TAGS (Tabletop & Graphic Storytelling) Festival is a free-to-attend market event dedicated to spotlighting Scotland's small press talent!We’re celebrating collaborative and visual storytelling in its many forms, from comics and roleplaying games to board games, zines and beyond.

What's On?

Footer illustration of a horde of tiny goblins riding on a seagull.

Small Press Marketplace

Browse the jaw-dropping works of over 40 independent creators, hailing from across Scotland and the UK.This curated marketplace emphasises perspectives that often go ignored in the wider convention scene, and features a whole host of new voices for our 2024 event.

Footer illustration of a horde of tiny goblins riding on a seagull.

Board Game Zone

Find lots to do, see and play in our Board Game Zone, hosted by Ancient Robot Games -- Leith's favourite local gaming store.Book into TTRPG sessions run by volunteer stewards, or drop in and borrow board games from Ancient Robot's wide-ranged library!The Board Game Zone is wheelchair accessible.

Dates and Venue

Footer illustration of a horde of tiny goblins riding on a seagull.


TAGS will take place on Saturday, December 7th at Fruitmarket, in the heart of Edinburgh.Fruitmarket is an arts gallery located just outside of the Market Street exit of Edinburgh Waverley Train Station. It is easily accessible by train, bus, tram and taxi.Fruitmarket is wheelchair-accessible, and the market will take place on the ground floor. For more information about travelling to Fruitmarket, visit the link below.

Footer illustration of a horde of tiny goblins riding on a seagull.

Friendly Spaces

We hope to create a platform that will empower small press creators in Scotland. To do this, we are operating under a policy of inclusion and respect. We expect anyone attending or exhibiting the event to follow it.As part of our policy, we are asking all visitors and exhibitors to wear a face mask throughout the event, if they are able to.


TAGS is run by Eve Greenwood of Quindrie Press and Brian Tyrrell of Stout Stoat Press. We are indie creators-turned-publishers, working in the comics and tabletop game industries respectively.We have first-hand knowledge of what the Scottish convention scene is like. We know what our community needs, and our goal is to deliver it!

Feature Artist

This year our feature artist is Letty Wilson, a brilliantly talented comics artist, writer and illustrator originally from the Highlands of Scotland, now living in Glasgow. Letty makes books full of goblins and other horrible little guys, and creates wildlife and folklore-inspired narrative art, by and for wretched creatures.

Curation Consultant

This year curation will be assisted by Nyla Ahmad. Nyla is a writer and musician from North Lanarkshire. She currently works in the Scottish literary sector, as part of the team behind Extra Teeth and at Scottish Book Trust, leading on programming Book Week Scotland. She serves on the Society of Authors Comics Creators Network Steering Committee and the Glasgow Zine Library Board of Trustees.


Have questions about the event? Email us at: hello@tagsfest.co.uk

TAGS is organised with help from:

Logo for Ancient Robot Games, of a small human figure in front of a rusted overgrown iron giant.

Ancient Robot Games

Logo for Quindrie Press, showing a dragon wrapping around the letter Q.

Quindrie Press

Logo for Stout Stoat Press, showing a grinning stoat yelling enthusiastically.

Stout Stoat Press

Logo for Fruitmarket, showing a stylised letter F.


Exhibiting at Tags

Important Info

  • Where? Fruitmarket, 45 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DF

  • When? Saturday December 7th 2024.

  • Set up - 9am to 10am

  • Open - 10am to 5pm

  • Packdown - 5pm - 5.30pm (we must be out by 5.30pm)

  • Table Prices? £35 for a half table, £60 for a full table. Full tables are 6' x 2.5'.


Want to be part of the festival? Here’s what exhibitors last year had to say!

  • “This was an excellent convention. Very welcoming and a great curation of folks exhibiting. It was busy throughout most of the day and the overall vibe of the show was really positive and nice. ”

  • “Really appreciated the masks request and was heartened by the uptake. The event as a whole did a lot to restore my hopes for the future of the indie comics scene”

  • “The attendees were really engaged and a number of them told me it was their first time looking into an event like this.”


We will be using our updated Curation Policy when assessing applications. We recommend you read through it before applying.All exhibitors and visitors will be expected to adhere to the Friendly Spaces policy while at TAGS 24, so please read through that too!


