Over this last weekend (9-21 to 9-23) I was in St. Louis, MO for the fifth annual Penned Con. Penned Con is a convention dedicated for authors and readers to communicate where all proceeds from the event are donated to Auction for Autism.
What I knew going into the con (about the con specifically): Zero.
What I know coming out of the con:
- Penned Con is a con for self published authors.
- Penned Con is small but was a great way to learn of new stories and authors.
- Many tips of the trade for self publishing
- A Plethora of new reads, and authors to look into.
- A newfound inspiration for myself in regards to writing.
- How saturated the writing field is
This con was not my cup of tea.
Now, don’t get me wrong. The fact that this con was about self published authors was not what threw me off.
It is true; I don’t have much experience with them as authors. The few books I have read by self published authors have been good, but I do not have much experience with them.
As such, was I shocked to learn the convention was focused on self publishing? Utterly. Was I impressed? Truly. A convention for self publishing, and a pride of self publishing? I was stunned in happiness. These people didn’t see Self Publishing as Vanity Publishing. I was ecstatic. I also learned a lot about things I didn’t know for self publishing.
So it was not the self publish aspect, despite the fact that I personally lean more towards traditional publishing.
It was not all the new things I learned, because I did learn a lot. I truly realized how everyone’s process is different. I learned more information of why cover art is decided the way it is. I learned interesting facts on how Amazon publishing is different than traditional publishing. The con reaffirmed my belief that self publishing is not vanity publishing. (This is necessary for me to repeat a second time.)
Most importantly the con reminded me how important it is to write reviews for the books I read (and to star the book on Good Reads or Amazon). I learned of how even the smallest review of a book, good or bad, can help the author out. I saw how much more important it is, and really reaffirmed that my voice matters.
And I? I read a lot.
The reason this con was not my cup of tea, was mostly due to it being the first con I’ve been to of it’s type. (I have been to plenty of anime and game conventions.) There were fandom panels that I’d never heard of, and plenty of books I’d never catch myself dead reading. Not because the books were bad, but because they weren’t the books I’d like to read. It was a small con, and like all small cons I’ve been to: I got bored.
I got bored real quick, after scanning the rooms, buying books, sitting in on panels, and talking to authors. It was a two day event, and by the early morning of day two I was itching for something new. I’d already come to see what I wanted to see, and from the attendance rate that I saw on the second day? Perhaps many people had as well.
I don’t think this is an issue at all. In fact I think the con being a small con is probably more efficient for the authors and the readers to connect. This one on one connection was highly appreciated and something I really enjoyed. Hearing the passion in author’s voices about their books? It was wonderful. This distaste was just a personal thing, and, that is to say, perhaps something to keep in mind if you, the readers, plan to attend.
On the second day, my best friend took me to one of the Arts districts in St. Louis to visit her favorite book shop. Low and behold, Bookfest was going on. It was there that I bought more books, and talked to magazine editors for poetry and short story publication magazines. It was a vastly different experience, with more panels. From what I could tell there was fascinating stuff, but I did not stay long for it either.
Will I return to Penned con? Perhaps in the future. The tickets my best friend and I had, were given to her as a gift and in truth, I’ve avoided looking at the price tag of these tickets. I really loved the atmosphere and the exposure to authors I hadn’t heard of before. I’ll be better prepared next time.
Do I regret going? Never. I bought so many books and have so many more authors to check out.
Do I want to check out Bookfest again? Definitely, when my best friend and I aren’t hopping from place to place for her gaming stuff. There were so many different panels I was interested in, but was unable to listen to. Plus it’s free, so that’s an added bonus.
In total I had a lot of fun. I got a lot of books and if anything I decided on two things:
- Write more reviews (and star books)
- Create this website
Both of which I am doing. But now, it is time for the moment you have been waiting for…
From Penned Con
Return of the Elves Series – Bethany Adams
Soul Collectors Series – Tara Benham
Going Down in Flames – Chris Cannon (Must buy the rest of series if I like the first book)
Misadventures of a Virgin – Meredith Wild
Golden Curse – M. Lynn *
Phrophecy of Darkness – Michelle Bryan & M. Lynn *
Two really cute journals by the designer Regina Wamba
*I need to email M.Lynn to get the other four books from her (2 of each series)
From Bookstore Later
To Make Monsters Out of Girls – Amanda Lovelace
The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur
Mem – Bethany C. Morrow
The Lost Queen – Signe Pike (I actually got this book in a near blind book selection, so it was free with a donation to charity.)