- I generally consider a show or sales promotion successful if the Net earnings is equal to or greater than half of my Gross sales. This approximates my wholesale rate. (So if I gross $100, I need to Net $50 or more after expenses to actually make money.)
- In a massive cheat, I have excluded travel expenses from shows outside of Columbus. Just take it for granted that if I have to buy a plane ticket or a hotel room, I don’t make any money.
- I’ve lumped comic shows and other things I do into a general “promotions” category here. Some of the promotions aren’t meant to make money right away as much as establish my place in the community. Others, like tee-shirt sale, are done purely as money makers.
- Not included is my kickstarter from earlier this year. Its omitted from the perspective that I’d like to succeed without crowdfunding someday. Suffice to say that everybody involved in that made some money, including me.
- None of this includes my actual publishing budget. Most of that is still coming out of my pocket these days.
- I’ll probably run one more kickstarter before the end of the year.
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to try something new: A subscription drive without the benefit of a kickstarter or crowdfunder. I offered both a conventional delivery option and a local pick up option at two different stores. I enlisted Laughing Ogre and What the Rock?! as the local pick-ups, promising them a cut of subscription sales made for their shops with the expectation that they would help me sell subscriptions.. I printed up a bunch of subscription applications with a funny Elvis on the Toilet gag for the shops to use to sell the subs. While I did OK with conventional delivery subscriptions, the local pick up option was a horrible bust… all of the subscription sales were made through the Nix Comics website. Neither shop sold a single subscription in their shop. It was just too outside the realm of what they were used to in their day to day business. Given that all of the expenses of the subscription drive revolved around the local pick up program, not exactly an auspicious start to the year.
Brochure printing -$85
Shop Cut -$45
Delivery Subscriptions $745
Local Subscriptions $162
I run my own annual local indie comix fair at the Ace of Cups bar in Columbus. The AoC doesn’t charge me for the space, so it gives me the ability to keep expenses simple. I invite 10 or so vendors, telling them to pay me whatever they felt it was worth at the end of the day. I leave it free to the public to attend. Bob Corby usually kicks in some sponsorship money to get SPACE on the poster, website and social media.
Poster Art -$100
Poster Printing -$80
Table Fees $70
SPACE Sponsorship $100
Dayton’s newly minted Independent Comics Fair was fun. It’s a show where i didn’t quite hit my mark, but am going to return next year to see how well the show grows. Lotsa cool people in Dayton that I want to support, after all.
Table Fee -$25
While I’ve purposely left out travel costs on all of these calculations, its worth mentioning that My wife Kate’s family is in Pittsburgh area. That makes PIX a local show for me, at least in as much as I don’t have to pay for a hotel. .Sadly, even stripped of travel costs, this show didn’t quite hit the mark for profitability. That said, I gather that this show was a bit of a renaissance for a show that had hit some tough years. Another show I want to support and help grow.
Table Fee -$60
I was worried about being the "local guy who has sold his comics to everybody in town" at SPACE this year, but at Brian John Mitchell’s suggestion, I sprung for two tables this past year and I think it really helped out sales. One of my issues with going on the road for comic conventions is that I usually can’t afford enough table space for all of my titles and swag.
Table Fee -$130
Free Shipping Deal:
In May and June I offered free shipping in the US on any single issue of Nix Comics. After an initial push, I didn’t put a lot of effort into this promotion. I was mostly testing the waters to see if people would respond to a deal that wasn’t wrapped in a kickstarter sweater. (They didn’t. In the end, two people took advantage of that deal.) The risk here is primarily that if I sold a bunch of Kids comics at $3 a pop, I’d lose money eating the shipping. For the titles that are $5 and up in cost I get back approximately my wholesale rate after shipping.
This one is actually a little juicier than it looks, as I also sold a bunch of old records and comics that I don’t account for in these numbers. (Sales are Nix items only)
Table Fee: -$50
This was the third year for Athens, OH’s little con that could. Sadly, it was a bit of a down year, at least for me. There just didn’t seem to be as many feet through the door this time around. I was given a gratis table for being a panelist on the small press discussion, which was sure nice of them, but If it wasn’t for a wholesale order I ended up placing with Sam Berlin of the Wizard’s Guild, things would have been really grim sales wise.
Table Fee $0
This would be an example of a promotion I ran with no intent of making money. I promised Eric $10 per attendee knowing full well that I was going to comp subscribers and give away tickets to anybody who bought $10 or more worth of Nix Comics at Spoonful Records. Mostly I wanted to establish two things with this event: 1) Subscription to Nix Comics has some seriously cool perks. 2) Columbus rock n roll types should be supporting Nix Comics because I’m doing some cool stuff here. I don’t know if there are metrics that I could apply to those goals, but I feel like it was a successful event.
Wreckless Eric -$440.00
Ticket sales $207.20
Comic Sales at Spoonful $120.00
Derby City Comic Con:
The majority of my sales were on day one of this two day event. It could swing into the realm of profitability for me as a one day affair.
Table Fee -$72.23
A few years ago I commissioned three designs for t-shirts, buttons, etc. from Ryan Brinkerhoff. The idea was that I could keep a backstock of these items and sell them through ads in the back of Nix Comics. (Just like the ads in the back of old Warren magazines) That idea turned out to be not so hot from the perspective keeping a ton of t-shirts in various sizes in stock is kind of a pain. This year I decided to circumvent that pain by doing a round of t-shirts on a solicitation basis… Print to order only and only if I hit a minimum of 12 orders for each design. A few buyers bailed on their commitment for what totalled five shirts, but that didn’t end up hurting the bottom line too much. The end result was a promotion that made some money due to a kickstarter-esque vibe.
Printing (Shirts) -$414.60
I was really happy that the organizers for the Ace of Cups Helter swelter parking lot show asked me to run the indoor comic and record swap part of the event. They’re a great bunch of people and all proceeds were going to Grrrls rock Columbus and the Girlz Rhythm N Rock Camp programs. This was run slightly differently than the Indie Comics Fair in that I did charge the vendors a flat $20 fee. Those fees were donated to the two charities that the event sponsored. I wasn’t paid for this event, but I did avail myself of a free table fee.
Table Fee $0