Books on the Nightstand discussion

BOTNS Retreat, Apr. 8-10, 2011 > Authors at the retreat

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
When do you want to know who is coming? Should it be a surprise? Should we tell you ahead? Hmmmmmm ....

We are currently finalizing the list.
We've got, oh, 7, I think. Some of whom you've probably heard of, some of whom will be new to you. It's an exciting and diverse list.

But I want to tease you for awhile longer, so I won't say any more. :)

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Hints? Please?

message 3: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi | 153 comments Oh, c'mon Ann - April is a LOOOOOONG way away! Just one or two names, or titles of books they've authored, or other (relatively easy) hints, huh?
Pleeeeeezzzzeeeee . . .

message 4: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Hints would be good, especially if you don't think we know an author. I'd like to do my homework ahead of time O:-)

message 5: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments Some hints would be fun. But I'm with Callie, a bit of homework is up our alley!

message 6: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Well, hints about authors you don't know won't be very effective now, will they?

message 7: by Callie (new)

Callie (calliekl) | 646 comments Ann, that's what the internet is for!

message 8: by Readnponder (new)

Readnponder | 125 comments I can't attend the retreat. But if I could ... I would want to know the names of the authors ahead of time so I could read their books over the winter and thus be better informed to ask questions, appreciate their comments, etc.

message 9: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments I can wait a little while longer, but would also like to know the authors ahead of time--at least the new authors I may not be familiar with. I'm fine with a few surprises, though!

message 10: by Joanne-in-Canada (new)

Joanne-in-Canada (inkling_jo) | 255 comments I'm coming to the retreat, and would want to bring books for autographs. I appreciate the chance to tell the authors that I read and liked their books.

If I haven't heard of the author, I too would like to do my homework and read something of theirs ahead of time.

So, I guess if you are inviting unpublished authors, they could be kept secret...

message 11: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
So a moment of candor here ... I hesitate to post this, but I hope that we can speak honestly and that you guys can help us figure this one out.

I hope that you will all consider supporting some of the authors at the retreat by buying their books there.

This is a tricky one for us -- normally an author signing is promoted at a particular store and it's bad form to show up with a book to be signed that was purchased at another store (unless it's an older book and you are buying the new one at the store). Obviously, this is a completely different situation, and it's understandable that you will want to read some of the authors' books before you meet them. On the other hand, all of our authors (except perhaps one) are attending on their own dime (i.e., not part of a publisher-financed book tour), and the bookstore itself is also giving us practically carte blanche to do whatever we want, so I want to support them in turn.

You see our dilemma. Trying to figure out a way to make it win-win-win (you, the authors, the bookstore).

Ideas? Normally book sales are a measure of success for an event. How do we convince an author that it was worth his or her time and money to spend the weekend with us? If an author pays $500 for travel and accommodation (that's low), how do we make them feel valued if they sell 6 books that weekend? How do we let the bookstore know (this one is easier, as I *know* you will all buy plenty of books, even if they are not by the attending authors)?

I welcome your thoughts on this -- it's something that Michael and I have been wrestling with. Someone suggested that we provide links to our host bookstore and you can buy the books there, but ahead of time. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas?

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Ann wrote: "I welcome your thoughts on this -- it's something that Michael and I have been wrestling with. Someone suggested that we provide links to our host bookstore and you can buy the books there, but ahead of time. What do you think? Do you have any other ideas? "

At the author events I've attended, I've read one or more of their backlist titles and then purchased their current title at the bookstore. Reading backlist titles often opens up the discussions and provides a nice extra boost to the authors' catalogues.

message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments Ann,

This makes perfect sense and I see the dilemma. I am happy to pre-order authors' books online ahead of time from the host bookstore. That seems like a good solution.

I'm just winging it here, but I realize this discussion topic is only geared toward the retreat guests. What if you did something broader that would both help promote the authors to a wider audience and also help include all of your podcast listeners, whether they attend the retreat or not?

