Above: Standing behind my stall Saturday morning. Thanks to Alec for the photo.
Before you read on I would just like to say that I have a mild whinge later on in this report. However I thought that the whole event and that the Thought Bubble helpers (in red shirts) were very sympethetic and totally amazing, so thank you. I would also like to add that I do realise that organising an event of this size is a difficult task at the best of times and not every one is going to be happy.
Friday 14th November.
7.00 AM: Start the day with the usual routine.
10.00 AM: Pack Car.
1.30 AM: Start the journey to Leeds.
2.30 AM: Traffic delays on the M25 mean that I’ve only covered 30 miles in an hour.
4.10 PM: Stop for a break some where around junction 21 on the M1, traffic delays are still bad.
7.10 PM: Arrive at Travelodge on the M1, just outside Leeds.
11.30 PM: Crash out after watching a few movies in the motel room.
Saturday 15th November.
5.00 AM: Awoken by my alarm. I grab a quick shower, a cuppa and a little breakfast cereal.
6.00 AM: Leave motel for Leeds.
6.35 AM: Park the car and grab an extended weekend ticket for £15.
6.50 AM: Wait out side New Dock Hall chatting with other creators.
7.15 AM: Picked up Posters from Stuart, Director of UK Comics Creative limited.
7.30 AM: We are let into the hall to set up.
8.00 AM: Have finished setting up the table and greeted Dave Evans (Bolt 01) and Richmond Clements who are on the Future Quake and Zarjaz table next to me.
8.30 AM: Due to floor space problems our tables are moved 4 or 5 feet towards the back of the halls.
9.00 AM: I have a very mild whinge to the 'Head Red Shirt' that I am concerned about the slight move which has already made a bad spot (in my opinion) worse by taking me away slightly from the main walk way.
10.00 AM: The doors open and people filter through.
10.30 AM: Future Quake have already made some good sales as more people flood in.
10.35 AM: Batking (Steve Hargett) pops by and drops off a few of his excellent convention guide and comic reviews which are well recieved by most people I hand them to.
10.45 AM: Not a sausage for me, people just miss my table all together, or as suspected pool in front of my table to get out of the main walk way to chat.
About 10.53 AM: I make my first sale.
11.00 to 5.00 PM: The rest of the day is a blur as I work hard to try and improve my sales (against the odds) and some time before lunch Hal from'UK Comics Creative Ltd' who have done a wonderful job printing Spectre Show, Martillo and Shaman Kane comics comes over to see how things are going. He gives me a great tip. My location at the back of the hall allows me to place a banner on top of my table which might increase my presence. Thanks for the help Hal.
Over the course of the day I was visited by 2000ad artist Ben Willsher and writer Alec Worley. I also get to meet various forum members, the wonderful Pete Wells, Judge Russel (I think?) Dandontdare, Jay Eales, Judge Burdis, the charming Integra Fairbrook as Judge Anderson, Hawkmonger, IZ, Rich and the lovely Whittle + loads more (apologies) I can’t remember everyone’.
Batking and his friend visit my table again. I was lucky enough to wear his friends brand new purchase (see picture below). Thanks for that. Also thanks to Dave Evans for the photo.
I make a few more sales however its barely a third of the sales in Bristol on day one, but thats ok I’ve met some nice people and had a hard but fun day.
5.50 PM: I drive to the Hilton Hotel where I am staying for the night.
8.00 PM: After I have showered and had a bite to eat I head off to meet everyone for the evening.
8.00 PM to 2.00 AM: Had a great evening chatting and having a laugh with Iz, Rich and Chris, Pete Wells, Burdis, Judge Russel, Whittle, Wiggz, Keith Richards and 2000ad art and script droids Henry Flint, Ben Willsher, Alec Worley and Jon-Davis-Hunt accompanied by his wonderful wife. Once again sorry if I missed anyone out, you were all great company. I decided to leave everyone about 1.35am and finally went to bed feel shattered at 2.00am.
From left to right: Jon Davis-Hunt, Myself, Pete Wells and IZ.
Sunday 16th November.
5.30 AM: My mate gets back from a night of banter and booze to get what sleep he can before the convention doors opened once more.
7.00 AM: My alarm goes off and I wake up feeling Dog-rough.
9.15 AM: I get to the convention and receive some well deserved stick from Bolt and Richmond for being such a light-weight. I sit there for 15 minutes feeling very sorry for myself.
9.30 AM: After taking a painkiller I decide to visit the shops for a can of Cola and some breakfast sandwiches.
10.03 AM: I wobble back to New Dock Hall and arrive a few minutes after the doors have opened. I hide behind my table while I guzzel down the Cola...can’t face the sandwiches yet.
10.30 AM: I am reborn and feeling great...I decide to Snarff the sandwiches and then begin sketching Dredd Heads and even a Nemesis sketch. (See below).
10.35 AM to 4.59 PM: Pete Wells visits my table and buys a copy of Spectre Show ‘cheers Pete’ and over the course of the day I make a few more sales of Shaman Kane, Spectre Show and Martillo. Around 3pm fellow artist Neil McClements visits my table and we spend an enjoyable 30 minutes or so looking through his beautiful portfolio, thanks Neil. I sell a few more comics and then its closing time.
My sketches seem to go down well and a very nice fellow 'Graham Cannon' who has just 'friended me on Facebook' asked if he could commission me to do a Dredd head for his Sketch book. I agreed, but added rather than pay me for the sketch why not buy one of my comics, which he very kindly did.
5.00 PM to 5.15 PM: It is time to pack up and walk over to the carpark.
5.20 PM to 7.00 PM: Myself and my friend start the journey home once more talking about comics and the laugh we had Saturday night. We stop at a motorway cafe for a bite to eat.
7.30 PM to 11.00 PM: The journey home is a little better than the one up. I drop my friend off and head home for some well deserved sleep in my own bed...FANTASTIC!
Well like many of the small press creators out there I don't do it for the money. I do it because I love it, I hope to build up a readership over time and maybe...just maybe I'll get picked up if I work hard and I'm good enough. Even though most of us expect to make a loss we do however expect to get back a fair portion of our costs...but you pay your money, you takes your chances. Saying that here are a few figures for the weekend.
Hotel for 2 nights: £96.50p While waiting for confirmation of a table I lost out. So more fool me as most people decided to book the cheap hotels right away and then cancel at the last moment if let down on table placement.
Petrol Costs: £60.00p approx there and back.
Carparking for the weekend: £27.00p
I used 2 carparks rather than taking taxis as my hotel was a distance away.
Convention Table: £100.00p.
Food and Drink for 2 days: £30.00p.
Sorry, I'm not going to give the figures for this, however I took just over a third of what I took in Bristol. After paying £100 for a table in a very poor position at TB I'm not happy...especially if people with cheaper smaller tables were near the front of the hall?
Once again though it was a great event, I had a good time and met some wonderful people...so thanks to the organisers and everyone that made that happen.