Applications have now closed. We're reviewing submissions, and will respond to all submissions by July 1st.

Exhibitor Timeline

  • Applications - Open April 29th at noon; Close May 31st at midnight.

  • Table Offers - 1st round results go out June 14th, 2nd round results go out July 1st.

  • Invoices - Due by July 15th (get in contact if you need longer!)

  • Public Announcements - TAGS website profiles by August 15th, and social media posts throughout November in the run up to the fest!


Welcome to this year's exciting cadre of exhibitors! You can sort through them by category using the buttons below, or search for custom tags assigned by the exhibitors.

A rich text list of all exhibitors is also available.

List of Exhibitors

This a rich text back up Exhibitors page

01. Chris Manson Comics. Chris Manson draws on his dual Chinese & Scottish heritages to create speculative fiction, horror, and satire that examines how tradition both empowers and hinders us.
fantasy, satire, comedy, horror, science fiction
02. Kai Dylan. Kai Dylan is an illustrator with a focus on comics and zines exploring themes of connection and self discovery through heartfelt illustrations paired with written prose.
self discovery
03. Tanya Roberts/Bluebottle Ink . We are an independent husband and wife comic team. We make character driven stories that are dark and paranormal.
horror, characters, paranormal, spooky, dark
04. JSNINGART. Ji Shuning is a comic artist who enjoys storytelling through brightly colored visual stimuli and often captures the unnoticed corners of cities and landscapes.
cosy, thoughtful, nostalgic
05. Jack Magee. Friend of the bees. Writer and illustrator of the cosmic and forgotten. Working on his debut graphic novel!
folklore, spooky, punk, eco-friendly
06. VER. Ver is an artist from Eastern Europe, residing in Edinburgh, Scotland. They like to write and draw stories about strange people and distant worlds.
fantasy, lore, monsters
07. Tettix Games. I'm a solo board game developer creating cartoonishly spooky games with a key focus on hand-inked artwork and dark humour.
horror, cosy, monsters
08. Demi Naito. My work comes from the desire to create a world where humans and animals live in harmony. I created comics about pigeons and mourning doves which won Mass. Indie Comic mini-grants.
nature, animal, humorous, self-help, mental health
09. Lost Pages. Weird Magic, Occult and Mystical Role-Playing Games.
magic, occult, fantasy, weird
10. Gustaffo Vargas. Gustaffo Vargas is a Peruvian comic book artist and writer based in the UK. He is the creator of Peruvian Cyberpunk comics and has worked for MARVEL & IMAGE Comics among others.
science fiction, adventure, action, crime, cyberpunk
11. Will Humberstone. Comic artist and RPG maker based in London. Latest comic about cute demons playing music. New RPG about spooky witches in a swamp.
horror, fantasy
12. Sammy Ward. I’m a self taught, tiny creator making comics exploring nature, mythology and the paranormal, steeped in fantasy and horror.
fantasy, horror, folklore, paranormal, nature
13. Door Ajar Comics. Door Ajar Comics is a small press based in Edinburgh, creating work exploring the Queer, the Gothic, and the Uncanny, and what may skitter there, just out the corner of your eye.
horror, fantasy, queer, uncanny, surreal
14. PJ Draws. PJ Draws makes Comics that try for whimsy. Producing a range of Zines + larger Comics you might recognise them from Sensory: Life on the spectrum
new talent, queer
15. Furtive Shambles. Furtive Shambles is an experimental game design co-op based in North Yorkshire. Our games blur the line between fantastical and mundane, occult and homely, absurd and sincere.
thoughtful, queer, folklore, horror, weird
16. Blackwell Games. Blackwell Games creates solo journalling and map drawing RPGS that focus on player creativity and building a unique emergent narrative that is different for each player.
solo journaling, cosy, hopeful, creative
17. Axe Marnie. Axe makes short, poetic comics on queerness, romance and disability through gothic fantasy. 2024 release Run Ragged tells of a dancer becoming werewolf, based on own experience.
queer, fantasy, horror, disability
18. Will Morris. I am a comic artist that loves to delve into historic eras, folk tales and ancient ballads to tell fantasy stories about rascally characters, growing up and finding a purpose.
historical, fantasy, relationships, adventure, folklore
19. Emseeitch. I am a Scottish illustrator and comic creator specialising in creating characterful and humourous visual narratives, to engage young people in wildlife conservation and education.
nature, poetry, cute, educational, funny
20. Belle Rowan. Part-Time Comic Artist & Game Dev, debuting Valley of the Blind at TAGS fest 2! Makin' cool Zine/Comics/Graphic Novels for those that also love Sci-Fi, Folklore & Queer Stories!
science fiction, folklore, queer, fantasy, romance
21. Thomas Heitler Art. I am influenced by Celtic artwork, integrating these motifs into the visual language of a comic page by turning the boarders of a panel into a non-diegetic part of the story.
fantasy, celtic art, science fiction

