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Authors out of thousands of dollars after event is abruptly canceled

30 April 2016

From 12 on Your Side:

A group of romance authors contacted 12 On Your Side after an event, which many of them had already paid for, was abruptly canceled.

It appears refunds will not be happening.

It’s a debacle and the alleged reason given for the cancellation reads like an excerpt from a horror novel.

Lauren Calhoun is accused of canceling a big affair for romance authors and readers after the event planner collected registration fees through a Paypal account.

Best-selling author and alleged victim Carey Heywood says, “There were people traveling from Canada to attend this event.”

Calhoun’s online profile says she’s an open book but the authors say she’s hiding.

Calhoun isn’t answering emails, calls or Facebook messages from them or from 12 On Your Side.

. . . .

The meet-and-greet was set for April 30th but, a mass e-mail on April 13 from Calhoun said the event was canceled because of alleged terror threats.

Calhoun added she was sorry and would issue refunds but now, no one can get a hold of her.

“Not only did you steal my money, but now you’re lying to me as well,” Allen said. “We know there was not a terrorist threat against the event.”

. . . .

“I don’t think she intentionally set out to scam us but I think she used our money fraudulently,” Lynn says. “I definitely think it’s criminal. I mean we’re talking over $10,000 easily.”

Link to the rest at 12 on Your Side and thanks to Suzie for the tip.


8 Comments to “Authors out of thousands of dollars after event is abruptly canceled”

  1. Sounds like a good plot for a Cozy.

  2. I don’t know the particulars of this situation. However, as someone with experience running events (some 20+ conferences), it’s easy for somebody to get in way over their heads by underestimating costs, failing to secure sponsorships, bungling the marketing to the audience that will pay for the event, or even failing to adequately lock down the venue.

    • If the person was legitimate and not trying to scam these authors, they would have issued refunds, not “go into hiding.”

      If this was a scam, I hope they are prosecuted.

  3. It would be easy enough to tell if it was a scam from the very beginning. Did they book a room, rent the location, hire catering and what not? (Most of which would have required down payments …)

  4. I clicked through to the article, but I’m still not clear what kind of an “event” this was supposed to be. A Romance book fair? Authors’ Conference? Virginia’s version of Burning Man- except its all about books?

    I’m also wondering what kind of ROI these participating authors were expecting. If you make $4 profit per book, you will have to sell quite a lot to recoup your expenses for travel, food, hotel, etc. Is it typical to sell hundreds of your books at such an event? (whatever this “event” was supposed to be)

    • I live in Richmond. No way would they have sold hundreds of books at the event. We may have a lot of readers, but we’re a small town city.

      You go to conventions to make contacts, get your name out there, sell some books, and have fun. We just had RavenCon this weekend (moved to Williamsburg), and even though I could only be there on Saturday, it was a fantastic experience.

      I’d be wary of author events that are not run by people experienced in such things.

  5. Cancelled because of alleged terror threats???

  6. Robert and David Keener are right on, I think. That was my first thought RObert, too… really? with such advance notice… terrorists? really?

    David Keener esp accurate about first time or inexperienced convenors. It’s a pro business for a reason. You have to have ace accurate budget projections pref with cushion, and accurate accounting skills, and negotiation skills, and people handling skills, and more

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