You said you wanted a new kind of comics convention. Something affordable. In a place where you could sell books to people who care — and where you might actually make enough in sales to cover publishing and travel expenses.
As a convention planner, I’ve been listening. As a creator, I’ve been taking notes. And as a fan, I’m invested in keeping good creators present at shows.
Like my state’s most famous Senator once demonstrated, it’s not just enough to cover and criticize the system from your media high horse — sometimes you’ve got to get your hands dirty. Although I’ve coordinated the Twin Cities Zinefest for the last few years, a comics show is a completely separate animal. Zinesters kind of expect that a zine fest will have light foot traffic and next to no sales — enough past zine fests were quietly held in galleries, garages and impossible to describe found spaces that the zine community almost relishes the opportunity to remain obscure. Although plenty of zinesters have evolved into properly published authors and journalists, many are content just to communicate their ideas and meet like-minded people. Therefore, it’s relatively easy to throw a good zine show. It is far less easy to throw a good comics show.
I’m working with a craft show coordinator to bring Minneapolis its first comics show — the Minneapolis Indie Xpo — which will be held on Saturday, August 21, 2010. I hope you can come! We’re working incredibly hard to make this show a success in its own right. MIX isn’t just a copy-cat version of other shows, it’s got its own values and identity.
I’d like to tell you why the Minneapolis Indie Xpo is going to be successful and why you should want to attend. It may look like just another comics show, but I’d like to argue that MIX will be an experiment — and future example — in what a comics festival could be.
- No admission fee for attendees. Anyone can come for free. That’s more money in attendees’ pockets that could be going to you.
- A half-table — 3′ of space — with one chair costs just $20. It seems reasonable that a creator could make at least $20 at our show because…
- Minneapolis is a reading town. We like big books and we cannot lie. Minneapolis currently supports at least five book shows per year, has one of the best library systems in the country, and is seriously comics curious. Our mission is to bring readers back to comics, or introduce comics to readers for the first time.
- Our show lasts just one day. Multiple-day shows are good if you emphasize programming because it gives folks a reason to come back the second day. Still, that’s one extra hotel stay for you, and when you consider that exhibitors have a table to man and can’t always benefit from programming, it made us re-consider the typical two-day structure. Our goal is to make exhibitors the main attraction, not the programming. It’s a model that works with our budget and our values. MIX is a “creators first” show. Therefore, our exhibitors will have the option of going home early and saving money, or hanging around Minneapolis to check out our city and party with our creators.
- We’re not charging attendees anything, so they don’t fund our programming. We’re barely charging exhibitors for more than the cost of space and table rental. So where does the money come from you ask? And where is it going? Well…
- MIX has fiscal sponsorship through a local arts non-profit called Springboard for the Arts. That’s a fancy way of saying that monetary donations to MIX are tax-deductible. Would you like to donate money to MIX and help us promote the show? Or make an in-kind donation? Let’s talk!
- All of our money is going into promotion. The best way to promote is word-of-mouth, but since this is our first year we need a little help! We intend to run a few print and radio ad campaigns and work with local media to spread the word. The after-effect being the show will be such a positive experience for exhibitors that those artists help us through positive feedback, blog write-ups, happy recounts with friends, and return to participate in next year’s show.
- Programming is brought to you entirely through volunteer manpower and grants. Do you have a programming idea for MIX? Pitch us! Let us plump your resume.
- MIX is a pretty great acronym — so we’re going to roll with it. Sticky roll that is. MIX will have its own bake sale. Yum!
- We’ve booked the city’s largest gallery for the event — The Soap Factory — which is as industrial and awesome as it sounds, and the after-party will be hosted by Altered Esthetics — long-time friends of the International Cartoonist Conspiracy and hosts of the Lutefisk Sushi show which will hang during the party. Lutefisk Sushi has become an annual event, so we hope to partner with the awesome mini-comics anthology for years to come. Because…
- MIX is gearing up for a long run of successful shows. We hope to make the exhibition experience exceptionally good, and provide first-time exhibitors with a particular great, affordable, learning experience. We’re also glad to join other fabulous Midwestern comics shows that show off middle-of-the-country talent in its own back yard.
- MIX welcomes web cartoonists and other indie creators. The Soap Factory has free Wi-Fi and plenty of outlets for your electronics.
If you have questions, or want to get involved, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the animated introduction to MIX if you like visuals: http://mplsindiexpo.com/press/animated-introduction-to-mix/
Exhibitors include Christopher Hastings, John Porcellino, Top Shelf Comix, Spike, Big Time Attic, King Mini, Uncivilized Books, Will Dinski, Noah Van Sciver, Chris Yates, Brittney Sabo, Tim Sievert, Adrean Clark, Tyler Page, Jordan Shiveley, Sam Sharpe, Neil Brideau, BT Livermore, Microcosm Publishing, Diana Nock, One Percent Press, and more!
But we still have room for you. If you’d like to get a table, begin your registration here: http://mplsindiexpo.com/register/
If you’d like to attend, just show up! Attendance is free and encouraged for all.
– Sarah Morean