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 The treasurer for the event had apparently withdrawn all money from their account.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.