You could divide the retreat guests up into groups randomly, 7 groups for the 7 authors and we could each read one selected book--like a book group for each one. Then discuss for a podcast episode. (This would give you a topic as well.) Then you can link to your host bookstore and let your listeners know that this is helping to support the authors and bookstore. (Through this link you could also track how many purchases are made, which may be useful for future author events.) I hope this doesn't sound complicated. But I think it'd be nice to get together in a smaller group to discuss one common book and it'd be fun to share it on your podcast, this would be an easy way to select a book. Opening that discussion up to all of your listeners as a special event "book club" read may yield a good economic result for your authors. I know I've purchased several books discussed on your podcast.

message 14: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Karen, that's an intriguing idea. Right now we are planning on smallish group discussions with each author (or possibly 2 authors paired), though we are thinking that it will be on a topic that surrounds a book, rather than the book itself (so we don't leave out anyone who has not yet read the book).

Tanya, you make a very good point about backlist. Thanks.

Meanwhile, Karen is of course correct that the authors who are attending will have multiple mentions on the podcast and exposure to a wider range than just those attending the retreat. I hope that they also sell some books over that weekend.

I really appreciate the ability to use you all as a sounding board. As you know, this rereat is an idea that started out small (wouldn't be cool if a bunch of us hung out together?) to something that is far bigger than we ever anticipated. We're really making it up as we go.


message 15: by Jana (new)

Jana (jazziegirl2010) | 309 comments As a non-attending reader/listener (on the left coast)...I appreciate Karen's idea of involving ALL in reading books by the authors you have attending.

Really would love to come, this sounds so fun!

message 16: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments Ann,

You could also do something involving a drawing and prizes. Say, one entry per visiting author book purchased from the host bookstore's site. Then you could draw winners from those entries. This could be open to all listeners, not just those attending the retreat. That would help book sales as well as also include your broad audience in the fun.


message 17: by Joanne-in-Canada (new)

Joanne-in-Canada (inkling_jo) | 255 comments Ann, what about the broader question of money? There has been no mention of attendees paying for events yet. I certainly expect to and though I appreciate that you are trying to keep costs down for us, I'm concerned that people will end up being out of pocket when they don't need to be.

Depending on what the event is, I think it is reasonable to have an admission fee, a pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation, or free.

message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Joanne, we are not planning on charging anything on top of what people are already spending on travel, food and lodging. We really do want to keep this affordable and fun, and we would really, truly, honestly prefer you to buy books and support the bookstore and authors.

Right now we are planning on two events that will incur expenses: a small welcome reception at the Inn on Friday night for attendees, and a larger cocktail-party, mingle-with-the-authors type thing on Saturday night at the bookstore. We may look for a sponsor or two for those (spread the word if you know of a company that might be a good fit!), or else it will be cash bar.

There are still a bunch of details to be worked out, but I'm not worried. Thank you for your concern :)

message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm already saving my pennies for the load of books I will be purchasing (I may as well be honest :-) ).

I've never been one for surprises so that's why I'd love to know who's coming ahead of time, but I totally get your point Ann. I will be patient.

message 20: by Joanne-in-Canada (new)

Joanne-in-Canada (inkling_jo) | 255 comments Cash bar sounds fine. Shopping at the bookstore sounds wonderful. Just wanted to make sure you and Michael weren't taking out a line of credit to cover costs.

message 21: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Joanne, thank you, but no, we won't be taking out loans. At the very most we'll be buying a few hunks of Vermont cheese and some fruit. :)

message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate | 269 comments I am reading through all the comments and can't wait for the retreat!! I have never been to an author signing and am excited that I'll get to meet some authors. I think mentioning a couple of authors who will be attending on this feed might be a good idea so that I can read something on their backlist. Ann and Michael have slowly helped me out of my comfort zone of reading which is mostly literary fiction and I am trying to expand into different genres. Knowing a particular author is attending would spur me into action. Surprises are good, too and I will be very happy to discover a new author and find a book which is completely new.

I fully expect to come home with a bag or two of new books hopefully signed by their authors,purchased on the Retreat. My expectation is to help support the author and bookstore. I am a library user/Kindle user/book buyer and am always happiest buying books.

