Last Saturday was the first annual Small Press Day in Ireland and the UK! This was a new and unique event. It started as a Tweet and grew into an international event all in under a year! The event in Dublin was put on by Scott Adair and Forbidden Planet Dublin.
This was the smallest convention that I’ve tabled at! And I mean that in a good way!
My total outgoing costs for the convention in order of leaving my house to the start of the show: 14€
- Parking & Public Transit in Dublin: 9€
- Sunny Day Milkshake: 5€
What I brought with me:
- I didn’t count, just tossed comics and postcards in a bag.
What I sold:
- 2 copies of Hats for 7€
- 4 copies of Strong for 5€
- 5 copies of Odd Reels for 3€
For a total incoming of: 49€
35€ is pretty good! It would have been 40 but it was such a beautiful sunny day I decided to get a milkshake during my afternoon break. I brought a sack lunch, which helped keep costs down. Really looking forward to the day when we live in Dublin and my cost of attending a Dublin show is down to a short walk!
The show being free for exhibitors and attendees was the main advantage here though. I really can’t stress that enough, especially for smaller shows. Finding sponsors and alternative methods of funding to cover the costs helps out self-publishers so so much.
Dublin doesn’t have a comic shop like Gosh! in London that puts small-press/self-publishers in the forefront yet, but Scott’s effort and enthusiasm for this show gives me hope that that’ll change.
Our Table and Us
This was originally going to be a solo show, but at our last Stray Lines meeting we decided to combine our tables into one big table and share it with the members who didn’t get into the show on time. If Small Press Day happens again next year I look forward to having enough mini-comics to fill an entire table all by myself.
I could have skipped the postcards. I didn’t sell any and table-space wise it’s probably better to save them for solo shows, they just add to the clutter on the group tables. Kinda wish I’d remembered my iPad and digital sales though, that’s worth another try.
We had two and a half tables this time, so our books had more room to breath. I was at the main Stray Lines table with Paddy, Debbie, Alan and Gus. We had 14 books, so two thirds as many as we were trying to fit on the table at ELCAF. Our table sold 36 books, not even counting whatever Sarah, Elida and Philip sold at their tables. So both individually and as a group we did way better.
Our stand proves to be a solid investment. Still not sure about the credit card machine though. Only one purchase across 3 shows, thought it would prove more popular than that.
The Day That’s in it
It was a funny start. We knew the show was at Filmbase in Temple Bar, but didn’t know it was in the basement until we got there. There was a farmer’s market on in front of Filmbase when I got there and between that and the empty ground flood I could see through the windows, it almost felt like the whole show was off!
My confusion was probably shared by the audience since it was a very slow morning. Scott was hustling nonstop though, he kept running out with more flyers to drum up business. We got some help from the weather in the afternoon and after lunch the place was hopping. Never crowded necessarily but enough movement and people stopping by to feel like a lively show.
The panels came together a bit late in the organizing so it was no great loss that they cancelled the morning ones to wait until the afternoon crowd. Some miscommunication almost led to a Stray Lines panel! We had no plan and no clue what to say but thankfully our panel was bumped when the delayed panels until the afternoon.
Small Press Day
It was really cool that Ireland got to participate in a new UK comic day and it really made Dublin feel a part of the (much larger) UK comic scene. I even got my smiling face in Broken Frontier! I feel like that’s a good first step to getting them to review my books someday.
I really hope it becomes an ongoing event and I hope it expands within Ireland until all the comic shops are involved. The Dublin comic scene is still very much about flights and tights and an annual event like this could eventually help small press and self-publishers get traction.
I got to chat with Philip Barrett for a while which is nice because he’s in Galway and we rarely cross paths in Dublin. He fled town before I could swap with him. I managed a swap with Alan though, his two foldies are beautiful and I’m definitely stealing that printing method for when I need to print a short-short story.
Since we had time to kill in the morning I also snuck a bit of cheaky free reading in. Sarah Bowie’s Fourteen Euro in Primark is gorgeous. Her close ups of hands are so expressive!
I can’t wait until we have a home here so I can collect comics again.
After a funny start I was really happy with how the day went. It was a small show, but I’m still small-time. There’s a buzz that comes with traveling abroad for shows, but these local shows where I can actually turn a profit leave me feeling so much better about making comics.
I wish Dublin had more options for sunny day milkshakes.
Fellow Stray Line’s -er Matt Melis with another great summation of a recent comics show in Dublin!