Monday, March 21, 2016

Monday in Maryland - There's something about Barbara Vey

United States Naval Academy

Last week, the Maryland Romance Writers (MRW) hosted Barbara Vey as their guest speaker.  From her website (link),

As Contributing Editor for Publishers Weekly for 7 years, Barbara Vey left to start her own website with the goal of bringing readers and writers together. She is the recipient of the 2012 RWA Vivian Stephens Industry Award and 2013 RT Melinda Helfer Award. Barbara has created the ultimate reader experience with the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Luncheon held in Milwaukee, WI every April. An avid reader, Barbara consumed a book a day before taking on the glamorous life of a roving reporting. Traveling all over the world to conferences from Romance to Thrillers, Mysteries to Horror, Historicals to Comic Con, her love of Romance and the Happily Ever After keeps her grounded while she offers readers a place to step away from life's daily trials to take a positive journey through the world of books.

Barbara shared her journey from author cruise to Publishers Weekly to the reader luncheon. She entertained the audience with her own "Lucy" moments while finding readers along the way. Barbara's enthusiasm for life in general, but reading in particular, was infectious to the entire audience. She offered examples of author branding and reader connections. Check out the tweets from the meeting at this link.

I invited Barbara to stay with me over the weekend so I could share the sights of Washington, DC. After our tour of the Pentagon, we joined Diana Belchase (link) for a driving tour of the Marine Corps Memorial, Fort Myer, and the Air Force Memorial. We ended the day at the Chart House in Old Town Alexandria. On Saturday, we visited the United States Naval Academy in search of a few good men and women serving our country.  We found John Paul Jones, "father of the American Navy".


Midshipman in front of the
US Navy Submarine Centennial Monument

Before this weekend, I had a casual acquaintance with Barbara. Back in 2008, Mary Gramlich (link) recommended I check out Barbara's blog on Publishers Weekly - it was a refreshing change to the snarky blogs dominating Romanceland. I attended Barbara's reader luncheons in 2014 and 2015 at this link, link, link, link, link, link, and linkI advocated for more luncheons like Barbara's at this link.

After this weekend, I have found a kindred spirit in this reader advocate. During the meeting, Barbara explained the importance of always carrying a business card and even a book. She shared several examples of how she gave away books to others in restaurants. As we left the meeting, Barbara noticed MRW members left books they received from conferences on a table for other members to take. Since we were the last to walk out of the conference room, Barbara grabbed the leftover books and gave them to the receptionist at the community center. She discovered the receptionist's daughter worked at a local library where books were always welcome. Barbara demonstrated there is always pockets of readers to discover.

I recommend any writer's group to invite Barbara as a guest speaker to a meeting or conference. I also encourage authors to request an individual consultation from Barbara - she is attending RWA in San Diego. Connect with Barbara at this link.

Mahalo, Maryland Romance Writers, for inviting Barbara to Baltimore!


Annapolis Book Store

I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash. To enter the giveaway,

1. Leave a comment about "author event" you have attended - book signing, luncheon, convention, or passing by on the street. What made it special?

2. Comments are open through Saturday, March 26, 10 pm in Baltimore.

3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 27.

Mahalo,

Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City

Navy personnel patrol Annapolis Harbor

50 comments:

  1. I would love to meet both of you one day! Last fall I attended my first book signing at our local library. It was small, only eight tables and about thirteen interested patrons, but those of us there were avid readers and excited about each other's work. I'd call that a success :)

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    1. Authors consider it a success if one reader shows up, so I'm sure they were thrilled with the turn out. Follow your favorite authors (and other readers on FB, Twitter and other social media to find out where they'll be. They'll love seeing you!

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  2. I have only ever been to one book signing. It was organised by the local library. It was a lot of fun.

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    1. We need to get more author events in your area. Please post your general area and we'll see what we can do.

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  3. I've never been to any book signing but it's on my bucket list to one day get to a signing at Nora Robert's Boonsboro!

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    1. Ada, you'll love going to author events. You can meet them and ask all kinds of questions you've wanted answered. Watch Kim's blog, I'm sure she posts upcoming events.

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  4. I haven't been to any author events.

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    1. Hi Karen, keep your eyes open online and I'm sure you'll find some in your area that will interest you. And thanks for stopping by.

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  5. I've tried to attend many conventions and/or book signings and they sadly (for me) didn't work out. But I will not give up :)
    I enjoyed reading your post about Barbara Vey. Thanks for sharing.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. Hi Carol, I'm glad you're not giving up. They can be a lot of fun and you'll meet other readers who love books as much as you.

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  6. I've tried to attend many conventions and/or book signings and they sadly (for me) didn't work out. But I will not give up :)
    I enjoyed reading your post about Barbara Vey. Thanks for sharing.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  7. I have never been to one, but think it would be a fun event.

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    1. Kristen, I've had a great time at every event I've ever gone to. I always feel like people are talking my language...books! :)

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  8. Thanks for recapping our weekend, and for organizing it in the first place. It was a hoot. :::waving::::

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    1. Diana, one of my favorite parts was meeting you and your husband. I am going to find a way to come back for another visit! :)

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  9. Kim, thanks so much for this wonderful write up. I had a terrific time and discovered so much about our American history that I didn't know. Your personal tours were amazing and I'm already passing the info on to others. Meeting the Maryland romance writers was a joy. Good luck to everyone entered in today's contest.

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  10. I've been to a few author signings. I had a lot of fun! I've met Sherilyn Kenyon and Jacquelin Frank at a couple of the signings.

