Reader Appreciation Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- April 29th, 2013
Victoria Hinshaw working registration & handing out gift bags.

Victoria Hinshaw working registration & handing out gift bags.

This past weekend was the culmination of all my dreams, the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon.  James Rollins was the keynote and 37 other authors came into Milwaukee and took the readers by storm.

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Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night

Reader Lori meeting James Rollins on Friday night

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It started with a Friday night Q&A in the hotel auditorium.  I had asked on Facebook and Twitter for questions ahead of time.  Each author came on stage, introduced themselves and were given a question by readers both in person and from online.  It proved to be an interesting way for the readers and for the authors to get to know each other.  Afterwards, we proceeded to the bar area for refreshments and a chance to get up close and personal with the authors.  It was a terrific prelude to the luncheon.

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Sharon Sala table

Sharon Sala Table

 

Saturday morning came early and we started setting up at 7 a.m. for the 10:30 a.m. event.  There still wasn’t enough time.  Things like this aren’t put on by one person, so, quickly I’d like to thank all those who pitched in.  225 gift bags (generously donated by Sue Grimshaw and Random House) lined the registration area.  They were stuffed with books and swag sent in from publishers and authors.

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Amy Knupp and reader Jessica

Amy Knupp and reader Jessica

 

We learned from last year and opened registration a half an hour early so the line didn’t get that long.  Inside the ballroom, authors rushed to put the finishing touches on their table gifts.  When the doors were finally opened the readers were treated to an hour of meeting and greeting their favorite authors and mingling with new ones.

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Keynote James Rollins

Keynote James Rollins

 

The luncheon was held at the Crowne Plaza-Airport and they need to get kudos.  That staff fixed things before we even knew we had a problem.  The food was amazing and that’s saying a lot for those of us who attend conference events.

After lunch it was time for the keynote speaker, James Rollins.  As usual, he didn’t disappoint.  Readers learned of his first career as veterinarian, an ill-fated encounter with actor/director/producer, Ron Howard, the surprise moment of learning he would be a published author and his exciting new news that one of his novels is to be made into a movie.

Debby Giusti giving away her door prize

Debby Giusti giving away her door prize

Next the authors came up to the stage, introduced themselves and endeared themselves to the readers even more by giving away door prizes.  They really outdid themselves as the readers were present with everything from picnic baskets, fantasy baskets, designer bags, books, chocolates, wine, and even eReaders with an occasional monkey thrown in.  But James Rollins brought down the house when he started to give away a bag of books and then threw out to the audience that the winner would also be a character in his next book who would be brutally murders.  When the winner was announces, there was actually a blood curdling scream which I later learned came from the author at the table because she was thrilled that one of her readers won it.

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Angie Fox Table

Angie Fox Table

After the raffles winners were announced, it was time for the Barnes and Noble booksigning.  The final hour flew by as readers quickly snatched up the authors latest offerings and had the writers busily signing books.  There were many smiling faces at the end of the day from both readers and authors.

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CH Admirand and her prize winner Jenny

CH Admirand and her prize winner Jenny

As soon as I got home, I started receiving emails from readers.  “I enjoyed the program, and got to meet some wonderful and talented people.”  “I had SUCH a blast yesterday.  Eloisa James was amazing and I enjoyed every minute.”  “What a wonderful time. I loved listening to James Rollins and how cool is it that someone from the luncheon will get killed off in his book. I sat with Adrienne Giordano and Carla Neggers, what nice people.”  “It was marvelous chatting with authors, the food was great, and the gift bags were wonderful.”  “I had such a great time. Not only did I LOVE Milwaukee, but I loved the entire event!”  “I got to turn around and go fangirl on Marjorie Liu.”  “Thank you for an incredible day yesterday. It was truly a fantastic experience.”  “Dianna Love even gave me a gift bag for my child, even though I didn’t sit with her, that says a lot about a person and I can’t wait for next year!”

The good news is that I can finally announce that next year the keynote speaker will be Debbie Macomber.  The event will be held April 26, 2014 at the same place and tickets will go on sale August 1st.

To see all the pictures taken, please click here.

Bottom Line:  A huge thank you to the helpers, the authors, the publishers and especially the readers for making the day so special.

