I went down to Columbus, Ohio last weekend for the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo (SPACE). This was my second year exhibiting at the show, and it remains a great show to attend. Thanks to Ryan Claytor and Jason Strutz for being entertaining road trip buddies.¹

Now, if SPACE is a great show for me to exhibit, is a whole other matter.

So Many Great Books and Artists

I bought stuff at SPACE, which says a lot. I almost never buy anything at other shows, mainly because I can’t get away from my table (or don’t want to get away).

And yet, I came home from SPACE with three newly bought books and one sticker (plus more books as the results of trades).

The books were Poopy Claws (art by Sophie Goldstein), Lonely Ghost (by Cailey Tervo), and Spiffy the Spacegirl/Weird Westerns (a double-book by Clare Kolat and Tim Switalski). Clare Kolat also made the Bacon Thief sticker I purchased.

space comics

Some of the stuff I took home from SPACE.

There really is a lot of great stuff to see, and buy, at SPACE.

Not My Scene?

I love attending SPACE, I really do. There’s a great community and a great vibe to the show. But, I don’t do very well at SPACE (at least not with my current offerings).

Last year at SPACE, which was my first big show, I took in $18.

This year: $24.

Both years, I didn’t cover the cost of my table (my minimum threshold for a successful show).

Yes, anything is better than $0, and I’m not bitter or anything—I still had a fun weekend. I need to rethink what I should sell at SPACE—which is fine, I go to shows to figure these sort of things out.

Different Shows, Different Crowds

I’ve said before how every show is different. What sells well at one show might not even get a second glance at another. Books are the big sellers at SPACE (heck, even I bought three). I don’t have much in the way of books, aside from my mini-comics and my coloring book, so maybe I need to up my book game a bit if I want to keep attending SPACE (and similar small press shows).

My mini-comics sold pretty well, but for $1 each, they don’t help me cover my expenses much.

To compare, at Cherry Capital Comic Con this year I sold a lot of commissions (and in the past, prints). At SPACE, I didn’t have a single commission, Random Cartoon, or original art sale.

Given to by my 'neighbor' Lee Smith (Ohio Chronicles).

Given to by my ‘neighbor’ Lee Smith (Ohio Chronicles).

Each show is different. I would happily attend SPACE as a Normal, because there’s so much great stuff to see (and artists to meet). It’s always good to see what other artists are doing with comics and reassess what I want to do.

What Sold at SPACE?

I sold 11 mini-comics (three separate sales, with discounts for buying three or more), three small prints (two black and white, the other color as part of a buy two, get one deal), and one coloring book.

Total separate sales: five

If my mini-comics sold for more than a dollar, my gross would be higher. But, my mini-comics are pretty bare-bones, so if I wanted to charge more, fancier (color) and bigger comics would be ideal.

I could get to the point where I start selling larger, color collections and don’t worry about the small black and white mini-comics any longer (or do and/or have them be free/pay what you want).

Two of the books I bought were 5 ½ by 8 ½ color books, which I could try to make myself (and sell for more than a dollar, obviously). Stuff to think about down the road, for sure, especially now that I’m regularly making color comics.

Next: In September, the Michigan Comic Book Expo. (Nothing in August? A MONTH OFF?! Hooray!)

¹ Ryan booked us into a hotel near an American Girl Doll store, which led to all kinds of unintended hilarity.

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Daniel J. Hogan is a geeky cartoonist and writer living in Michigan. Daniel is available for freelance writing and cartooning commissions (Contact Daniel). This post contains affiliate links, unless it doesn't.

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