The 2014 Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon held in Milwaukee this past weekend had a clear goal; create relationships. The event sets itself apart by focusing on relationships and experiences while still being informational about authors and books and giving opportunities for readers to meet authors and buy books.
The authors didn’t just attend, they participated which made a difference in the mood, focus and cadence of the event which started with a questions and answer session on Friday evening followed by a meet and greet before the main event on Saturday. Each of the 60 authors were given time on stage to tell who they are, what they write and then they were given a question which came from readers via social media. The Q&A was a standing-room-only event. Readers were given paper and pen to make notes as each author spoke. The majority of the readers took notes about the authors, using them later at the meet & greet.
During the author Q&A the feeling of camaraderie between the authors themselves added to the overall mood and fun of the event. Barbara Vey, who has put on the event each year since 2012, is well known for her ability to put people at ease, match them up with people she knows will become fast-friends. Barbara has won top industry awards that acknowledge her hard work in promoting books, specifically in the romance genre. She’s a co-author of t book Book Marketing, Book Trailers and Author Etiquette in a Nutshell where she shares advice, experience and secrets to building relationships with readers.
The event included the Q&A, meet & greet, door prizes, raffle prizes, lunch, a book signing and was topped off by an amazing keynote speaker, #1 NY Time bestselling author Debbie Macomber who delighted everyone with her hilarious stories. Ms. Macomber was so delightful and charming she was given a standing ovation after her talk.
The Morning Blend, which is a morning talk show for the Milwaukee area took the opportunity to have a few of the attending authors on the show. Sylvia Day, Eloisa James and Nancy Naigle talk about their books and readers and the segment is light-hearted and fun.
Authors donated items for the raffle and proceeds from the raffle went to Sojourner Family Peace Center, a place of safety and assistance for battered women and children in the local area.
The lunch was provided by the host hotel Crown Plaza and attendees agreed that it was an amazing meal, topped off by beautiful and tasty cupcakes.
The book signing was open to the public and The Morning Blend advertised it making it the largest and most successful book signing to date for the event.
After the event readers and author alike spent time talking about their favorite part of the event on social media. Readers contacted Barbara Vey saying they’d come with friends but weren’t really readers, but that they had enjoyed meeting some of the authors, bought their books and were reading for fun again. That’s music to the ears of all authors. Authors made new friends too and sent emails, tweets and posted on Facebook a out the wonderful friends they’d made. Everyone posting about the event had wonderful things to say, but the common message in all was;” I hope to do this again!”
The event described by attendees as more like a family reunion, making the goal that Barbara Vey had for making relationships, a great success.