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Pros at the 'Con -- pros and cons

For the cost of $300, it can buy you a table in the Small Press Pavilion. But the cost of tabling rises every year given the already limited floor space at the San Diego Convention Center, even with the new expansion that was added a few years ago. Four years ago, the cheapest price of a table was only $150.

The obvious advantages of having a small press table are plenty. The foremost is the exposure for your comic and gaining potential new readers.

Two exhibitor passes are included (two four-day passes can cost up to $130, depending on how early you register). In the long run, it means a place to stash stuff. No electrical outlet is included but there's plenty of space under the table and behind the chairs for potential purchases. No need to lug around a big box purchase all day long.

Also access to the hall is extended to exhibitors. Doors are opened early for set up every day and exhibitors can stay long after attendees are dismissed at the end of the day.

Yet there are disadvantages. There is that need to sell enough items to pay for the cost of the table. Table prices rises every year and with that is the pressure to sell even more merchandise for many exhibitors. Sometimes selling one dollar buttons and booklets aren't enough.

The flipside of extended hall hours for exhibitors is also a curse. Exhibitors are expected to man their tables during the entire course of the convention. This means having the table ready before the doors open and until after attendees leave. Besides potential theft of products on your table, convention promoters often make rounds to see that tables are manned and set up. Rumor has it that if promoters see a table not manned, they may not allow that exhibitor to "table" next time.

Leaving the table to attend a panel or walk around the floor is impossible unless the co-exhibitor doesn't mind manning the table alone.

Hours are long and, for many, activity comes in cycles. There are the early morning bursts followed by long lulls. People can be waiting to speak to the creator or buy a book, leaving the exhibitor too busy to take a bite of lunch. There are also stretches of time left alone that is good for people watching and doodling.

One intangible that cannot be underestimated is the long-term friendships you make with both your fans and fellow exhibiting creators. In many ways, that's worth more than what's in your cashbox at the end of Sunday. In the long run, exhibiting outweighs not having a table.

... or a friend or a family

... or a friend or a family member... I found when I was in a table with a group that it was more difficult to get people's attention focused on your work unless you had a REALLY strong visual hook. ~<a xhref="">leonard</a>

<a xhref="">~leonard</a>

It sounds something that may

Gianna's picture

It sounds something that may be fun to do if you share the table with another cartoonist (so you can take the occasional break without imposing on neighbour exhibitors). Â

-------- Gianna Masetti

Gianna Masetti

Wouldn't have it any other way

I've been to the Comic-Con as a fan, 'pro' speaker, and an exhibitor, twice in Small Press and once at a table with The Nice collective and of all those, I prefer being in Small Press over any of them and even prefer being an exhibitor than a fan. Yes, there are lulls, but as long as you don't go in expecting to make a lot of money, you'll really get a lot out of the experience. Definitely something every cartoonist should do at least once.Â

<a xhref="">~leonard</a>

This my tenth Wizard World

Scott Story's picture

This my tenth Wizard World Chicago show, but that's the only show I do a year, partly because it's within driving distance, and because it's always a good show. I've done others, like Detroit or Pittsburgh, and lots of little shows, but not anymore. As far as webcomics go, I believe the way to reach fans is on the web, not at shows so much.Â

I did all those shows because I came from the world of indy print comics, but maybe I need to rethink the show thing.

I've had a small press table

Fabricari's picture

I've had a small press table twice at SDCC and want to have one again. I passed this year, because I just didn't have enough to show this time around.

It's true that you never get time to eat. But it's also true that meeting all those people are awesome. I've found that many people will eventually make it to every corner of the floor including yours so it's a convenient way to meet pros, vendors and fans.

If you need to take a break, most times, the exhibitor next to you doesn't mind watchin your table.

It's worth the experience - at least once. IMO.Â

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

If someone GAVE me a table

djcoffman's picture

If someone GAVE me a table there in the small press section, I wouldn't take it. I saw so many webcomic guys, indy comic guys who pretty much had front row seat to the "STARE AT PEOPLES SWEATY ASSES SHOW!" -- if you're a bigger collective and can get closer to the action, that seemed alright- The little Webcomic core there was busy it sure looked like-- but over in the small press comics section.. WHEW. I dont envy them. Even Artist Alley seemed like the ASS SHOW part 2.

The rumor about a table not manned is probably to scare you. They likely mean if you book one and then you bail. They'll mark that down.

Seriously though, it's hard to compete in a room like that. Giant Snake Mouths and such to walk in? Yeah, I was glad to just be there walking around and having freedom to escape. But i'm also a hermit.