22. Sloth Comics. Sloth Comics has gone on to publish a host of French and English titles that are humorous or fantastical or both at the same time.
fantasy, comedy, epic, adventure
23. Fistful of Crits. We make indie TTRPG games and D&D homebrew modules and content with a cutesy, bright aesthetic.
cute, handmade, cosy
24. Shazleen Khan. Shazleen Khan is a comic artist and Illustrator, working in publishing. Their self-authored works often centre themes of cultural identity and islamic mysticism.
queer, autobiographical, slice of life, fantasy, drama
25. Nytastic. Ny Ali (she/her) is an illustrator and comic artist based here in Glasgow. You can find her hiding under her table or on her social media She likes tea.
humour, cosy, fantasy, mystery, light-hearted
26. Julie Campbell Illustration. Julie’s comics focus on the journeys we go on in our lives, and takes a lot of inspiration from the natural world – depicted with bold lines and a few carefully chosen colours.
nature, journeys, thoughtful
27. Will Tempest. Will Tempest is an illustrator and cartoonist based in the UK. His work explores strange planets and bizarre civilisations through the lens of fantasy, science fiction and horror.
fantasy, science fiction, horror
28. Schnumn. Introspective comics about mental health, neurodivergence and the general struggles of being a human being in an overwhelming world.
autobiographical, anthology, dsability, neurodivergent, thoughtful
29. MDPenman. Mark Penman is an illustrator, comic artist and lecturer based in the UK. He likes fantasy, myth, legend and enjoys nothing more than drawing weird little guys.
dark fantasy, horror, funny, creeps
30. ThirdBear Press. ThirdBear Press is an indie comics publisher based in Scotland and run by Steven Ingram. They publish BOXES Comic Magazine as well as graphic novels Holly and Burn With Me.
anthology, art comics, thoughtful, indie, slice of life
31. DishSoapAddict. Simon is a polish visual storyteller. His comics tackle themes of identity, community and friendship. Most (if not all) are based on his personal experiences.
retrospective, bittersweet, grounded
32. The December Garden. I create gothic nonsense comics and stickers!
gothic, surreal, greyscale, thoughtful, emo
33. Tom Humberstone. Tom Humberstone is the award-winning comic artist behind Suzanne: The Jazz Age Godess of Tennis and Solipsistic Pop.
historical fiction, poetry comics, film criticism, non-fiction, political
34. Rat Wave Game House. Rat Wave Game House is the design imprint for Kayla Dice, an award winning TTRPG creator, former comedian and wrestler, who focuses her work on themes of connection and alienation
queer, trans, social realism, thoughtful, alternative
35. Quindrie Press. An award-winning, independant publisher of passion project comics.
queer, fantasy, sci-fi, anthology, webcomics
36. CHIP Collective. Along with personal work by the founders Cat Laird and Ashling Larkin, CHIP Collective makes informative comic anthologies on a wide range of topics to make positive social impact.
anthology, biography, autobiographical, fiction, fantasy
37. Comics Youth. Comics Youth is a creative community organisation for young people aged 8-25, and we run Marginal Publishing House - the UK's first youth-led comics publisher.
anthology, new talent, autobiographical, fantasy
38. Biscuit Tin Comics. Four friends who love comics. Just like a biscuit tin has a variety of sweet baked treats, our collective has a variety of stories and genres for you to read!
queer, fantasy, science fiction, whimsical
39. University of Dundee. The University of Dundee is a pioneer in the teaching of Comics Studies. This table will showcase some of the comic work produced by University of Dundee's students!
new talent
40. I MISS MY FRIENDS' ART COLLECTIVE. We are ‘I MISS MY FRIENDS’, an artists collective of recently graduated pals hailing from all over the world! Come check us out for your fix of comics, artbooks and stickers!
anthology, spooky, fantasy, new talent
41. Stout Stoat Press. A multi-award winning games-and-book publisher based in Edinburgh with a reputation for combining tight innovative game design with bold, charismatic visuals.
fantasy, satire, comedy, horror, science fiction
42. Toadlett. Books full of goblins and other horrible little guys. Wildlife and folklore-inspired narrative art, by and for wretched creatures.
horror, folklore, wildlife, creatures, goblins


