Noticed there are a lot of cons these days? The variety and choice is great news for fans, and also for creators of the small press comics scene who have a multitude of events to exhibit at. Small cons, big cons, niche fandom events – there’s a host to choose from.
For the small press creators though there’s a thorn to this rose. It can be too much to keep track of! The most perfect con two towns over might evade your attention until it’s too late to get a table. When does Thought Bubble open for bookings again? Am I on the MCM mailing list?
The relationship is symbiotic; cons benefit greatly when they can showcase independent comic talent. For many punters the uniqueness and diversity of an artists’ alley is main the reason to go. But how to reach us?
Exactly one year ago I tried to come up with an answer for this conundrum: ComicShowTables.co.uk – a simple free email mailing list. Small press comic creators sign up to one email list that aims to send out an email whenever any con, big or small, opens table bookings. Just one mailing list for all UK cons. It’s simple, free, and the website looks like it was built in the 90s because all the technology to do this is basically 20 years old.
For cons, ComicShowTables is a free way to reach the small press community. One email sent to the submission address will (after moderation) be in the inboxes of hundreds of potential exhibitors.
The list has been running for a year now, at the last count we had 203 subscribers and had sent out info for cons ranging from the gargantuan MCMs to Fort Con at the foot of Ben Nevis. Some of those emails are cons using the service, others come from the list moderator keeping an eye on ComicConventions.co.uk and other sources for news of when creator tables open for booking.
To date, the list has sent out 83 messages (a testament to the business of the con circuit). Most messages are still of the “moderator hears about a con and tells the list” type, but slowly more cons are sending their own mailouts. Though we try our hardest to get every con in the country, inevitably some slip through the net – if you’re a con organiser reading this please do have a look into using the service, submission details are at the site. And if you’re a subscriber, and hear about a con that hasn’t had a mailout yet, the moderators are delighted to get your tip-offs.
Ultimately I’m hoping to break down some of the barriers to small pressers getting into the con circuit – and for con organisers to be better able to have more numerous and more varied small press at their events. The talent in the small press community at the moment is outstanding, here’s to getting out there and showing the world!
To subscribe or send mailouts, go to ComicShowTables.co.uk