This is SPX. This is your brain on SPX. Any questions?

SPX

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.

Small Press Expo

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. 

SPX lottery

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.

Comments

  1. Oh good gravy, we are in the same boat! Well, except I already got a table approved for my first con… I’ve been nervously trying to figure everything out as well, trying to get answers wherever I can. Someone gave me this link to an amazing guide for preparing for your first convention:
    http://comic-makers-club.deviantart.com/journal/Convention-Guide-308931833
    That being said, while it eased my fears in preparation, it increased them by the dreaded words “transient vendor’s license”, which apparently is something that comic creators hide details about like a magician hiding secrets behind their tricks. I think it might be because it’s state dependent, but regardless, it’s tough to find any information regarding it at all…

    • The company I work for (day job) exhibits at shows across the country, so I have gotten a glimpse into the paperwork and tax liabilities associated with shows/fairs, but it is still intimidating. I will definitely check out that link, thanks. And good luck to you (and Nate) with your first con!

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