TAGS Fest will take place from
10am to 5pm on Saturday, December 7th 2024
at Fruitmarket, in the heart of Edinburgh.

Fruitmarket is an arts gallery located just outside of the Market Street exit of Edinburgh Waverley Train Station. It is easily accessible by train, bus, tram and taxi.Fruitmarket is fully wheelchair-accessible. The market will take place on the ground floor. The Boardgame Zone will take place on the first floor, which is accessible by lift.For more information about travelling to Fruitmarket, visit their dedicated accessibility page via the link below.

What's the venue like?

The marketplace will be held in Fruitmarket's "Warehouse", which is a wide open brick hall with painted metal support beams. It is cool, but not cold. It doesn't receive too much natural light, which prevents it from being dazzling or overstimulating. Overhead lighting will be focused on tables, so products will be well lit and readable.  Below is a a gallery of photos taken at TAGS Fest 2023!

Curation Policy

TAGS Fest’s aim is to explore visual storytelling in all its forms from small press creators.

This means that we’re looking to curate exhibitors featuring original, story-focused material such as graphic novels, comics, tabletop games, or other projects exploring visual storytelling.This year curation will be assisted by Nyla Ahmad. Nyla is a writer and musician from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, now living in Glasgow. She currently works in the Scottish literary sector, as part of the team behind Extra Teeth and at Scottish Book Trust, leading on programming Book Week Scotland. She serves on the Society of Authors Comics Creators Network Steering Committee and the Glasgow Zine Library Board of Trustees.


Conventions and fairs are often inaccessible to marginalised creators for a variety of reasons. Because of this, we will be prioritising applications from:

  • Black creators or creators of colour.

  • Disabled creators.

  • Queer creators.

  • Creators whose work speaks on an experience that is not often represented.

  • Creators from Scotland, especially those residing outside of Edinburgh or Glasgow.

For those who have exhibited with us before, we’d love to have you back!
Please note, we will be prioritising returning applications showcasing new projects, or work that is further developed than from the last time you were with us. This is because we expect a higher volume of applications than last year, especially from tabletop creators, and we want to give new applicants a fair opportunity to show their work.


Wondering if TAGS is the right show for you? If any of the statements below apply to you, there might be other spaces in Scotland that would be better suited to your work and your needs:

  • You are representing an established, large publisher of any kind. Instead, consider the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

  • Your work is primarily text (prose, poetry, etc) with no visual or interactive component. Instead, consider CYMERA Festival.

  • Your work is not wholly original (ie. fanworks). Instead, consider Anime, Comic or Fan Conventions, such as DeeCon.

  • The majority of your practice is dedicated to producing prints, t-shirts, badges, stickers, or other forms of merchandise. Instead, consider ECAF.

  • Your work focuses on fine arts, conceptual printmaking, or limited edition hand-crafted books. Instead consider Fruitmarket's Artists' Bookmarket.

  • Your work focuses on perzines, minizines and non-profit zines. You are welcome at TAGS but may find a stronger community and more cost-effective table pricing at the Edinburgh Zine Festival.

We are not at all interested in work that promotes hateful ideologies, or work from creators who use AI-generated images in any capacity.

What can I sell at TAGS?

Prints, stickers, pin badges and merchandise are an expected sight at most conventions. While beautiful, they aren't the focus of this event, and we don't want to set the expectation that storytellers need to have these things at their table to be successful.Exhibitors may sell some merchandise, but the focus of their display must be their own original material (comics, games, zines, etc).Here is an example of what we're looking for from an ideal exhibitor:

Photo of a convention table set up. On the table are two stacks of books, accompanied with spread open displays of those books on plinths. On one corner of the table is a plastic grid frame, with prints attached.

