Ozarks Indie Book Fest Disaster

After attending an event called Penned Con for the past two years, I have to admit I was pretty stoked when I heard something similar was being planned for Springfield, Missouri.  Penned Con is a well-organized event where authors purchase tables to sell their books, and readers purchase tickets to meet them and buy books.  Add to that several activities for readers and authors and the whole thing was sure to be a win-win for all involved.

Unfortunately, Ozarks Indie Book Fest was nothing like Penned Con. Although we’d heard the organizers had been planning this for two years,  the comparison between the two charity events was staggering.  Something was off from the very beginning. Authors were told to check in on Thursday night from three to five.  But not one of the organizers arrived until after five thirty.  The next morning proved even more chaotic.  Authors had already been assigned their tables and told when to arrive. However upon our arrival we were told we should have checked our emails because the times had changed as well as the table arrangements.  Since many of us were setting up at 7 AM, we’d left our homes early to be there in time and did not have time to check email prior to arrival.

Once everyone was set up and ready for the deluge of readers to enter the room, Jaci Chaney, the organizer, announced that she’d mistakenly placed her trust in someone who betrayed her. The treasurer for the event had apparently withdrawn all money from their account. The hotel where the event was to take place allowed the event to continue on the first day, but the second day was moved to The Library Center. This meant that readers who had purchased tickets no longer needed them because The Library Center was free to everyone.

I recall asking Ms. Chaney if she’d be doing something similar in the future. Her response? Well, several of the authors want me to.

Seriously? Not this author. I doubt too many of the authors I know will be interested either. Too bad because this should have been something fun for everyone involved. Instead it turned out to be a disaster.

About Shirley McCann

Shirley McCann is a tea drinker and avid reader. She lives in Springfield, MO with her two children and five grandchildren.
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4 Responses to Ozarks Indie Book Fest Disaster

  1. Nancy Dailey says:

    This was the most sloppiest “organized” event ever. There’s no way it took two years to prepare, more like two hours. Changes were constantly made as it closer to the event days. Nothing was clearly explained until someone complained, then often changed to placate the complainer I suspect. Activities were apparently thought up and added last minute. Everything about the event should have been thoroughly planned, arranged, explained, “set in stone,” and posted on a web page for everyone to see months before the event. That was Not done. Tent signs set on the sign-in table were crudely lettered flat pieces of torn cardboard. And it all went downhill from there.


  2. J.C. Fields says:

    I am able to laugh about this experience now. While I feel the event was a scam from the beginning, it really did not start smelling bad until a month prior to the event. Zero, Nada, Zilch communications from those in charge. Questions posed were left unanswered weeks later. As the previous comment mentions, the handwritten signs on torn cardboard at the sign-in table foreshadowed the next day events. I believe I spoke to SIX readers on Friday after being told they had sold over two hundred and fifty “Reader” tickets.

    An experience like this only makes you realize how important the words “Buyer Beware” really are.



  3. writejomichaels says:

    I’m speechless. I can’t believe she actually had the AUDACITY to say those words. Frankly, if Ethan hadn’t gotten in touch with the library center, I truly believe what SHOULD have happened to her would have. And if you’ve ever seen an event go down in flames, you’ll know what I mean. JUST… UGH.


  4. Lisa says:

    Fiasco is too good a word for what happened. I’ll never again attend anything she’s involved with. In fact, that turned me against all author events. Nope.


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