by Kyle Perkins.
Time for another rant.
So, this year Virginia Johnson and I are hosting the Tampa Indie Author Book Convention, and we have had our ups and downs. From trying to find a place that could house all the people we expect to attend, to finding the right authors for the event. Throw in catering, swag, music and I’m basically planning my first wedding.
However, it’s practically impossible to do since so many people have scammed authors out of their money in the past. When I first started the event, I didn’t even consider that aspect of it. I had forgotten that in the last year, several hosts have just up and bailed on everyone that paid in advance, and took the money with little consequence. So, naturally, I don’t blame authors for being hesitant.
Now this creates an automatic distrust in event coordinators, which is a problem. Authors are traditionally broke, unless their names are Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, etc. Which includes me and most of the people hosting these events. We don’t have the money to dish out to pay for the event up front. We have to rely on the authors that are interested in doing this event in the first place. That’s how we put down deposits, secure venues, etc. Obviously, those authors are broke, too.
So, because a few bad apples have poisoned the minds of readers and authors, it practically makes it impossible to set these events up. Some events, just the space alone cost 2k+ to book, and you have to do that way in advance. I don’t have that kind of money just sitting under my pillow or anything. So, it takes a combined effort and a little bit of trust, which due to recent events, is in short supply.
The problem is, Paypal will only refund payments for cancelled events within 180 days. Which means that people are terrified to drop money on an event before that time frame. However, obviously, you need venues booked way before then. So, if the venue can’t get booked in time, the hosts have nowhere to do the event, leading to a canceled convention, which sucks.
So, that leaves us here. In limbo, until people decide to pay. It sucks that it has come down to this, and I don’t blame the authors or readers, like I said above. I can assure everyone that if the event never happened, I’d refund people no matter how far back they paid, but that offers little comfort since so many have been scammed. If we pull together though, we can make this event awesome, and turn it into a yearly thing that is trusted. We just need to be given the chance.
It really is a shame what the indie world has come to, from authors selling books without delivering, abusing their fan bases with bogus gofundme campaigns, to scamming people when it comes to events. However, we are not that, and are fighting hard to change that image by shedding light on folks that have been corrupted.
We hope authors and readers will give us a chance, and come out. We have a lot of exciting things planned, and Tampa is gorgeous. I understand the hesitation, and flat out distrust, but we just want to create something amazing here, and we need your help to do it.