You see, I wrote to the conference director back in September, offering myself as a speaker. I got back an email asking me to attend and also saying I'd be getting some sample pages to read and then I'd be doing some one-on-ones with authors. The sample pages, I will admit, I completely forgot about. After all, I'm not the organizer. For this, I was told I'd receive an honorarium of $250 (I didn't ask for such, but it was offered).
Yesterday, Monday, February 13th, a package with 14 sample chapters arrived in the mail. The conference starts Friday, February 17th. As I reported to the conference organizers, there is no way I am going to be able to read 14 sample chapters by Friday. I should have had them a month ago, at least by February 1, since their deadline for submissions was January 28th (far too close to the conference, in my opinion).
I also have no idea on what topics I'm expected to speak. I offered to talk about more than one, including the following:
So, now I sit here three days before the conference is to begin, with no time to read 14 sample chapters and with no idea what I'll actually be doing at the conference. I have no schedule. I have no information. Oh, wait! I just checked their website and found that on Saturday, from 2:40-4:10, I'm supposed to do a presentation on "Should I Self-Publish?" Nice of them to let me know. And apparently I'm supposed to be doing one-on-one consultations all day before that and an agents panel after that.
Listen, given proper notice, I'd be more than happy to do all that. But given notice on 2/13 for something that's happening on 2/18, which includes hours of reading and hours of presentation prep time, I don't see how I can. And since I'm local and they haven't spent money on a plane ticket or hotel room for me, I'm going to bow out, guilt-free.
It's a shame when a conference isn't organized and doesn't pull it together. I did all I could to be a good guest in anticipation of the event, but with a young family, two companies to run, and a new intern I'm training, I'm simply not in the position to drop everything to prepare for a conference that should have gotten me information and materials much further in advance.
My apologies to those who hoped to meet with me there. I trust the conference will refund your funds or arrange for a new reader.