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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

UK Comic Events: Hate me for who I am not what I write....

I was asked whether I could explain something I wrote on Face Book about UK events.  I shall, but if you feel that anger building up and need to challenge me on the point please do. I shall not be responding to your comment however.

At the moment, and I have gone over this before on CBO, if you earn a  living  from publishing or selling comics and it is not just for fun...you're screwed.  You need to be in a well paid, full time job or be plain wealthy.  That in itself is an irrefutable fact.

If you are to attend a one day event then you have to consider travel. If the event is just down the road then no problem.  Further afield you are looking at either the extortionate rail fares in the UK -if travel costs you under £50 you are well in but you are going to have to sell that much in stock to make it worthwhile otherwise you are already looking at a £50 loss. THAT is fact.  Return travel -you work out the cost.

The same applies to petrol -or diesel- if you have a car/van. That is an expense you need to cover.

Now, even if a one day event, if you have to travel you really do need to get there the day before to set up and be ready for "open doors" and that overnight stay, unless a friends let's you crash on o sofa somewhere is going to cost you -that will probably be £5-75.00 based on the prices I've looked at.  You need to sell stock to cover that or, again, you are looking at a loss.

Do you eat and drink?  Extra costs -even if you prepare food at home then that is an expense that needs covering...okay, you could argue "well -I need to eat anyway so don't include that!"  Okay.

Next, your table (and I cannot believe that after these prices some events charge you extra for havinbg someone help out at your table!!!).  You may pay (these are all prices from different events and I've noted the most popular are now increasing theirs even if they are using the same venue where hall booking costs have not risen) £80, £90, £100, £120, £150 and at others over £200 for a 6 feet long table. My response to that has always been a loud W T F?!! 

That is plain ridiculous and money-grabbing -I don't want to hear your argument: it is

A Small Press or Indie publisher has had to take all the expense of printing books, travelling to an event and also has to pay £80-200 for a table?  "No one is making them.  It's business -we have our overheads!" I hear the screams.  Bollocks.  You hire a hall or whatever for a certain amount.  How many tables can the event fit in?  Divide the cost by the number of tables.

You can fit in 40 tables? Each at £80? That's £3,200.  You paid THAT much for a hall. You are a fool.  40 tables at £120 each -£4,800.  "I put the work in to organise the event!"   Go for smaller, cheaper venues. Check out what grants are available or whether a local business will sponsor the event.

The point is -and it is NOT "sorting the serious out from the chaff"- that you want an event people will attend and enjoy.  If you are looking at it saying "I can make a tidy profit from this" well, I have no objection to anyone earning from their efforts -I just do not like profiteering.

Mike Allwood organised the Bristol Comics Expo -and others now- successfully but he told me several times that "if it becomes about earning money I'll stop"  And I think that is a fair point. 

Are you in this because you love comics?  Then organise it that way.  Do not do it so that you earn the maximum amount you can.  There are too many events now that are not about fun and promoting comics and getting creators and the public to mix -it has just become one huge corporate money maker.

For just three events I wanted to attend in 2015 the cost would have been over £5000 and that was if I could get past the Ebay style "We'll see if you win a table" -NO. What you mean is that your mates and the same people who attend every other event will 'win' a table.  I hear an event is about to open bookings and I contact them I do not expect to hear 30 minutes after "we are taking bookings for tables" emails go out that "all the tables are gone.

W T F ??!!!

In recent years comic lovers have taken things into their own hands.  They have started reclaiming comic events for the comic fans.  A two day event in someone's back garden (a nice big garden!) in Germany.  The Clallum Bay comic con organised by Donna Barr.  And there are others.

IF you need to sell books to eat then search for these events.

Perhaps I am , as my last critic on this subject said: "You a ***** socialist?"  No. I think that comics events should be there to spread the fun of comics and creating comics not to allow corporate bodies or leeches to suck every penny out of you while promoting their non comic merchandise.

So people hate me for writing this.  They can get into that long queue and see if they 'win' a chance to criticise me.....oh. No. Of course, THAT is free.  As speech should be.

Hate me for who I am not what I write....unless you've a guilty conscience?

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