SPX 2019 is our 25th Anniversary Celebration!! So we are on the hunt for extra-amazing Special Guests and putting together other cool events around this amazing milestone!!
We've learned a TON over the past few years regarding exhibitor registration by hearing from all of you, and we want to make sure you have all the right information you need. If you are interested in exhibiting at SPX this year — and we sincerely hope that you are — here's what you need to know for 2019, to be held September 14 & 15.
An SPX Exhibitor Registration Primer
As you may know by now, SPX has a two phase registration system that combines invited exhibitors with a lottery that in past years has led to a roughly 50/50 split. The two phases are staggered, which allows us to maximize the number of tables available for the lottery.
Every year that the SPX team evaluates our list of invited exhibitors on an annual basis. This helps us ensure that we can continue to bring in diverse, talented creators that we feel will enrich the SPX experience for everyone.
Every year we'll do our best to ensure that invitees to SPX will include a diverse, vibrant cast of characters — a mix of our long time exhibitors, large and small independent publishers, self-publishing cartoonists, international creators as well as newcomers to comics.
KEY DATES FOR TABLES AND BADGES
January 14 - Invited exhibitors will begin receiving notices.
February 1 - Last day for invited exhibitors to confirm their table space.
For the Lottery:
February 8th - The SPX table lottery opens.
February 25th - The SPX table lottery closes.
March 8th - Notify Lottery Winners
March 11 - Payment information sent to all exhibitors offered tables
March 18 - Reminder payments due April 5
March 25 - Reminder payments due April 5
April 5 - Payments due for tables and extra badges
For Exhibitor Table Assignments and Exhibitor Web Page
May 3 - First posting of Exhibitors List web page for SPX 2019
June 1 - Update to Exhibitor List web page
July 1 -Table assignments will be posted
July 15 - Updates to Exhibitor List web page
July 29 - Updates to Exhibitor List web page
August 2 - Deadline for submitting badge creator names to be placed in the Program Guide
August 12 - Updates to Exhibitor List web page
August 26 - Final updates to Exhibitor List web page
In a few months, we will unveil a new process to request changes to the names of your tablemates
Badge name changes/updates will be reflected in the semi-monthly updates to the web site.
SPX REGISTRATION: Invited Exhibitors
How does SPX decide who gets a reserved table?
The SPX executive committee will collectively review the invitation list each year to make this determination.
If I was invited last year does that mean I am guaranteed an invitation this year?
No, not necessarily. It is possible you will receive an invitation again, but four years into the process, we recognize the need to begin shaking up this list. Doing so will allow us to ensure that we can invite people that we think will be a great fit for the show.
If I wasn't invited this year does that mean I'll never be invited again?
Not at all. The invitation list will change annually. There will not be a formal rotation or cooling off process but our goal is ensure that the process is equitable. Not being invited one year does not mean you won't be invited the next.
If I am not on this year's invitee list, can I enter the table lottery?
SPX REGISTRATION: Lottery Entrants
When will the lottery take place?
The 2019 table lottery registration period will open up starting February 8. You'll have two weeks, until February 25, to enter your information. SPX will post lottery information widely on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr as well as our website. You won't be able to miss it.
How do I apply for the lottery?
When lottery registration opens we'll post an online form that collects some basic information. This year we are doing away with the randomized number generation to cut down on confusion; you will receive one confirmation email, and then an email at the end of the lottery. This registration website link will be shared widely on social media later this week.
Please note that we will not be picking the randomized lottery winners until after all applications have been received; this means there is no benefit to applying early or late (except maybe peace of mind).
You can only apply for the lottery once, and multiple entries will result in being removed from the lottery pool (unless you email us and tell us you accidentally clicked twice or something, we do have a heart!).
You will not be responsible for any payments until after the lottery is complete.
How will I find out if I won a lottery table (or half table)?
We will notify the winners via email in early March. Winners will then have until April 5th to confirm and pay for their table. Any unused tables will be carried over to the waitlist. If you are selected, half tables will cost $185 while full tables will cost $375.
Do I really have a shot at a table from the lottery?
Heck yes. We earmark a minimum of 110 tables (out of our total of 270) for the lottery. When you look at this in terms of exhibitors behind those tables over the last three years we've been filling about half of SPX via the lottery.
Will there be a wait list?
Absolutely. We store the next 75 names after filling our lottery tables and folks get pulled in every year from this wait list.
SPX REGISTRATION: Other Questions
I HATE this system. SPX, why are you so dumb?
In order for us to pull this show off each year, we need to balance limited table space against a bunch of ravenous groups that eagerly take all the tables! Big publishers, small publishers, self-publishers, local favorites, international guests, old faces, new hotness — all worthy and all welcome!
Our registration process helps us manage overwhelming interest in the show in a manner consistent with our core values. Most comic arts festivals are by invitation only. We knew that wasn't for us. But a pure lottery wouldn't work either. Community is what makes SPX. We had to find a balance that honored both — and helps us manage massive demand to exhibit at the show.
Why not just more add more space?
There is quite simply no larger facility anywhere in the Washington, DC area with the crucial combination of hotel and convention space — but the more important issue is that the indie comics industry is growing even faster than SPX, drawing more and more passionate, talented creators to the medium. It would be impossible for us to expand enough to meet demand without raising prices significantly for both exhibitors and attendees alike.
Even if we could locate a venue with a similar set-up and more space — and one that wouldn't totally blow our budget — consider that over two days SPX runs only about 14 hours. With 650 or so creators exhibiting, assuming an attendee stays on the show floor every single minute and wasted only seconds moving from table to table, that leaves a barely one minute per creator.
We want folks who exhibit at SPX to have the best chance possible to make money at our show. For the time being — and we're at the Marriott through 2022 — it simply does not make sense to seek a larger exhibition hall space.