Thanks Ann & Michael for all your effort in putting the Retreat together.

message 23: by Marly (new)

Marly | 152 comments Ann and Micahel, I completely understand your concerns. I have no problem helping to support the authors who take the time to meet with us and the bookstore that is gracious enough to host the events you are planning. I cannot wait, it sounds like so much fun.
Don't forget though, I offered to bring a nice cheese, fruit and cracker tray so no cheese buying for you in Vermont!!

message 24: by Jackie (new)

Jackie | 11 comments I would love to hear who is coming. I don't think I will be able to make it, but I would be happy to help support the bookstore and authors that would be coming. If the bookstore has a website or some site where those of us that can't come could preorder autographed books would be great!

message 25: by Taueret (last edited Nov 03, 2010 12:16AM) (new)

Taueret | 42 comments "I think mentioning a couple of authors who will be attending on this feed might be a good idea so that I can read something on their backlist."

Maybe this ^^? I'd like to read something by the invited authors beforehand, I know I'll enjoy meeting them so much more if I have (also I always think of a million things I would ask an author if I met them!). I understand the thing about the money too (now)- I'm more than happy to buy the book at the bookstore there, but maybe could read something published earlier beforehand?

edited to add

message 26: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
You guys, I am so flipping excited! We just confirmed our NINTH author! I think we're going to stop there unless there's a super-special author who drops out of the sky, so that every author feels valued and so that I don't have an ulcer. All of the authors are fun, interesting, entertaining, kind and down to earth. It will be a fabulous weekend.

No worries, we will announce the authors in advance, I'm just not sure when.

message 27: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments Ann,

Thanks for the news--I'm excited too!


message 28: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 91 comments I am so excited! Please don't wait too long, I'm a slow reader and really want to read a few back
titles for authors I have not read. Maybe it could be a Happy New Year gift to us. I am happy to order the back titles from the book store hosting us!

message 29: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Yes, it will be Dec. or Jan. It sounds strange, but I want to close registration first. I want people to come to the retreat who really want to be there with everyone, not just fans of an author or two. I know it sounds counter-intuitive -- we could use the authors to get more attendees -- but in my own crazy way it makes sense to me.

message 30: by [deleted user] (new)

Is it April yet? It's nice to have something to look forward to but I'm also really REALLY impatient!

message 31: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Cristina, yes! There are rooms at the Palmer House for $120/night -- but book soon!

Eager to meet you!

message 32: by Carol (new)

Carol (ckubala) | 560 comments Mod
Great to hear the lineup of authors that will be at the retreat. Hope to read a few titles before attending though doubt I will be able to fit them all in before the retreat.

Thanks Michael and Ann for all you are doing to make this "the event".

And a huge thanks to the authors, many who are fitting their own bill, for their willingness to meet the fans and join our group.

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

So I just placed my order with Northshire for all of the attending authors' available newest releases. Packing to go to the retreat won't be a problem, it's coming back that will be a challenge :-)

Until the retreat, I will be working on their backlists -- I picked up a few at the library last night. I think I will need a sabbatical from work to get my reading in....

(as you can see I'm just a bit excited)

message 34: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Suzanne, you're awesome. Thank you!
We are working on a deal to get any books you buy at the retreat shipped home for free, too. May be over a certain $ amount, but I doubt you'll have a problem :)

We're very excited, too! Michael and I have a "planning meeting" tomorrow (so official!).

message 35: by Kate (new)

Kate | 269 comments I also placed an order from The Northshire to ship me some books now to read prior to the retreat,especially the authors I haven't read whose books are available. Can't wait to get them and will order the rest next week to be held until I get to the retreat. Will there be availability to get books pre-bought from The Northshire signed during the retreat? I don't need all of the authors' signatures and I certainly don't need Chris Bohjalian to sign my raggedy, well read copy of The Double Bind, but I think it would be cool (geeky), to get my newish, slightly read books signed. Thanks for the book-author etiquette help.

message 36: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Yes, Kate, if you want to bring them, that's fine! Some people will be flying with weight restrictions on their luggage, which is why we brought up the "hold until the retreat" option.

message 37: by Kate (new)

Kate | 269 comments Ann wrote: "Yes, Kate, if you want to bring them, that's fine! Some people will be flying with weight restrictions on their luggage, which is why we brought up the "hold until the retreat" option."

Thanks Ann!

message 38: by Karen (new)

Karen (karenf) | 66 comments I was wondering if we ordered them at Northshire if we could still get the free shipping back home...trying to decide what to order first!

message 39: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Yes, karen, I think so.

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