Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Lori Foster and Dianne Casteel's Reader Event
This last weekend was the most fun I've had at a writer "do" for a long time, thanks to the hard work of Lori Foster and Diane Casteel and all the rest.
This is their 4th year and the contributed baskets are raffled for various charities. These baskets lined the Marriott's dining room in Westchester, OH (located between Cincinatti, OH and Dayton).
Approximately 300 writers, readers, agents, publishers, etc. attended, plus some readers who came in for the booksigning. I loved meeting new people and talking with long term friends like Linda Mc and Vickie M. In retrospect, I do not believe I heard one complaint, and there were plenty of smiling winners at the event, which was not structured like a regular conference.
Lori and Diane labored, and I mean labored over this masterpiece in which many authors sent promos and baskets. Major baskets. One friend won 5 fully stuffed baskets. I was slightly jealous. I took a couple of filled Branson, MO tourist totes and the same person won both! The charities were for a women's shelter, animal centers, service men, and others. Next year, Lori and Diane will sponsor others, and their anthology sales go toward charities, too.
This fantastic reader/author event only cost $35, which is unbelievable when some conferences with a lot less offerings are charging $100 on up, attendance fees. You can read more about it at Lifetime's Michelle Buonfoglio's blog and others. Berkley Editor Cindy Hwang and Spencerhill agent Jennifer Schober and agent Laura Bradford also gave chats and listened to pitches. So some business was done, very cheaply, too.
With all due credit to anyone putting on a conference and their staff, I highly recommend that more of these lower cost events be planned to allow more interaction between authors and their readers, plus the pitches to editors and agents.
Lori and Diane and their crew could certainly teach us some lessons on providing a good entertaining fun, but also business event. I hear that Portland just had one and attendees also loved it.
I met so many of my own readers that I was absolutely thrilled. I also met some Book Junkies from whom I'd just received a recommended read for April's A STRANGER'S TOUCH, also Barbara Vey, who writes a blog for PW.
Here's hoping for more of the same, and thank you Diane and Lori.