Tag Archives: Readers ‘n ‘Ritas

Meeting Authors, Building Loyalty

Barbara Vey -- November 16th, 2010

This past weekend I attended the Readers ‘n ‘Ritas in Dallas.  A wonderful event that allows readers to get up close and personal with authors.  There were authors from different genres and while some readers came with the idea of getting to meet their favorite author, others were there looking for new ones to read.

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One of the special things that was offered was an author’s lounge.  About 3 authors at a time were assigned to be in there for an hour.  There were round tables set up and readers were invited to come in and just visit with the authors.  It was a very relaxed setting with no expectations other than getting to know someone better or for the first time.  And this was a two way street.  The authors got to find out what the readers are looking for in books and what turns them off.

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I remember years ago when Sue Grafton came to town.  I had never met an author in person before.  She gave a talk first, read a little from one of her books and answered questions.  I was mesmerized.  Since I already had a few of her books I brought them to sign and I still treasure them, but it’s what happened after that stays with me to this day.  Every time someone would ask me who I read, I would mention Sue Grafton.  I would borrow out her books, talk to others about the characters and lament the lack of a movie.  While I can’t buy every book that’s published, I do buy every one of hers and I also buy one for my daughter in law who’s become a fan.

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It’s now commonly known that promotion is a big part of book sales, I really believe in the power of the personal touch.  If an author attends a library event, does a book signing, participates in a charity event or reader event, it gets their face and name out there.  Reader loyalty.  It’s not something you can buy.  It’s something you earn by writing wonderful books and giving the reader an experience they don’t normally get.

I can’t tell you how many readers I talked to over the weekend who were thrilled to have new authors to try.  Authors they may have never heard of otherwise.  Some readers were even brave enough to try new genres because they enjoyed meeting the person who created the book.  After readers have finished reading all that their favorite authors have written. they are anxious and willing to try someone new.

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It seems to me that the authors who fare the best are the ones willing to go out of their way to talk to the readers and listen to what they have to say.  They don’t just congregate in their little author groups that are extremely intimidating to a reader.  No one wants to interrupt a group unless you already know someone there.

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So, authors, if you’re given the chance to attend a reader event…go.  But go with the intention of getting to know the readers.  If you have old books of yours to give away, all the better.  Nothing hooks a reader like a free book.  (Of the free books given away at the Readers ‘n ‘Ritas event, I’ve already read 2 of them and both authors I never read before.) If they like it, they’ll be off to buy your back list along with anything new that you’ve done.  I’ve seen it happen many times.  Why?  Because they now know you personally and have that special connection.  And when someone asks who they’re reading…they just may mention you by name.

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Have you ever met an author in person and then went out and got their books?  Ever have a friend suggest a book because they met the author?

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Bottom Line: My travels are done for 2010, but I can’t wait for all the new authors I’ll meet in 2011!

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Giveaways

From author Dianna Love: Dianna Love is giving away a copy of Blood Trinity (signed by her and Sherrilyn Kenyon) and a limited Belador Tshirt to a name drawn from everyone who posts a comment about her podcast at http://readersentertainment.tv/radio/interview-with-dia…nna-love by midnight EST Wed, November 17, 2010.

Readers ‘n ‘Ritas: Up Close and Personal with Authors

Barbara Vey -- November 14th, 2010
Fresh Fiction Crew: Daniel R, Becky Pena, Sandi Shilhanek, Gwen Reyes, Alicia Vinas, Sara Edmonds

Fresh Fiction Crew: Daniel R, Becky Pena, Sandi Shilhanek, Gwen Reyes, Alicia Vinas, Sara Edmonds

Saturday morning at Fresh Fiction’s Readers ‘n ‘Ritas started with a continental breakfast meet up that evolved into a paranormal panel.  With a slew of urban fantasy/paranormal writers, there was no general consenus on what should or shouldn’t be put into any book.  In these fantasy worlds there are no rules except the ones made by that particular author.  Anything and everything is fair game.  On being asked the difference between paranormal and urban fantasy, Jaye Wells explained that paranormal had a romance going on and a definite resolution to the story, while urban fantasy could either have romance or not and not necessarily have a happy ending.