This is a mock up table display from our 2023 feature artist, Ver! Their table features their latest comics, and a concept art book for their upcoming graphic novel. Around their books are sticks and charms of their original characters.They’ve used a backing grid to hold up prints, some of their characters, and a few from other projects they’ve worked on. On the day, they had a larger selection of their prints in a fold out portfolio book for visitors to flick through.

Public Liability Insurance

If accepted to the festival, all exhibitors will be expected to have public liability insurance coverage for the duration of the event.If you don’t currently have public liability insurance, you can find advice for getting short or long term coverage in Heather Parry’s free book, The Illustrated Freelancer’s Guide.Chapter 1, page 33 covers public liability insurance, but the whole book is full of invaluable advice!

Waiting Lists

Last year, we had space for about 40 exhibitors, and received almost 100 applications. This year, we expect to receive even more great submissions, though our space remains the same size, so some applicants may be added to a waiting list.If your application is suitable for TAGS, we will let you know you have been added to our waiting list. If a table space frees up, we will offer replacements to the most suitable exhibitor in the waiting list. Like the rest of the show, these offers are curated, and not affected by an application's submission date.


You can cancel your table and receive a full refund (minus transaction fees) up to October 31st 2024, as we will likely be still able to quickly approach other exhibitors on our waiting list.From November 1st 2024, we cannot guarantee a refund. We will attempt to find a replacement for you from our waiting list; if this is possible, we will confirm your cancellation and issue an immediate refund. We do not allow for table swapping (e.g. giving your paid table to an unvetted exhibitor).TAGS is an event with a very small and tightly allotted budget. While we hope to offer refunds even for short notice cancellations, we can only do this once we've assessed our remaining funds after the festival has concluded.Because of our limited administrative capacity, if you do not show up to the event and have not contacted us about a cancellation you will not receive a refund.Please email hello@tagsfest.co.uk if you have any questions.

friendly spaces policy

We want TAGS to be a place where creators of all backgrounds can share their work, and all of their fans can show their appreciation.

Anyone exhibiting at or visiting the festival agrees to follow the guidelines below.

This policy will be arbitrated on a common sense basis. Creators or attendees who do not follow these guidelines will be asked to leave the event immediately.If you feel this policy has been broken by anyone, please inform a volunteer steward.


  • Respect the Stewards. You will be asked to leave the event if you ignore warnings to mind your conduct.

  • Respect other creators and attendees. Use correct names and pronouns; if you aren’t sure what name or pronouns to use, ask. If you make a mistake, apologise and move on.

  • Refrain from using offensive, hostile or intimidating language. This includes but is not limited to homophobic, transphobic, or racist language.

  • Be considerate and careful of your surroundings. Don't misuse, damage or misappropriate other exhibitors' or visitors' property.

  • No 'hard sales' or 'haggling' tactics are to be used.

  • Keep the event space clean and tidy. Don't drop litter, and don't block walkways or fire exits with boxes or banners.

  • Be mindful of the space you occupy, and don't block other exhibitors tables. For example, by having your table display hang over another exhibitor's table, or blocking one exhibitor's table by queuing to speak to another exhibitor.

  • Be respectful of the venue. Do not create any lasting marks at the venue, and be polite and respectful to Fruitmarket staff.


  • Works that promote discrimination (including but not limited to sexuality, race, gender, religion or age) are banned from this event.

  • Works featuring AI generated content (e.g. art, words, etc) are banned from this event.

  • NSFW or 18+ material cannot be on display. This material can be kept behind an exhibitor's table or out of reach of younger attendees with only non-explicit content on display. Games with these themes should be played with caution.

  • Trigger warnings should be displayed by exhibitors or introduced by players at the start of games when appropriate.

Masking and Illness

As Covid-19 is an ongoing problem, and many of our friends and community members are disabled and/or immuno-compromised, we firmly request that you wear a mask when attending TAGS, if you are able to.We will have disposable masks available for free at the welcome table, and in the board game zone. You are of course welcome and encouraged to bring your own mask, as it may be more comfortable!We will have signage at the entrance of the event asking attendees to wear masks. TAGS and Fruitmarket operates according to Scottish Government Covid regulations.If you are sick with a contagious illness (flu, cold, COVID-19, etc) please be considerate of your fellow community members and do not attend the event.

