Thursday, July 23, 2015

Behind the Scenes Part II

Last month, we discussed event planning for an established conference like Romantic Times Convention. If you missed that post, please click here. This month, I’ll share behind the scenes information for a private reader event.

Last February, Lindi Peterson and I created a new reader event. We titled our event Love OurReaders Luncheon since it was being held on Valentine’s Day, and it was all about the sweet/inspirational love story.

Our purpose wasn’t to make money with this event. Instead, we did this to raise awareness for local businesses as well as local authors. There is so much talent in our area that we believed needed to be promoted; we decided to provide a platform for area small businesses to share their products and services.

Besides theme and purpose, we considered a few other things before developing our luncheon.

  1. Budget. In order to create an accurate budget a few questions had to be answered. Is it going to be a large event with a big budget, a small event with a modest budget, or something in between? We decided to make it an intimate event.
  2. Venue. What venue would fit our vision? We could have a seated dinner at a country club, a buffet at a local restaurant, or tea and sweets at the mall. There were so many possibilities, but 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, intimate seating, and fireplace.
  3. Food. We had to consider our location and theme before establishing our menu. We decided to have 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 was perfect for our sweet/inspirational love event. Our menu included chicken salad, pineapple orange pasta salad, scones with lemon or almond crème, yummy dessert. And iced tea of course!
  4. 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 were so pleased to have them on board.
  5. Door prizes. We wanted lots of prizes and gifts for our readers, but that costs money. One way we offset the cost was to reach out to local stores and small businesses. At Love Our Readers Luncheon, we worked with Sandy Jo 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. Also, each featured author donated a gift basket.
  6. A few other miscellaneous things we had to plan were utensils, decorations, nametags, pens for signing, paper products, and dishes. At our event, we ate on mismatched china because it fit our theme.
  7. Schedule. We spoke to our keynote speaker, each of your authors and bookseller to work out a timeline that worked for everyone.

I hope this post helps give you a behind the scenes look at how a private reader event is planned. We enjoyed every second of our planning and hosting our event.

I’m happy to share that Love Our Readers was such a huge success that we’ll be hosting it again on February 13, 2016. Due to demand, we are expanding by one additional author which allows seven more seats! Watch for information and ticket sales to go live in late August at

Have you ever attended a reader event or conference? 

Ciara Knight writes ‘a little bit of edge and a lot of heart’ with her bestselling young adult speculative fiction and romance stories. Her books have secured four stars from RT book reviews, awarded Night Owl Top Picks, five stars from InD’Tale Magazine and Paranormal Romance Guild, topped the Amazon charts, featured on USA Today Blog, and named book of the month by Long and Short Reviews.

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