Hi. joysann here again to tell you about the Annual Reader & Author Get-Together.
Lori Foster, Duffy Brown, and Linda Keller started this little “Get-Together” near Cincinnati eight years ago to be just what it sounds like. They invited a few authors and put out word to a few fans through a loop, and somewhere between 50 and 100 people gathered at the Cincinnati Marriott North to enjoy an informal opportunity to meet and visit.
Now the hotel is overrun with 500 book enthusiasts for most of two days, and it’s become quite an event. Readers can meet favorite and find new authors, authors can work at building their readerships and meet with editors and agents, and everyone can simply enjoy a couple of days of fun in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. Lori says she believes that a big part of the sense of community that develops is from the huge ballroom, open for the whole of the event, allowing participants to come and go as they please, providing plenty of seating, and allowing friends to gather and visit.
This year there were two book signings: Friday evening with Digital, POD, and other non-traditionally published authors, and those with donated print books to giveaway; Toni Blake, Jill Shalvis and Shiloh Walker. Saturday was the traditional book signing, sponsored by Barnes and Noble, open to the public, and taking up almost every foot of the hotel’s huge open atruim and into the restaurant and bar. Author Sherrilyn Kenyon signed at both events, with her excited die-hard fans waiting patiently for their turn to meet her.
At these events Lori Foster has been organizing an anthology book with donated novellas by herself and other authors, the proceeds of which go to a charity of her choice, this year benefiting the AAF – Animal Adoption Foundation – a no-kill animal shelter in Hamilton, Ohio.
In fact, the whole event is remarkable in that it is an high-energy, inexpensive event which packs a lot of punch for the money. A $50 registration fee includes a pizza night, 2 delicious buffet meals, and a Saturday morning Continental breakfast. One wonders how that can possibly be, but talking with Lori and Duffy Brown, one learns that the whole operation, which runs like clock-work, is done with very dedicated, enthusiastic and inventive volunteers, and the support of sponsors, like Liquid Silver Publishing, Turquoise Morning Press, Secrets Craving Publishing, Samhain Publishing. All of it…registration, the welcoming committee, raffle coordinators, transportation, troops donations coordinator, and official photographer, all of the work is done by volunteers.
One of the biggest features of the event is the Raffle Drawings. Everyone loves winning prizes, and when the money for the raffle tickets goes entirely to a special charity, donations are generously made. There were 175 raffle baskets donated this year from authors, reviewers, agents, editors, publishers, enthusiastic readers, and even the Marriott Hotel. The funds raised were donated to The One Way Farm Children’s Home, a non-profit organization that cares for the abused, abandoned, neglected, troubled youth, and children with disabilities. And the funds raised on this occasion? Nearly $11,000. Quite remarkable.
Lori Foster, Duffy Brown, and Linda Keller, and their intrepid fleet of volunteers are already planning for next year’s event, finding ways to make it run even more smoothly and provide the best of reader entertainment. Watch for registration in January… this year it sold out in less than one week.
Bottom Line: Lori? Duffy? Save me a place for next year, please.