Conventions and Marketplaces
This page contains a list of all conventions, festivals and marketplaces where one may look to set up a store to sell books. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and there is no guarantee that there will be any sales generated from these venues. However, you never know where a loyal reader may appear, so they are worth giving it a go especially if you're able to split costs in a group.
This list is maintained by me, Queenie Chan. I'm a comic book artist, so this list is geared to people like me, though I list all and any event where any kind of book-related product can be sold.
All contributions, *(stars) and comments to this list will be welcome. Please contact me at the contact form link in the footer below. Go here for additional info on insurance for market stalls.
- *(1) Oz Comic-Con - Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane - At Oz Comic-Con, come meet your favourite celebrity guests, shop our expansive show floors full of the latest merchandise, game on in the gaming zone, don your favourite cosplay, bring the kids for a family day out and more! If you're not there, you're missing out!
- *(1) Supanova - Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane, Gold Coast - Supanova Pop Culture Expo, since 2000, is where the adoring public comes face to face with Supa-Star celebrities and the creative talent that inspire their imaginary worlds under one big roof.
- NatCon/Contact - Yearly - The Australian National Science Fiction Convention or Natcon is an annual science fiction convention. The Ditmar Award has been awarded at the convention since 1969 to recognise achievement in Australian science fiction (including fantasy and horror) and science fiction fandom.
New South Wales
- SMASH! - Rosehill Racecourse - One of the biggest anime/manga fan conventions around, this really isn't the best place to sell your work unless your work has a strong anime/manga flavour to it. Original works also fair somewhat poorly there, since the focus is on Japanese fan culture. That said, I last went in Aug2016, and sold a surprising number of books, so there is an audience there occasionally. This con is an unpredictable on when it comes to sales.
- *(1) ComicGong - Wollongong Town Hall - A fantastic little library event that has cheap tables, and is well-attended with families and people who have an interest in locally produced books and comics.
- Book Expo Australia - Rosehill Racecourse
- Bezerka Con - Croydon/Burwood - I went to this in July 2016, and I'm afraid there just wasn't enough people to justify going. I got a few book sales out of it, but the organiser was ill this year and so wasn't able to give it the marketing it needed. The organisers followed up with a survey and an email though, and made an effort to make the vendors feel welcome, so I believe they are at least serious about trying to make this con work.
- PopCon - Parramatta
- Glebe Markets - Glebe - This has been held for years, and is mostly a market for second-hand goods, whether they be books or handbags or scarves. It's not the best place unless your books are cheap, because you'll be competing with a garage-sale mentality of the buyers.
- The Brewery Yard Market - Central Park, Central - This marketplace is more upscale and artisanal in its vendors, clientele and location. Whether you're a lumbersexual or a soapmaker using environmentally-cuddly materials, you'll fit right in if your work is well-branded and artfully designed.
- *(1) Comic Con-versation - Multiple Libraries - This is a fast-growing, week-long library festival started by Karen Dwarte of Ashfield Library in 2004. It has grown to encompass over a dozen libraries in Sydney, and is focused on promoting the works of local comic book artists. It's a week-long event culminating in a small con at Ashfield library, attended by comic fans and families. If you've got a good mix of family-friendly works and more adult material, good for you!
- MCA Zine Fair - The Rocks - This is primarily a zine fair, run by the Museum of Contemporary Art. They can be quite strict with their submission policy, demanding more zines than actual books, so if you've got an artistic flair that expresses itself mainly in floppies plus a few books, shack up here!
- Manly Library Zine Fair - Manly Library
- Sydney Sci-Fi and Pop Culture Fair - Granville - I went to this in Aug 2016, and really not suited for selling books at all, not to mention turn out was low. It's more of a collectables and toys show (despite the name), and most people who turned up seemed more interested in trading cards. Still, quite low turn out due to the location (far from public transport), which is the biggest problem.