 

40 thoughts on “Reader Appreciation Luncheon

  1. C.L. Wilson

    Thank you, Barbara, for hosting such a fun, wonderful event, and thanks even more for inviting me to participate. I made so many new friends and got to visit with so many existing friends.

  2. Carla Neggers

    Barbara, what a fabulous event! Thank you, and thank you to everyone who attended and who made it possible. I came home with books to read, a list of books to buy and wonderful memories.

    Take care,
    Carla

  3. Kate Fellowes

    Thanks, Barbara, for another fantastic event! It was such fun to meet so many wonderful readers and writers. You are a treasure!

  4. Jeannie Lin

    I had a wonderful day meeting authors and readers. It was just the perfect size and intimate setting. Thank you Barbara and thank you to all the lovely volunteers who helped pull this off.

  5. Tracee

    This is my second year attending and I must go on and on about it, my 7 and 9 year old girls are begging to go with me next year. A great event coordinated by a great lady! Thanks again for all your work and for getting fabulous authors to attend!

  6. Jusy

    What do I say. You hit it out of the ballpark again. You got together a great group of authors who REALLY wanted to go one-on-one with their readers.

    Thank you for doing this for the readers and the authors!

  7. Leah Hultenschmidt

    This sounds so wonderful, Barbara. Looks like everyone had a blast! I wish I could’ve been there to celebrate with you.

  8. Amy Cook in WI

    Dear Barbara: I didn’t think anything would top last year, but all I can say is WOW. From the newly published to the highest paid NYT best-selling writers, all the authors who attended were gracious and giving, not only with their time and gifts, but their attitude of friendship. As a reader, I appreciate everyone one of them coming to Milwaukee and making an entire conference room smile with happiness. Thank you for all your hard work in putting together a stupendous event. Now, go get a foot massage and read some of those books from the goody bag!

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Amy, you said everything about why I love to put on these events. It just makes the reader/writer bond stronger and the discovery of new authors is always fun. Thanks for coming.

  9. Nancy Naigle

    What an amazing weekend of fun! It was so nice to connect with readers and treat them to books and bookish swag while chatting and making new friends. Had my own share of fan girl moments, too, with authors like Sharon Sala and Carla Neggers. Everyone is always so nice and this event is really at the very tippity-top of my list each year. I can’t wait until 2014.

    Thanks for all you do for book lovers, Barbara.
    Hugs and happy reading~
    Nancy

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Nancy, your wedding cake treats were adorable. Can’t wait to see what you do next year and thanks for offering to do the programs next year. I know they’ll be amazing!

  10. mat2892

    Congratulations on a smashing success! It was a great event with many wonderful people. I sat with Jeanne Adams and enjoyed every minute of it! Dianna Love was her happy,cheerful and so accomodating self despite the nagging cough. Next year’s date is already on the calendar.

  11. Debbie Kaufman

    This is my second year getting to host a table at the luncheon, and I feel so blessed to be included. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to meet and talk with readers at my table. And as I watched readers meeting and chatting with other authors, smiles bloomed all around! What a joy! Thanks so much for all the hard work putting this together. James Rollins was wonderfully funny and now I can’t wait till next year to hear Debbie Macomber!

    1. Barbara Vey Post author

      Debbie, it’s always a pleasure to have you come up to Milwaukee and so nice of you to give away a ticket to a lucky reader. Wish I would have had more time to talk to you, but I’ll see you in Atlanta for RWA.

  12. Debby Giusti

    Barbara, the entire weekend was so special. The Friday night Q&A was fun, and the social time following was a great opportunity to mix and mingle. You’re a gifted hostess, Barbara, and you made everyone feel right at home!

    The luncheon was a pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming experience and a true delight in every way. Waving to all the wonderful ladies at my table! Waving to all the readers and authors I met as well as old friends with whom I got to reconnect. As always, it was a treat to see you, Barbara, and your lovely family and all the hard working volunteers who help you each year. Thanks for including me in such a spectacular event. Hope to join you next year. Could it get any better? I don’t see how!

  13. Tonya Kappes

    It was my first year of many! I had so much fun with readers and authors. It’s a very classy event with lots of amazing people! I’m still on cloud nine and can’t wait for next year <3

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