Some cautionary advice on conventions


you've likely heard about the mess(es) that happened with last week's Readers Take Denver event.

graphic of a woman holding a pile of books. Has a blue fade over it and reads  "Convention Craziness"

If you’re anywhere in reader & author spaces on social media right now, you’ve likely heard about the mess(es) that happened with last week’s Readers Take Denver event.

The 2025 event has been canceled.

If you haven’t heard, you can find plenty of information by looking for #readerstakedenver on Twitter/X, Facebook, youtube, Threads, or pretty much anywhere readers and authors talk.

And a lot of shit went down –

And I’m not even touching half the stuff. It’s a hornet’s nest.

But I don’t so much as want to talk about the event particularly in and of itself, believe it or not.

I want to talk about something that could have cued in newer authors if people had felt comfortable discussing it without reprisal.

And…well, the organizer might have felt comfortable bullying some people newbie people into silence. But I’m not a newbie…and I never did react well to anybody trying to intimidate me, even if somebody were to attempt it.

So, what do I want to discuss?

The Sponsorships

Apparently, sponsorships were pushed hard at this thing. Big time. Authors shelled out money like crazy. They weren’t just asked to sponsor, they were made to feel like it was expected.

One of the links I posted up top goes to an author’s post on Facebook, one by Laramie Briscoe who was initially planning to attend but when she asked questions about the high — and excessive — sponsorship fees, she was bullied and harassed, so much to the point that she questioned whether she’d even have a career left.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen cases of where Lisa Renee Jones has been involved with threatening/intimidating an author or their career. Frankly, this bullshit needs to stop.

It would have cost nothing address somebody’s questions openly. Transparency only hurts if you’re hiding something.

So let’s discuss sponsorship fees in general.

The fees

Up until COVID, I attended anywhere from 1-3 events a year for probably over a decade. At a couple, I was a small-ish sponsor. I was never harassed or pushed into being a sponsor.

Organizers know that, by and large, many authors aren’t rolling in dough. Some sponsorship fees start at just a couple of hundred dollars, or they’ll let you do ‘group’ sponsorships. When I did sponsor something, it was around $500, and only if the event itself was less than $300.

In all the events I’ve attended, I’ve never felt harassed. I’ve never got endless requests for sponsorships.

When I was at events, the money for those sponsorships was spent as intended. The fees I paid, for costs like WiFi, etc? That’s where it went.

Questions – ASK THEM

If I had questions, and anybody who knows me will know I always have questions, I asked and have never been given less than a professional answer and I’m typically given polite and extremely friendly answers.

Large scale events are going to be run by an event planner – you can’t have thousands of readers, authors, influencers, PAs and narrators in a confined space and have everything go off smoothly without somebody who knows how to make that happen. It’s not the hotel’s job to do that. And from what I’m understanding there was no paid event planner involved.

If you’re asked to an event and it’s a big one, ask who the event planner is.

Ask what the safety plan is. I don’t know what all would be involved, but an event planner would. A conscientious event organizer should have some idea.

If the questions you ask aren’t answered to your satisfaction or if you’re made to feel dismissed, you’re most likely dealing with unprofessional people and you shouldn’t get involved.


All events should have a safety plan put in place. Even if it’s just lanyards to make sure only the attendees are allowed access into the venues. Ask about it.

If you’re an author, you will have some readers who have accessibility concerns. That safety plan should address them.

Who is watching the doors to make sure only ticketed attendees are coming in?

If somebody with a fatal allergy reaches out to the organizer and is assured their concerns will be addressed, they should be addressed. An event planner knows how to handle this. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have an event planner in place who will be handling safety plans, etc and what that plan entails.


Don’t just rely on the event’s private group for answers. While we want to think that the people involved in the event will be open and answer our questions truthfully, sadly, we live in the real world. Some may be too intimidated to answer, and considering that some authors like to bully others into silence, it’s understandable. Do a google search and see what has happened in previous years. Read reader experiences.

And listen to your gut.

If something feels off, listen to that feeling and ask why.