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Tara Taylor Quinn, Dianna Love, Nikki Duncan, Laura Griffin

Tara Taylor Quinn, Dianna Love, Nikki Duncan, Laura Griffin

The suspense panel took a gory turn when talking about research.  Laura Griffin admitted that she attended a session where they cut the skin off the hand of a victim, then a person used his gloved hand to put on the skin so they could get a fingerprint to identify the victim.  Tara Taylor Quinn talked about researching the White Supremacy group and the fear she experienced with the more she found out.  Dianna Love met a CIA assassin who wrote his own book.  I think if I wrote a book, it would have to be about chocolate or something really fun and yummy to research.

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I stopped in a panel on e-books and a representative from Barnes and Noble was talking about their new e-book reader that will be in color and sell for $249.  There wasn’t one there to look at, so I can’t say if it was worth it or not.  I don’t know if it would make a difference to me with reading regular books, but they said that comic books and magazines looked really great on it.  I’ve never looked at a magazine on an e-reader and I wonder how they get those fragrance samples on there.

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Jade Lee and Louisa Edwards at the author signing

Jade Lee and Louisa Edwards at the author signing

At the luncheon, each author sat at a different table and offered a gift basket to one lucky reader.  I sat with Laura Griffin and picked her brain about her Deadly Promises anthology I recently read.  I was happy to hear that the characters I was concerned about will be getting their own book next.  Can’t wait.  Special guest, Sherrilyn Kenyon then did a Q&A and the room packed with her minions ate it up.

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There was a book signing, but unfortunately several authors’ didn’t have the books they (and their fans) were expecting show up.  Trying to make up for it to her readers, Sharon Ashwood didn’t have any, but offered free shipping to anyone who signed up for one of her books.  There’s always something that can go wrong at these events, but, as a reader, it’s really frustrating when the bookstore promises something but doesn’t come through.  Although many of the authors had no problems, my heart goes out to those who look forward to this opportunity to share their work with new readers.

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Wuthering Heights and the Queen of Hearts

Wuthering Heights and the Queen of Hearts

A masquerade party ended the night with the readers coming dressed as their favorite characters as they honored the authors they came to see.  As expected, there were a lot of vampires, slayers, winged creatures and fangs galore.  Prizes were given, dessert provided, but, alas, I never did find the Margarita fountain I expected at an event called Readers ‘n ‘Ritas.

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Bottom Line: Now I’m not sure if I should expect martinis at my next event, Tarantula’s ‘n ‘Tini’s.

Readers ‘n ‘Ritas Friends Event

Barbara Vey -- November 13th, 2010
Candance Havens

Candace Havens

Friday night was for readers and authors to get to know each other on a much more personal level at the Fresh Fiction Readers ‘n ‘Ritas event in Dallas.  Everyone was seated at round tables while each author came up to the microphone and introduced themselves by telling a little about the kind of books they wrote.  They’re were a few authors there I’d never met before and I don’t know why I’m always surprised when I see them for the first time in person.  I guess we all get that mental image in our minds about how someone should look based on the kind of books they write.  They are never how I pictured them.

Candace Haven was the emcee and kept things moving along and managed to mangle Ann Aguirre’s last name calling her Aguire instead of A-Gear-Ee.  Dakota Cassidy followed up by saying her name is really Cass-A-Day.  When Rosemary Clement Moore wasn’t able to attend, Candace did a dead on impersonation of Rosemary to include the hair flip and explaining how “awesome” both she and her books were.

Readers and authors getting to know each other

Readers and authors getting to know each other

The authors were then rearranged so every table had their own author to get to know.  As an introduction, everyone stated their name and the kind of books they liked to read.  I was surprised when a woman at my table announced she loved to read, but hadn’t read anything by any of the authors in attendance.  She was just looking for new people to read and came to the right place.  This is exactly what these events should be.  A chance to meet a favorite author, but also the opportunity to discover new ones.

