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Introducing Reader Meet Writer: An Author Event Series on Zoom for SIBA member bookstores

Posted By Nicki Leone, Wednesday, April 1, 2020

RSVP to Wanda Jewell to sign up for Reader Meet Writer

One of the earliest effects of COVID-19 on the book industry was the cancellation of almost all scheduled author tours and book events – with devastating impact on both the authors and bookstores.

SIBA has created the Reader Meet Writer Author Series as an alternative for bookstores that--now that most of the country in under some version of a shelter in place order—are seeking to create ways to engage with their customers online. Participating stores will be able to invite their customers to exclusive video events with authors which are only available to SIBA stores. Events will be hosted by SIBA and can be attended by up to 1000 people. Bookstores handle all ticket and book sales from their customers.

The schedule of events for the next three months is already in place, beginning with many of the  writers whose books are  Spring Okra Picks, including Grady Hendrix's highly anticipated “The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires,” a SIBA bookseller favorite.

Here is the confirmed schedule so far:

Reader Meet Writer, Okra Pick
April 7 Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires / Grady Hendrix
April 16 The Coyotes of Carthage / Steven Wright
April 21 Blue Marlin / Lee Smith
April 28 Feels Like Falling / Kristy Woodson Harvey
May 5 Before She Was Helen / Caroline B. Cooney

May 20 The Prettiest Star / Carter Sickels
May 21 A Taste of Sage / Yaffa Santos

Reader Meet Writer,
Southern Edition
May 6 Native / Kaitlin Curtice
May 12 Hello Summer / Mary Kay Andrews

More events will be added as authors are confirmed. To participate, email  
IMPORTANTYou must contact SIBA by Saturday, April 4th to be included in the first event with Grady Hendrix

We sold out of copies of Taylor’s book and have re-ordered to meet demand. We were really pleased to be able to offer this to our customers and it came at just the right time. It gave folks something else to think about and our community really loves hearing from authors. We’re so grateful that SIBA is doing the heavy lifting.  That really helps us out right now with the 75 thousand things we are doing.” -Serena Wycoff, Copperfish Books

What participating stores do:

  1.   Promoting the event to their customer base.
  2.   Handling ticket and book sales, and providing SIBA with the number of RSVPs.
  3.   Providing their customers with the specially created link and passcode to attend the online event.
  4.   Reporting book sales and feedback to SIBA after the event is over

What SIBA does:

  1.   Scheduling all Reader Meet Writer events
  2.   Preparing presenters with what they need for the event
  3.   Preparing all the materials participating bookstores will need to promote the event
  4.   Hosting the event itself, including handling all technical issues and managing all event logistics

“We had 35 people RSVP and sold 20 books.  I call that a success.” – Tom Lowenburg, Octavia Books

A pilot event was held on March 31 with eight bookstores and Taylor Brown, an Okra Pick author whose book tour for his new novel, Pride of Eden, had been scheduled for over a dozen of southern bookstores before being cancelled.  The test event attracted almost 100 attendees, which stores were able to leverage into book sales.

 “What I loved about this is that all the work was done for me.... I have a ready-made virtual event that I just need to share. It is a part of my store it is a part of my store community and it is something I can offer with No Work on my part. I create a special email address for RSVPs. I create an event page (with the verbiage already templated by SIBA) and push it. I wait for the link from Wanda and send that to my RSVPS. I am offering something to my customers that some of them really need- the ability to connect with people and authors around books. I can keep them engaged with our platform and our store...  and I can focus on the time-consuming drain that is all the other work.” – Kimberly Daniels, The Country Bookshop

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  Covid-19  Zoom Meeting 

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