The Great Reader Event
Lindi Peterson and Ciara Knight
|Ciara Knight (L) and Lindi Peterson (R)|
Ciara: Planning a reader event can be exciting and exhausting. We’ve attended many in the past, so we had the general idea of how they are run, but we had no idea about all the little things that we had to think about. Don’t worry, though, we are happy to share what we've learned with you here today.
First, do you have a theme for your event? We chose ‘Love Our Readers,’ because our event was being held on Valentine’s Day, and it’s all about the sweet/inspirational love story.
Lindi: And along with theme is purpose. Our purpose wasn’t to make money. We did this to raise awareness for local businesses as well as local authors. There is so much talent in our area that we believe needs to be promoted. We think that after this first year people will be talking about the event so next year people will be looking forward to it.
Ciara: Start planning well in advance. We started planning in May of 2014 for a February 2015 event. Before you begin work on your event, you should consider what type of budget you’d like to work with. Do you want a large event with a big budget, a small event with a modest budget, or something in between? Based on this desire, you can start the planning process.
Lindi: Ciara and I tossed out many different ideas before deciding on the luncheon on Valentine’s Day. One of them being a brunch that served mimosas. (You guys serve brunch here on Seekerville, right?) But we discovered we didn’t want to get into the alcohol aspect. That brings another level of expense even to a mild-mannered brunch. So we landed on a luncheon. Now that we had our date and event we asked Karen White if she would be available to be our Keynote speaker. She was and she agreed! So we asked two local authors who wrote sweet and/or inspirational fiction to join us. Missy Tippens and Meg Moseley both agreed. Now the hunt was on for the perfect venue.
Ciara: Yes! What venue will fit your vision? You can have a seated dinner at a country club, a buffet at a local restaurant, or tea and sweets at the mall. The possibilities are endless, just make sure it matches your theme. In our case, we chose to go with an eclectic theme with an air of romance, so we reserved the Rose Cotttage. It has the perfect ambiance with its various, ornate chandeliers, hardwood flooring and a fireplace.
Lindi: Yes, the place is very cool with its mix-matched chandeliers. I loved that right off. It was different—in a good way!
Ciara: Next on our list is food.
Lindi: Yes—food is a must!
Ciara: No doubt. We live in the south, so we have to have food at our event. If you’ll be serving food, you need to think about your theme. In our case, we are having a sweet and romantic catered lunch prepared and served by Tea Leaves and Thyme. It’s a local, delicious tea house in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s perfect for our sweet/inspirational love event.
Lindi: Oh, and our menu? Chicken salad, pineapple orange pasta salad, scones with lemon or almond crème, yummy dessert. And iced tea of course!
Now that we have the place and the food we need to talk about our bookseller. FoxTale Book Shoppe! An amazing bookstore that is so author friendly. They hold workshops, host book launches, book parties, book teas, book everything. We are so pleased to have them on board.
Ciara: The big decisions are made so let’s concentrate on a few of the small things. I’d strongly suggest to offer some door prizes or welcome bags with promo goodies. One way to offset the cost of this to stay within your budget, reach out to local stores and small businesses. At Love Our Readers Luncheon we worked with SandyJo Designs for our centerpieces, Jewelry designer Julie Helligrath from Enchanted Ambition, Mary Conneally who donated books and other authors to fill our bags with amazing swag! Oh, and we even made the welcome bags.
Lindi: Correction. Ciara made the bags. Also, each author is donating a basket for the door prizes. The centerpieces are door prizes as well.
A few other miscellaneous things to think about is making sure you have all utensils, decorations, name tags, pens for signing, paper products and dishes. At our event, we’ll be eating on mismatched china because it fits our theme.
Lindi: Yes, I work with a guy whose wife collects china. She’s donating the use of 40 plates for the day. Ciara and I are dishwashers immediately after the event. Event planner/author to dishwasher in a matter of minutes. Gotta love it!! (And we do!)
Ciara: Lastly, set a schedule ahead of time. Make sure you speak to your keynote speaker, each of your authors and bookseller to work out a timeline that works for everyone.
Lindi: We hope to stay on our timeline. If not, well, we live and learn and trust us, we are taking notes for next year. Since our goal is to raise local author awareness, we hope to grow the book signing part of the event.
Thanks for letting us share this journey we’ve been on. We’ve been promoting this by social media and word of mouth. FB Twitter, Instagram—If you are on these sites and are our friends, I’m sure you’ve seen our posts. As of today we only have 7 tickets left. Of course we hope to sell them this week.
Anybody want to come?
Missy Tippens, here. Thank you Lindi and Ciara! I hope some of you may be able to come to our event. We'd love to see you! Visit http://loveourreaders.blogspot.com for more info! Feel free to ask questions.
GIVEAWAYS TODAY! Please let us know in the comments section if you'd like to be entered.Ciara is giving away one copy of Valentine's in Sweetwater County.
Lindi is giving away one copy of Rich in Faith.