Next up, the readers needed to list all the books written by the author at their table on large sheets of paper.  Clues were given

Avid readers Jenni Montgomery, Betty Fox, Ellen Howell

Avid readers Jenni Montgomery, Betty Fox, Ellen Howell

and guessing games made remembering the books more memorable.  Of course, I had Jade Lee at my table and she had already passed out bookmarks with all her books listed, so our group had a head start.  A smart author always is prepared.

After a pizza party and door prizes, I was off to rest up for the big day they have planned for Saturday.

Bottom Line: I’m saving myself up for the margaritas part tonight.

Readers ‘n ‘Ritas in Dallas

Barbara Vey -- November 12th, 2010

Well, I’m off early this morning on a flight to Dallas to attend the 2nd annual Readers ‘n ‘Ritas Conference.  Sponsored by Fresh Fiction, the website describes their event as:

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (RNR) is the perfect event for women and men who love to read and want to share the joy of books with others who have the same passionate obsession. RNR is an extension of the DFW Tea Readers Group which has been tossed from bars, asked to leave restaurants, and closed down tea rooms.. Become part of the legend!

Readers ‘n ‘ritas is your chance to mingle with your favorite authors in an intimate setting including Guest of Honor Sherrilyn Kenyon and Special Guest Dianna Love. Other authors attending include: Lauren Willig, Dakota Cassidy, Jaye Wells, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Michele Bardsley, Rachel Caine, Tara Taylor Quinn, Our Mistress of Ceremonies is KSCS 96.3 personality Candace Havens.

I’m personally looking forward to mingling with the readers.  It’s exhilarating to get their take on what’s hot and what’s not.  I love watching their reactions to meeting their favorite authors in such an intimate setting and the joy they experience as they share their love of books with each other.

What would you like to know that readers are thinking?  And readers, what questions do you have for authors?  Do you have a reader/author event in your area?  Would you go if there was one offered?
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Bottom Line: While I was in Dallas a few years ago, I didn’t get to see any of the city, so I’m hoping I have a little time to check out some of the local sites.

Contact info:

Email – BVey@publishersweekly.com
Twitter - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Vey/151214544898315
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/barbaravey

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Barbara Vey -- October 28th, 2010
Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Well, it’s that time of year again.  I need to start thinking about where I’ll be traveling to in 2011.

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This year I’ve visited Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Atlanta, San Diego, Akron, Chicago, Pensacola and Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve met tons of new people and caught up with old friends.  I gave workshops, appeared on panels and gave my first keynote speech.  There were library events, book festivals, author signings and lots of parties.  I was invited to RWA meetings across the country and was amazed by the camaraderie and energy of the members.  I even got to emcee a night at Lady Jane’s Salon.

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Silken Sands Beach

Silken Sands Beach

I even got to play tourist and saw the Smithsonian, the Coke Museum, a Broadway show, rode in a New York subway (instead of just eating at Subway), toured a Civil War site, had a room overlooking the beach, saw the Space Needle and got to spend a few days at Disney World (thanks RWA).

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The conferences get more incredible every year and I’m constantly reminded of how many authors I still haven’t read (and that’s a hard pill to swallow).  I’ve meet many new friends on Twitter and Facebook that I got to catch up with in real life.

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I still have the Readers ‘n ‘Ritas event coming up in November in Dallas.  It will be great talking to all those readers about what they love in books.  Then I can report it back to you.

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But now I have to start planning for 2011.  I know for sure that I’ll be attending the Romance Writers of America Conference, Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and I’ve been invited to speak to the Detroit RWA group.  Other than that, my schedule is wide open.

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Help me out by suggesting where I should travel to in 2011 and which conferences I should be attending.  While I wish I could visit everyone, I am on a budget, so I will try to get in as many as I can.  And please leave the link to your event so I can check it out.  Thanks everyone!

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Bottom Line: I guess this is why my favorite song is “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (but in a good way).