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Jeff Alexander p2

Jeff Alexander from the Small Press Expo, or SPX, talks about how small-scale publishers handle distribution and other business...

READERSVOICE.COM: How has the Small Press Expo changed over the years?

JEFF ALEXANDER: I think that changes in SPX over the years has been driven by changes in the comics industry. When SPX was founded it was solely dedicated to printed media. While the show is still dominated by print comics you will also find many web comics creators exhibiting at SPX.
Additionally, the Animation Showcase reflects the growing number of creators such as editorial cartoonist Mark Fiore who are turning to digital or flash animation as their media of choice.

RV: Do you think it will become a mainstream media event, going the way of some of the comic-cons with movie actors and so on appearing?

JA: Oh my, I hope not. Our focus is on promoting graphic storytelling as an art form. While I won’t deny that a movie actor has the potential to increase attendance for the show, they would be a distraction to our core mission. Personally, I find the creators of the characters much more interesting than the actors that portray them.

RV: I was wondering how the smaller publishers, or self-publishers that show their work at the Expo, handle distribution typically, and what sort of print-runs they might do?

JA: Smaller publishers and self publishers generally submit to Diamond for distribution to direct market comic stores. I know of a couple who have opted to use print on demand services and offer their books on their own web sites. Mini-comic distribution is a tougher road. Most distribute mini-comics by mail-order, conventions, or a specialty distributor like Global Hobo (http://www.hobocomics.com/). For most mini-comic creators print on demand services are not an option since their product is often hand-made.
Print runs through a distributor are dictated by the number of orders the distributor gets. The print runs of mini-comics, especially if they are hand made are much lower.

RV: How did you handle distribution of your Kamishibai Press, and what sort of print runs did you do?

JA: I went through Diamond to distribute my book as well as exhibiting at several conventions … including SPX. I made the rookie mistake of not waiting for the order numbers to come in to place my order with the printer. I had surveyed a lot of self-publishers and they assured me that 750 would be optimistic for a first time book by an unknown. When Diamond told me they needed 1650 copies I had to scramble to get the additional copies printed in time for their shipping deadline.

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-copyright Simon Sandall.