This was my first time both attending and tabling at Canzine as the past few years, I have been out of the city while this event was held. Tabling solo means I wasn’t able to attend any of the events I wanted to see, especially Queer Zine Fair Toronto. But both my table mates (Gart @ Rotten Variety and Jess Sheridan) were awesome; I only wish I’d had more time to chat with them.
I thought Canzine would be quieter than TCAF, but foot traffic became very tight and at peak volumes, there was serious bottlenecking. Every single attendee I spoke with was enjoying the event but also described the fair as overwhelming. I felt the same way – so many awesome things crammed into two rooms!
My advice to attendees in regard to feeling overwhelmed is to have some kind of idea of what you’re looking for before arriving (Comics? Feminist material? Fan art? Something naughty?) so that people tabling can help you. My advice for tablers is to show up early to snag prime tables as it’s first come, first served. The official setup time was 11:00-12:30 but I was told that people began lining up around 10:00. Toronto! Also, on the topic of tight space, there was not much room behind the tables – only one chair – so it’s not really designed for zinesters to split a table.
The good thing about such an early set up time lead (the event didn’t begin until 1:00) is that it gives you time to scope out the other tables. I’ve also learned that one should do this early on in a fest or convention because everyone’s inventory will be full and there will be less attendees milling about so you won’t miss as many sales. Interestingly, there were a lot of people trading at Chicago Zine Fair but in Toronto, it seemed like a culture of “if you want something, please pay” was in effect.
I’m also happy to report that the low tabling fees/travel costs + steady sales meant that Canzine was more profitable than I’d expected. My table mate also did well despite pricing everything below $5. Considering the short event time (6 hours), I think it’s well worth tabling there.
Like my experiences tabling anywhere, I met a lot of amazing people and discovered new artists which is why I love coming out to table. Chester Brown was walking about so I cheerfully gave him a postcard to thank him for all the comics I’ve enjoyed. Although I think he blanched somewhat from the attention! I also was able to chat with people I usually interact with online which was great.
HUGE thanks to all the Canzine organizers, sponsors and volunteers for the great event ❤ And a special SO to everyone who showed an interest in my work. Now to dig into my copy of broken pencil…