Children and Young Adults

Any attendees under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult at all times. The festival and our stewards take no responsibility for unattended underage participants.


Guide dogs, hearing and registered assistance dogs are welcome.

Cartoon of a seagull carrying a document labelled 'Report 23'

TAGS Fest 2023 Report

Our first event, the "Tabletop and Graphic Storytelling Fest" took place on the 2nd of December 2023, inside of the Fruitmarket’s warehouse and workshop venues, running from 10am to 5pm.A marketplace ran in the warehouse, featuring 40+ different exhibitors. Exhibitors could arrive for set up from 9am to 10am.A board game zone was run by Ancient Robot Game in the workshop, which featured volunteer run TTRPG games running from 10.30am to 1.30pm, and 2pm to 5pm.

About the show

TAGS Fest 23 was organised with the combined voluntary efforts of Eve Greenwood (Quindrie Press) and Brian Tyrrell (Stout Stoat Press).We dreamt up TAGS as a response to Scotland’s diminishing convention scene, where self publishing and small press businesses are increasingly being priced out of the events that they depend on for their livelihood.We’ve been developing TAGS since April 2022. It took longer to organise than anticipated; we repeatedly struggled to find and confirm a venue that was within a reasonable price range. It was through an existing relationship with Fruitmarket that we were able to rent their venues, and we’re incredibly grateful to them for taking a chance on us.Our aim for TAGS was to curate a show where small press was elevated. All of our exhibitors had at least one self-published project to debut, and the focus of all table displays was on published projects.

Declaring our interests

When organising TAGS, we wanted to create an event that we ourselves would be excited to table at. We did not pay ourselves for organising TAGS, but we did table at the event. Eve’s income on the day was £549, and Brian’s was £670.As you’ll see in our income and expenditure, we’ve actually paid significantly out of pocket to organise TAGS, and invested a significant amount of our personal time.

Income and Expenditure

Tables at TAGS were 2ft by 6ft. We charged £35 for a half table, and £50 for a full table. Our floorplan fit 29 full tables into the warehouse venue. We reserved a table each for Eve, Brian, our guest Artist, and the Welcome Table, leaving us with 25 tables to fill.We expected to receive between 30 and 40 applications; in reality we received close to 100! We wanted to fit as many exhibitors as we comfortably could, offering half tables to solo applicants and full tables to joint applicants.Ancient Robot Games received use of the workshop venue for free, in exchange for organising all of the free TTRPG sessions run on the day.

Total Income

We raised a total of £1,610 in tabling fees. We raised an additional £200 in raffle contributions from online sales and visitors on the day of the event.

Total Expenditure

We spent £1988 to run TAGS, leaving us -£178. Our costs break down as follows:

  • PayPal Fees: £54.00 (3%)

  • Venue and Furniture hire: £842 (43%)

  • Artwork + Graphics: £220 (11%)

  • Advertising (The Skinny): £640 (31%)

  • Advertising (Posters & Signage): £115 (6%)

  • Event Facilitation (T-shirts for volunteers, free masks, etc): £117.40 (6%)

Pie chart, visualising the Total Expenditure values from the previous list.

Unpaid Volunteer Labour

TAGS would not have been possible without a lot of free labour.Both Eve and Brian put in about 150 hours of work overlapping with admin, graphic design, negotiation and liaison. If we paid ourselves the national living wage of £12/hour we would be owed £1,800 each.We also benefited from the help of four friends on the day, who acted as our Stewards. They each worked a 9 hour shift (9am - 6pm). If they were paid the living wage, they would be owed £108 each.

How the event went


TAGS saw about 600-700 unique visitors throughout the day. Of those, about 150 visited the Board Game Zone. This data was collected by two stewards whose role was exclusively to monitor visitors and direct traffic.

Bar graph of unique footfall data. General visitors (in orange) peak at 120 visitors at 3pm, and boardgame zone visitors (in blue) peak at 40 visitors at 4pm.

Anecdotally, our window display drew in a fair few visitors in the mid afternoon who otherwise would have returned home via Waverley Station. Casual attendance was an unexpected boost, so we aim to improve our displays and signposting for our next event.

