So we’re back in hot and muggy South Carolina and still recovering from the crazy road trip to Kentucky. I have lots of thoughts on the weekend and I’m still trying to organize them, so please bear with me. This may not make a bunch of sense, but we’re going to try.
Stephen Zimmer is amazingly awesome in so many ways. He’s a brilliant organizer, a great friend, and an all around good guy. And even after this weekend, still the most wonderfully optimistic organizer I’ve ever seen. He’s the coolest person in the world and I have the utmost love and respect for him. He’s a superhero.
I always love seeing everyone. There are so many wonderful people around and about during the con that I never go anywhere alone. This year I made some new friends, and ones I wouldn’t trade for the world. The Seventh Star Press crew is like a second family and I love them all, including the ones I just met this year. I always enjoy hanging out with Alexx and Charlie, and it’s the one time a year the world allows Selah Janel and me to be in the same city.
The Literary Track itself was fantastic. The panels were great and the guests were amazing. It’s a good group of people, and an intelligent, well-versed group.
And I will freely admit I fangirled all over myself a little bit because I got to meet James O’Barr. But that’s a story for another time.
The food and fellowship was fabulous all the way around. I made some amazing new friends. I even sold a few crocheted cthulhus.
THE NOT SO GOOD
The organization sucked. And that’s all I can say about it and still remain professional. We were once again left out in the cold as authors with no signage and no advertisement from the convention organizers. AT ALL.
Due to the lack of advertisement of the literary track and the authors on it, my sales suffered. I had three books for sale. Sold two copies of a digital edition on the very last day. Had to mark down the hand-made merchandise to move it and ended up playing Annoying Cockroach In The Aisle just to get rid of the promotional materials I had. My lovely author friends are all frustrated by this, because we all suffered the same horrible fate.
There are a whole host of complaints that have come out in the last few days about screw ups, cancellations, bad timing, horrible scheduling conflicts, accidents, guests being lost, forgotten, lied to and otherwise abused, and a whole crew who didn’t have a clue what was going on.
It wasn’t the fault of the crew. It was bad organization all the way around. I hate to say it, but it’s going to be a hard sell to return. Having to drive 8 hours one way, pay for hotel rooms, food and gas, and then have such a disappointing show is a tough pill to swallow. At least for me, as the quintessential starving artist.
I also find it amusing that in many of the comments, the owner of said convention is rumored to have threatened exhibitors with loss of reputation in the con circuit thanks to his own pull if negative press is released. After Reddit threads, Facebook comments, twitter feeds, John Barrowman stepping up during his Q&A and advising his fans to seek refunds, the cold and insensitive responses to legitimate requests for reimbursement due to cancelled events and undelivered goods, and the multiple news reports coming out, I’m inclined to believe that the only reputation that shall be damaged is his.
I’m not terribly concerned with my reputation on the convention circuit being tarnished because let’s face it… I’m still a nobody. Oh, and everything I’ve said is true. I was one of the masses locked out on Saturday. I HAD AN EXHIBITOR BADGE AROUND MY NECK AND THEY IGNORED ME. I had a panel I nearly missed because of that insanity. So yeah…I know it’s true.
I do hate to be cold and cruel but honestly after three consecutive years of bad experiences and poor organizational skills, I can’t realistically recommend Fandom Fest to any author. Or potential attendee for that matter. No matter how brilliant our track manager may be, he can’t work miracles when it comes to stubborn, opinionated, and elitist management over his head.
I don’t consider it a total loss simply for the networking opportunities. It had potential, but it could have been so much better.