. A cup of coffee and thoughts of SPX are all I need to get my brain racing. I am embarrassed to say that I was not even aware of SPX a couple of years ago, but when I found out what it was, I knew I had to go. In FAll of 2013, I went as an attendee, and in addition to the excitement of going and the stress of the driving, my girlfriend bought a house that day. So, after packing up my copies of The Devil & Mr. Gandhi to give out, and preparing myself for this much-anticipated event, we also had to fit in a house visit, a couple hours of paperwork, and negotiations that went until midnight that night. Meeting folk in the flesh whom I had only previously known digitally from Twitter was a kick, and one of the highlights of the event was handing a copy of my comic to Jeff Smith. In the end, it resulted in my girlfriend getting the house of her dreams, and my meeting with some awesome people, and needless to say, the whole weekend left a searing impression on my mind, one that I will never forget.
So, just a couple of days ago I decided to enter the SPX table lottery. This means that if I am lucky enough to get in, I will go as an exhibitor in 2014. Now this raises many questions for me since I have never before tabled at a con or fair before. What books will I take? How many projects can I do this year and have ready to publish in time? If I don’t get a table, do I try to beg for a half table from a Twitter friend or pray that I can get something off the waiting list? How do I display my wares? I am already torn about either doing a plastic/acrylic spinner display or a wooden rack. How do I calculate how much I would need to sell to make it worth my while and am I ready to make this year my first ever year of taxes to be complicated by book and art sales? I feel like a panic attack is coming on. Some of the angry and frustrated tweets I see about independent artists about collecting, paying, and preparing taxes has me a bit worried, I have to admit. It is a bit overwhelming. I see it as a way to jump-start my creative production. I need goals and deadlines to keep me in line, and getting a table at SPX would definitely give me several goals and several deadlines.
I made a joke on Twitter about how I have never wanted so bad to “win” a lottery where if I win I have to hand over money! But in all reality, I think I was covering up some fears. I have my doubts and my anxieties, and not just about laying out the cash and the commitment of going. On a daily basis I see comics, webcomics, and art that I consider better than my own, and many of the creators do not exhibit at fairs and cons and expos, they just plug away, building up a bigger and better portfolio and a following. If I were giving out advice, I might echo other creators and say “Keep creating, for years, make over 100 episodes or issues of whatever you are doing before even thinking of printing a book or displaying at a con, or selling merch.” But on the other hand, time’s a’wastin! The Twitter community is so very supportive, and SPX was equally as encouraging, supportive, and downright enjoyable that I want to be a bigger part of it. So, do I skip SPX, and just keep making comics and maybe in 2015-16 start thinking about where to table? Or do I jump in? And I am contemplating all these questions several weeks before I will even know if I will get a table! I think I am ready to take the plunge, though. Maybe not with mind-blowing art, nor with award-worthy comics, but with good intentions and a willingness to step up my game by engaging with other creators. I guess I will cross the bridges of expenses, printing deadlines, and TAXES when I get to them? Why am I so itchy? And when did I start sweating so much just thinking about this stuff? Wish me luck, I guess. I will need it.
Feel free to comment with similar fears and anxieties or joyous stories of triumph when deciding to table at a con.