Last weekend I attended Penned Con in St. Louis, Missouri with my blogmate, Candy. It was hosted by Red Coat PR and they did a phenomenal job. They helped raise over $11,000 for Action for Autism in St. Louis through donations, book sales, auctions, raffle baskets that I know of. It was very inspiring to see so much money raised.
I chose to go to Penned Con because it is about a 3 hour drive away and there were members from Chris Almeida & Cecilia Aubrey’s Street Geeks that I wanted to meet in person since we are a close knit family online. Because of my reasoning for going to Penned Con, I really didn’t pay attention to the authors attending. I figured I would just learn about them when I was there. Luckily, they had the author signing room open all day long both days, so I had plenty of time to go from table to table learning about the authors.
The event started each of their two days with a Keynote speech – one from Jasinda Wilder and one from Abbi Glines. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both of them. Listening to personal stories like that always motivates me in my own life, so these were the highlights for me. Throughout the day, there were workshops/panels geared to authors even though readers were invited, too. I found them to be very interesting even though I do not aspire to be a writer. As an author’s assistant, it was great to learn more about the writing world and just more insight into what an author’s world is like.
The evenings provided time to get to know the friends I went down to meet as well as informally chat with authors that we happened to see out. One way the event provided some interaction between authors and readers is they set up an interactive game session at the end of the second day, before the awards. We were split into groups and played a game called…hmmm…well, I have no idea what the name was called, but it was a card game where one person had to guess what was on a card based on clues from others in the group. Chanda Hahn (who is freaking hilarious) and Bethany Lopez were the two authors assigned to our group. There were lots of laughs.
The event finished with an wards ceremony. It was a lot of fun to see the authors accept their awards and let their personalities shine through. Following the awards ceremony, Griffin Peterson performed for the attendees, courtesy of Colleen Hoover who worked with him on a soundtrack her book Maybe Someday.
While Penned Con ran very, very smoothly, was laid back and personable, my one critique is that I wish it would have some reader-focused panels. Maybe a panel with bloggers sharing the do’s and don’ts of blogging or how to write a review? Maybe just a Q&A session with authors about how to be the super fan? Of course, because of my inexperience, I could be misunderstanding the point to these types of conventions in general, too. It was still a very enjoyable and rewarding weekend and I would highly recommend attending Penned Con in the future.