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    1. You've met the big guns in books. Bet you have some great memories. Thanks for stopping by.

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  11. Oh wow, that is smart thinking! There are readers everywhere - at some fun odd spots, I've found. I've never been to a reader event, myself. But dream of someday being able to!

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    1. I hope you can find a reader event in your area, if not, you're always welcome to attend my event in Milwaukee! :)

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  12. I am getting ready to attend my 3rd Barbara Vey luncheon. So much fun meeting new authors and getting together with some of my book club friends. It's also a fun get away for my husband and I.

    Awesome event. Thank you Barbara

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    1. Lynne, I'm so glad you enjoy it and am looking forward to seeing you next month. New stuff planned, so I can't wait to hear the feedback!

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  13. Great blog and I thank you for the shout out. I know Barbara provided you with so much great I do and you sharing is appreciated!

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    1. Hi Mary, thanks for stopping by the blog today. Kim does such fun stuff!

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  14. Great blog and I thank you for the shout out. I know Barbara provided you with so much great I do and you sharing is appreciated!

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  15. I went to KissCon in Towson last Spring because a friend invited me.

    I've also met authors at event in bookstores or luncheons. The best was this past weekend. I spent the weekend at an author's beach house with a group of 10 women.

    Denise

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    1. Wow Denise, even just saying you stayed in a beach house sounds amazing right now. Bet it was fun.

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  16. My favorite was a talk and signing by Diana Gabaldon when Echo in the Bone came out. It was a great evening!

    My husband and I are going to Las Vegas in April and will be going to some of the Thursday programs, plus the big signing on Saturday. I can't wait!

    Loved you picture of the Naval Academy Chapel at the top of the page. My husband and I were married there almost 33 years ago!

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    1. Susan, Diana Gabaldon is fascinating to listen to. I'm an Outlander fan too. Have fun in Vegas!

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  17. I have been lucky enough to attend all of Barbara's luncheons except the first one (she is a gem!), as well as several of Lori Foster's Reader-Author Get Togethers. What makes these special for me is the chance to meet some friendly, interesting people who just happen to be talented authors as well! I also enjoy the talks by authors at our local libraries and bookstores.

    Mary McCoy

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    1. Mary, one of my highlights is always seeing you and your daughter. You are an author's dream reader!

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  18. Have not attend one
    Kimh

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    1. Kimh, hope you get the chance to one day. They are starting to have them all over.

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  19. I'm afraid I've never been to one but I remember the ones Barbara had online that lasted a week - I had a blast and met some new online friends too.

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    1. Catslady, I remember you from the online parties. I now have one every year in April in Milwaukee at barbaraveyreaders.com 60 authors and 500 readers. Hope to see you here some day.

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  20. Wow! Romanceland is lucky to have Barbara actively involved! And that is so true, there are pockets of readers everywhere. What great ideas and ways to reach them! I work with a group of oncology clinics and like to leave books in the free reads book shelves. Sometimes the books come back and are cycled through to others and sometimes they disappear. I like to think the books were so good they had to take them home :)

    I haven't ever been to an author event but after reading this I really think I should.

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    1. Alexia, watch online for events in your area. If you need books for your Oncology Clinics, let Kim know. She could probably hook you up with some authors for donations (or let me know).

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    2. Thank you, Barbara. I will, on both counts!!

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  21. I've been to a few author signings. I had a lot of fun! I've met Sherilyn Kenyon and Jacquelin Frank at a couple of the signings.

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  22. I have been to author signings and writer's conferences. Meeting some of my favorite authors have made them special.

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  23. The first big author event I attended was RomCon in Colorado Springs about 3 years ago. It is smaller than RT which I attended last year. It was nice getting to meet the authors in small groups and get to know them a bit. I found several new authors I enjoy and got to know more about those I was already reading. The activities were enjoyable. The one drawback was the overall theme that year was erotica, which I do not read. There were other options for the individual sessions, but the tone for group activities centered on the theme. It would not have been much of an issue if the conference wasn't part of our summer vacation with our 15 year old grandson. He and my husband were out sightseeing every day and the hotel was big enough that the events didn't impose upon them. However the books and goodies did come back to the room. My daughter is still giving me a hard time about the Bondage Bear I won.

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  24. Never been to any

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  25. RAGT, romantic times and a few more....I've leaned that authors love readers as much as we love them.

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  26. Saw Suzanne Brockmannn at a book signing. She was a wonderful speaker and interacted with the readers.
    ladbookfan

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  27. So wonderful to spend time with you during the January cruise, Barbara :-) Your humor and insights are priceless! Great to share and learn, pitch to editors, meet other authors and media-savvy folks--that's so not my strength, sad to say :-( Attended SWFRW convention on March 12th, book signing there and at the Lee County Reading Festival on the 19th. The lovely lady who owns a small local bookstore near our home in Upstate SC is hosting myself and Lynnette Hallberg/Austin on April 19th. Lynn's supplying the wedding cake; I'm offering a basket and chocolates. Fun!!

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  28. I haven't gotten to one yet - but I'm keeping my eyes open in case one comes to my area.

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  29. I attended the ALA Convention in San Francisco a few years ago. It was fantastic!

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  30. I've never been but I always like catching recaps when the blogs I follow attend them. They seem like so much fun. I would love to check out RWA one day! Sadly, not much really happens out where I live.

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  31. I have not attended any.
    Karen T.

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