A week ago last Wednesday, we did table assignments for the Florence Festival of Books, and we thought (silly us) that was the way it was going to be. We had a week until we had to have the final list and table lay-out to the Siuslaw News for printing. We were in good shape.
On Sunday night, I sent out a reminder letter to all participants reminding them of the event and the things that are different this year. I received back many emails. Some with questions and some who wanted to make changes. AARRGGHH!
At this stage, I can’t make changes on my own; I have to work with Jennifer. She is the Events Center gal who is on our committee, and would not be back in the office until Tuesday. And Wednesday would be our deadline to get the table layout and list of participating authors and publishers to the newspaper. So I met with her on Tuesday morning, and we made the changes, including a call to one person on the waiting list.
When I got home, I sent the waiting list person our Follow-up Letter and left a message on her phone. Then I headed to Waldport to deliver some books. On the way back, I received a call back from the waiting list person, saying that she would not be able to participate because she had made other plans. I wish she had told us sooner; we could have dropped her from the list. Now our final revised list that we sent to the newspaper is wrong.
As soon as I got to where I could make a call on my cell phone, I contacted Jennifer. It was 5 p.m. and she was heading for the door. But before she left, she called the next person on the waiting list and left a message. That person did not get back to Jennifer by the next morning, so she tried again as well as her cell phone. Nothing! So she called her back on her land-line and left a message that she had a 2 p.m. deadline before we went to the next person.
After 2 p.m., Jennifer called the next person and they could not come. So she called the next one, and he said, he needed to think about it. She gave him one hour. At five minutes to three, he called back to say he would be coming. At the same time, the other line rang and it was the one with the 2 p.m. deadline, saying that she would be coming. Now we had two different people for one table. AARRGGHH!
Kevin, the Events Center director could hear what was happening. He signaled Jennifer to take both of them, and he would change the table configuration. In fact he added yet another table. So we called one more person on the waiting list, who promptly said he would be there. So we changed the final revised list again, and Kevin would change the table layout the next morning.
That evening, I received an email from one participant who said that he would be sharing his table. I emailed him back to say that would not work as he had paid for only one person at the smaller table size, and we only allowed sharing at the larger ones and no more larger tables were available. Then I received an email from the person with whom he wanted to share. She had assumed he had included her and was planning on coming. So more calls to the Events Center Thursday morning and more last minute changes. Finally, we sent the multi-revised participant list and table layout—a day late, but they held the deadline for us. Whew!
There are always last minute changes, but I don’t remember quite this many in the past three years.
And I don’t remember quite so many email queries. I have had questions about how many books to bring, what time should I be there, should I bring a lunch, are there covers on the tops of the tables as well as skirting, what advertising do you do, how many attendees will there be, what paraphernalia to bring to attach posters and banners, how does the credit card table work, and my favorite “Did I sign up for electricity?” These (except for the last one) are all covered in the Follow-up Letter. And the funny thing is, this is the first year to have FAQs. Everything is covered in those, just so folks wouldn’t have to ask. AARRGGHH!
Connie Bradley, my co-chair, and I are going to set out the banners tomorrow afternoon.
Months ago, the committee ordered two large banners about the FFOB as part of a special deal at Staples. One will be posted as you enter Florence on Highway 126 east of town and one on the northern end of town. We have permission from both landowners and have registered the days of use with the city. Nothing is easy; you have to have the proper permissions and follow the rules or the city will take them down as fast as you put them up.
So I have my four posts in the car along with clippers and loppers and gloves. Connie will bring some lightweight backing board, ties, a hammer and most importantly her strong husband. Banners tend to shred in the strong winds we get here on the coast. So we are attaching a lightweight board that Connie’s husband has already cut to fit.
But first, I’ll meet Jennifer tomorrow morning at the FEC and we will put grummets on the banners, so that they will be able to be attached to the boards and the posts.
And we still have six days to go before the big day! Who knows what problems may yet pop up!
If you can attend, do so. It’s a great event in spite of the angst of getting it all together. If you can’t be there, I’ll let you know how it turns out next week!
Judy, your posting sounded so familiar it made my neck and shoulder muscles get tight. How familiar the challenge of coordinating an event is from my past life as a Clinical Education Coordinator for a large clinic, then a home health/hospice agency. I did a total of 7 years and the last year truly stretched my nerves. I’m glad the event is just an annual one for you. I have to laugh about the thought that authors (also readers) surely must read the FAQs. I’m quite convinced that most people do not read instructions, or at least do not read them thoroughly. I know most student nurses don’t my having just spent 3 years in that venue. I hope the book fair is a grand success once again. Brenda
Yikes, Judy! You REALLY have had big challenges. You WOULD think that authors, who presumably are also READERS, would read the FAQ’s, now, wouldn’t you? Hope all goes swimmingly from now on. No dog paddling needed.