Total Reported Spend

Based on self declarations from the 29 out 43 exhibitors who responded to our post-event survey, we estimate that about £10,200 was spent across all of the tables at TAGS Fest.

Average Visitor’s spend

Assuming about 100-200 visitors just browsed and bought nothing, the average exhibitor spent about £25 each. This could have been spread out across multiple tables, or spent at a single table.Anecdotally, exhibitors have overwhelmingly reported that books, comics and zines made up the majority of their sales, even when other merchandise was on display. This was a surprise for most exhibitors, as books and comics usually go unnoticed at other events in Scotland. We’re very pleased to hear this, as this was our intended focus of the event.


We launched tagsfest.co.uk in April 2023, and began tracking its visitors in August 2023.Eve, Brian and our other friends gave out TAGS fest flyers from our own convention tables at events in Scotland and England from May 2023 through to November 2023.In October 2023 we sent out A2 posters to independent bookstores, libraries, and hobbyist shops that were within a 2 hour journey of Edinburgh Waverley Station. We also took out a ¼ page advert in the Skinny’s October edition, and we took out a ½ page advert in the November edition.Both the posters and the Skinny adverts contained unique UTM QR codes. We saw a decent uptick (30 visits) from posters, but unfortunately received no visits from our Skinny adverts.Anecdotally, we heard TAGS being mentioned by people we had never met, or had the event recommended to us by acquaintances who didn’t realise it was us who was organising it.Overall, our digital analytics showed our website saw a peak of around 50 users before TAGS, and around 100 people on the day. Otherwise the website received a few unique visitors each day.

Unexpected Difficulties

In the week running up to the event, we had several exhibitors cancel their tables, due to personal crises or illness. Where possible we were able to contact replacements from our waiting list, and refund exhibitor’s table fees. However, this was an extra load of admin on top of pre-event tasks. We aim to have a clear policy for cancellations for our next event.We also had a few no-shows on the day, and some exhibitors arriving to set up after the fest had opened to the public. We had to react to this on a case by case basis on the day. We’re hoping to contact other festivals to ask how they handle this sort of thing, and compare notes!

Exhibitor’s Experiences at TAGS

We sent out a post-event survey to all of our exhibitors on Sunday 3rd of December, and received responses from 29 out of 40 exhibitors.

Pre Event

Overall, exhibitors were very happy with how we ran table applications, our level of communication, and the TAGS Fest website.Feedback mentioned how we could improve the flow of the exhibitor section on mobile, which is something we’ll try to address for our next event.

Three bar chart diagrams showing numbers of ratings from 1 to 5, and their average result. Application process ranks 4.9; Communications ranks 4.9 and Website Navigation ranks 4.8.

Table Prices

Most exhibitors were happy with our table pricing for the event. While close to all exhibitors said table prices were “just right”, we did receive a range of custom feedback:

"Happy to pay a higher table fee if it allows the entry to the festival to remain free""[...] it was relatively easy to hit as a target so I could focus more on pitching and selling than worrying about making the table fee back.""[...] it was more than we pay for other events of similar size we attend"

Venue and Comfort

Most exhibitors felt safe at TAGS, and enjoyed exhibiting at Fruitmarket. The most common feedback about the venue was about the low temperature in the warehouse. While there’s no central heating for the warehouse, we are considering other methods for helping exhibitors stay warm during the festival.

Three bar chart diagrams showing numbers of ratings from 1 to 5, and their average result. Venue ranks 4.7, Accessibility ranks 4.6, and Safety ranks 5.

Additionally, we acknowledge that table placement along the back wall of the Warehouse was quite tight, making it harder for those exhibitors to get out and about. This was an oversight on our part!We did receive two reports of problems faced at TAGS, but unfortunately they were both made post-event. Our stewards want to help however they can, but they can only do so if they know there’s a problem. We’re considering how we can make reporting problems easier for our next event.

Exhibitor Income

Based on self declarations, the average exhibitor made about £300 in sales. This an amalgamation of two averages:

  • £273.28 - an average of self declared income bands, such as £1-100, £101-250, and so on.

  • £354.71 - an average of self declared exact values, e.g. £235.85, £495, etc.

Excluding outliers, the average range for exhibitor income was £100 to £400.

