As with last year, we drove up on the Friday afternoon to Belton village where Elyssa's father and his partner live, stayed the night, and we were all up early on Saturday to drive the remaining one hour forty into Leeds, again, as with last year, in thick fog (but this time no accidents or diversions). It was nice having the extra hands to carry my wares into the venue, but then I was on my own for the day as Ellie and family went off into the city for shopping and museums. But I was delighted to find myself next to David O'Connell (Tozo and Queen Mum Adventures) and Ellen Lindner (Whores of Mensa and Undertow), which all went to make an enjoyable day even more enjoyable.
I don't have a lot to report really as I spent a good 80% of my time selling books and sketching, selling the first book 15 minutes before the doors opened, and the last one 10 minutes after they closed. I sold 62 books - one less than at MCM, though MCM was over two days, Thought Bubble just one. The thing that makes Thought Bubble such a nice show (apart from it being so well organised and in such a friendly manner) is the nice cross-section of visitors - some hardened comic fans, some casual readers, some new readers, a variety of creators - a really welcome mix.
The only downside is that I didn't get to be very sociable and ended up missing loads of people I really wanted to chat to - many of whom were just as busy at their own tables. There were a good number of people who I know online but have never met face to face, and some who I'd mised at MCM and promised to catch up with at Thought Bubble - failure on all fronts! I don't begrudge the day I had one little bit, but as I couldn't attend the after-show party, I was slightly disappointed with this aspect of the day.
The nicest ingredient of the day was meeting readers and chatting to them about comics. Some of the feedback on The Rainbow Orchid is so nice, my natural reaction is to think I don't deserve it, but it really provides a boost and people are incredibly generous. To have someone queuing up, not to buy the book, but - already owning it - to tell me how much they loved it is the best thing. To see people leafing through The Rainbow Orchid while I'm sketching for someone else, and overhear them say "this is amazing!" is a guilty thrill you can only get at a show such as this. Of course, my feet are kept firmly on the ground too - several queues for big-name superhero artists formed past me throughout the day where my table (and sometimes books) are only good for leaning on while waiting (plus one brazenly dismissive comment), but of course I accept my book is not for everyone - it finds its readership, and that readership makes up for it very nicely indeed.
So, once again, the biggest thank yous possible to the Thought Bubble team for a super show, and equally big thanks to everyone who stopped by my table and said hello, bought a book or two, chatted or even just looked. My photo-taking for the day stands at zero (Ellie's dad took the one above - a special thanks to Bob and Anne for their wonderful hospitality over the weekend), but the sketch below was brought to me by Colin Mathieson, all the way from Komiks.dk, the Copenhagen comics con that happened back in May, where he presented a copy of The Rainbow Orchid to Sussi Bech, author and artist of the Nofret books. I had made a little reference to Sussi in RO vol 2 (can you find it?), so this was a very nice gift. Thanks Sussi, and thanks Colin!