- Other Worlds Zine Fair - Marrickville
- Young Writer's Festival Zine Fair - Newcastle
- Kings Comics Zine Fair - Sydney
- Hurstville Music and Collectables Fair - Hurstville
- Contiuum - Melbourne - Continuum is an annual fan run speculative fiction and pop culture convention. From science-fiction to epic fantasy and everything in between, Continuum runs every year on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend. More of a fan convention, but a dealer room exists, so if this your tribe you should take this great opportunity to meet fans, school and public librarians and network with the Melbourne spec-fic community.
- SPN Independent Publishing Conference - Melbourne - The Small Press Network is definitely not a con or a market, but a publishing conference targeted towards small publishers. There's dealer's tables for publishers to ply their wares, but it's a professional publishing conference where one goes to educate themselves and share publishing-related info, not a place to find fans/readers.
- AMC Expo - Melbourne - The Australian Movie and Comic Expo was formally known as Armageddon. It's Melbourne’s ultimate entertainment event featuring gaming, fantasy, multimedia & family events.
- Bendigo Record, Comic & Toy Fair - Bendigo
- Box Hill Record and Comic Fair - Melbourne
- Homecooked Comics Festival - Melbourne
- Nerdmania - Shepparton
- Sticky Institute Festival of the Photocopier - Melbourne
- Deza Con - Melbourne
- Melbourne Art Book Fair - Melbourne
- Comic Street - Brisbane - Comic Street is a small comics market event being run by artists - for artists. It's in the heart of Brisbane's CBD.
- Sugar City Con - Mackay
- Zines and Indie Comics Symposium
Australian Capital Territory
- Conflux - Canberra - The Conflux Science Fiction Convention is an annual science fiction convention held in Canberra, Australia since 2004. Conflux has built on the CSFcons (Canberra Science Fiction Conventions), held in the early noughties.
- ACAF - Canberra - The Australian Comics Arts Festival is an annual professional development conference for graphic novelists. It's got an artist's alley on the Sunday, where you can sell books, but the focus is more on fellow creators rather than fans.
- Noted Independent Publishing Fair - Canberra
- Canberra Writers Festival - Canberra
- GAMMA Con - Canberra
- OtakuFest - Canberra - This is held by one of our participating bookstores, Impact Comics!
- SwanCon - Perth - SwanCon is Australia's longest running Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction Convention and is the premiere event in Perth for fans of all forms of media.
- Chaos Pop! Culture Convention vol2 - Perth
- Nexus Toy Fair - Perth
- Collector Zone & Hobby Fair - Joondalup
- Evolve Pop Culture Expo - Mt Claremont
- Tosche Collector Fair - Perth
- *(1) AlCon - Hobart - A yearly anime/manga festival in Tasmania, whose enthusiasm counters the freezing weather. The crowd is anime/manga and therefore Japanese pop-culture centric, and original content with the right appeal can gain a bit of traction here.
- El Grande Small Press Hobart Zine & Art Fair - Hobart
- Her Majestys Favourite Really Great Graphic Festival - Hobart
*(1) - This is a marker that I add to market events that I've been to, and whether I sold enough books there. "Enough books" is a relative term, so before you leap at a certain event, have a look at my storefront to see what kind of books I sell - just because my work sells at one venue, doesn't mean yours will too. I should also mention that I'm often a special guest at the events I attend, and so get free perks (like tables).
Many market stalls in Australia require public liability insurance, in case someone (employees included) gets injured while in the vicinity of your market stall. The best places to get insurance for individuals and small businesses is AAMI, where you can get a $10 million or $20 million insurance policy (much better to get $20 million because some markets require $20 million) for a fixed period of time.
A word of warning: Such insurance policies covers only you (the name of whoever is on the policy) and your employees. So if you're getting a policy for a gorup of people, be very careful what the others are selling. Typical insurance policies for market stalls don't cover the goods you're selling unless you choose that (more expensive) option, so if someone occupying your space sells something that injures someone, YOU will be liable. However, if you stick to selling books and other paper products like prints, bookmarks, etc, it's unlikely to cause trouble.