I’ve begun being a little more open in some of the indie author circles on Facebook and other social media in regards to how much of a grind it is to be an indie artist (be it creative or performing). I figured now was as good a time as any to put some actual hard data out there on my blog.
This weekend was Tidewater Comicon in Virginia Beach (my area’s biggest local convention) and it was my second year attending in Artist Alley. I thoroughly enjoyed my time last year but was determined to make this year even better. I am proud to say I succeeded.
My first year at Tidewater Comicon I grossed about $150-160 in sales. Now, on the surface, I “made back table” for a booth that cost me $150 to procure. However, this does not account for the cost of the books I purchased to sell (my own Toonopolis books and copies of anthologies I am featured in) and some other ancillary expenses.
In order to calculate a true value of profit, I had to do a more complete breakdown of the cost of my books, cost of table, credit card fees for using Square, and some other things. Last year, I most definitely “lost” money on the endeavor. Overall in my author career (or “small business owner” career, as I prefer to consider it), I am still in the red (that would mean I have invested more money than I’ve earned).
That being said, here is a thorough breakdown of my experience this year at Tidewater Comicon, with a final profit margin of $67.47. Considering I was at my convention table for 14 hours (8 hours on Saturday, 6 hours on Sunday), this equates to an hourly rate of $4.82, or below minimum wage. When I tell people this gig is a grind, this is what I mean. Here is the chart of my performance this weekend:
Now, it is important to note that this is only calculating direct sales during the convention. There is a chance of residual sales (either eBook purchases or later purchases from people who walked away with my bookmarks, informational cards, or just a memory of our conversations), but those are generally impossible to trace directly.
As I’m moving into a grey area in my indie author career where I’m actually starting to profit from events (albeit marginally), I felt it was important for me to track just how profitable I was being. As I’ve had a good response from other indie or aspiring authors by being open with sharing my data, I figured I’d continue the trend with some hard numbers for those interested.
Feel free to reach out with any questions or followups if you’ve read this post and would like more information. 🙂