Bar chart labelled Exhibitor Incomes (self declared bands) and Exhibitor Incomes (self declared exact values).

Regardless of income, the majority of exhibitors said their income was similar to or greater than what they would expect at other events that were similar in size to TAGS.

Exhibitor Costs

19 of our 29 respondents declared to have travelled from outside of Edinburgh to attend TAGS. Travel fees obviously varied on where exhibitors came from:

Map of the UK, divided into different coloured regions, and responses for travel costs from each of those regions displayed.

Those Exhibitors that paid for accommodation paid an average of £100 for their stay, though we didn’t inquire if this was for 1 night or for 2 nights.

Final Thoughts

We’re both astounded by how successful TAGS was, for our first time running this event. Now that we have the momentum of one successful event behind us, we’re hoping that we can keep building TAGS to be something that our community can rely on in years to come.

Socialising and Networking

Several exhibitors self-reported earning £101-250, spending close to £200 in travel and accommodation, and yet they still rated TAGS extremely highly across the board and described it as one of their favourite events of the year.A phenomenon we’ve seen talked about in exhibitor forums is that a growing number of small press publishers see conventions as a chance to be social with their long distance peers, to network with other creators, and to connect with new audiences. They intend to (and spend most of their time) selling stock, but their overall goal is to break even, not make profit. This is because customers who enjoy one title will want to return and buy more, usually online and directly from a publisher.We’re curious to see how we might be able to facilitate this ‘long tail’ of returns after an event is done. We do wonder if exhibitors have seen an increase in sales post-event, as visitors return to purchase online what they browsed in person, or passed on to friends via word of mouth; it’s not something we asked about in our post-event survey.

Average Income

In terms of sales, most exhibitors reported that they made as much as they usually would at other similarly sized events.While we are proud of this as an achievement for our first event, we can’t help but feel a little disappointed, especially as some exhibitors said that making £100-200 was an average-to-good event for them.As creators who rely on conventions to bridge income gaps between big project debuts, we personally want TAGS to be an event that its exhibitors can rely on. We would be happier if our average exhibitor’s income was closer to £500, and the lower band of income was closer to £300. We want TAGS to give exhibitors a relatively sized nest egg for an end-of-year convention.

Balancing the Books

For our first year putting on the show, we had to make significant compromises from our full vision, and we still didn’t break even. We did expect this would be the case — very few things go perfectly the first time. However, with the cost of living crisis and uncertainty in our practise, we can’t afford to foot the bill for an event we’re also spending a lot of our personal time organising.The raffle was a bigger success than we expected, with many visitors buying multiple tickets to support the show. The income from the raffle definitely helped us cover the overspend in our budget. For next year, we hope to put together more books on offer (Quindrie and Stout Stoat bundles).Fellow exhibitors in the Scottish scene suggested they would love to contribute original pieces to some kind of ‘silent auction’, as a way of helping us keep the other costs of the show as low as possible. We definitely wouldn’t turn down their generous offer, but we’re aware that we don’t want to create a culture where exhibitors applying to TAGS feel pressured to help the show out by making art for it.Our goals for next year range from:

  • Small, such as buying in more masks for visitors, and renting an air purifier for the marketplace.

  • Moderate, such as buying visual merchandising, like banners.

  • Aspirational, such as inviting guests, hosting panels, etc.

We’re planning to apply to Creative Scotland for funding for our next event, and to reach out to companies for sponsorship (though frankly we don’t know where to start with that).We’ll also be evaluating what worked to support the show, and what didn’t. Perhaps new tactics next year can be used to more efficiently spend what we can bring in from tabling fees.

Tables and Space

We agree with feedback from exhibitors that table placement felt densely packed, and that some exhibitors couldn’t easily get out from behind their tables throughout the day.While the warehouse is large, the placement of its support pillars restricts how we can lay out tables. Providing more space for exhibitors would come at the cost of reducing the number of exhibitors we fit into the space. It would also mean that unless we get some form of subsidy, table fees would probably increase by £10-15.Moving forward with this, we’ll have to be extremely strict about our next event’s curation policy, and how we implement it. We hope that so long as we continue to curate a wide range of media/themes on offer, there will be an increase in the average income, as the total income for the festival is spread across a smaller pool of exhibitors.