After a short break, Reader Meet Writer, SIBA's virtual author tour program for member booksellers, comes back stronger than ever in July! We've made a few bookseller-friendly changes:
Events are on Tuesday afternoons (start times between 3-5 PM EDT) and Thursdays at 7 PM EDT.
Bookseller resources, including Zoom links for rsvp-ing attendees, are available a month in advance. You must login to sibaweb.com to access. Please keep the Zoom info in-house and don't share on your store site, general email list, newsletter or social media. Only make available to folks who rsvp/sign up for your events. Thank you!
No more weekly emails with zoom links and templates for your emails. We trust you to use the assets and resources provided in RMW Bookseller Resources as works best for your customers. Still need reminders? Let me know; we'll work it out!
Wiley Cash, our Conroy Legacy Award recipient, award-winning author, and indie bookseller advocate, takes over as host. We have a FANTASTIC slate of authors scheduled for the summer, presenting books in genres and on subjects near and dear to our hearts.
Are you interested in joining the circle of bookstores sending invites to their customers? Please email me and we'll discuss what's involved.
A Quick Glance at July's Reader Meet Writer Schedule:
Tuesday, July 7 at 3 PM EDT: Marian Keyes will discuss Grown Ups. Confession: Marian Keyes is one of my favorite authors. She's also one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Her books have been bestsellers around the world. Anybody Out There won the British Book Awards award for popular fiction and the inaugural Melissa Nathan Prize for Comedy Romance. This Charming Man won the Irish Book Award for popular fiction. Her novels, though laugh out loud funny, explore serious themes like addiction, domestic abuse, grief, and depression with compassion and hope.They are great choices for book clubs. Grown Ups tackles eating disorders, compulsive spending, infidelity, and more, in a narrative that moves quickly, is impossible to put down, and completely satisfies. I fell in love with the characters, cheered them on as they struggled to overcome challenges, and hope they reappear in future books. Graham Norton praises Grown Ups, "So enjoyed this! Magnificently messy lives, brilliantly untangled. Funny, tender, and completely absorbing!." She's coming to us from Ireland. Your customers will love her; let's raise her visibility across SIBA territory.
Thursday, July 9 at 7 PM EDT: Silas House will discuss Clay's Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, and The Coal Tattoo. Silas is the New York Times bestselling author of six novels, one book of creative nonfiction, and three plays. His writing has appeared frequently in the New York Times and has been published in Time,Newsday, Garden & Gun, the Oxford American, and many other places. The three novels, which share a common setting and some characters, are companion novels. They may be read individually, in any order, but collectively, they form a rich tableau of life in rural mountain Kentucky in the last century. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution praises Silas House, "In sly and subtle ways, House skillfully beckons readers to dig deep into their own hearts and minds.
Tuesday, July 14 at 5 PM EDT: Peggy Noe Stevens and Susan Reigler present their work Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon? Join Peggy and Susan for a bourbon tasting and demonstration, and learn how to make an out-of-this-world Old Fashioned and a marvelous Mint Julep. Peggy Noe Stevens is founder of the Bourbon Women Association and a master bourbon taster. Susan Reigler is a former restaurant critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal and a current correspondent for Bourbon+ and American Whiskey magazines. Which Fork Do I Use with My Bourbon? offers a step-by-step guide to hosting a successful bourbon-tasting party—complete with recipes, photos, and tips for beginners and experienced aficionados alike.
Thursday, July 16 at 7PM EDT: Lenard D. Moore and contributors to All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Carolina African-American Writers' Collective. Lenard D. Moore, internationally-acclaimed poet, anthologist, and professor, and North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will discuss the collective, which has shaped the modern literary landscape of the Carolinas for the last twenty-five years. They will be joined by contributors who will read selections from poems, stories, and essays included in this collection. Contributors joining us include L. Teresa Church, Crystal Simone Smith, Bridgette A. Lacy, Grace Ocasio, Fred Joiner, Carole Boston Weatherford, Camille T. Dungy, Angela Belcher-Epps, and Gideon Young.
Tuesday, July, 21 at 5 PM EDT: Kristin Harmel will discuss The Book of Lost Names in conversation with New York Times bestselling author Kristina McMorris. Harmel, the best-selling author of The Room on Rue Amelie now offers the story of a young woman with a talent for forgery who helps hundreds of Jewish refugees flee France in WWII, encoding their true identities in an ancient book for safekeeping. Though she falls in love with a Resistance agent, they are cruelly separated by the war, and only the Book of Lost Names can reunite them. Fiona Davis praises, "Not since "The Nightingale" have I finished a book and been so choked with emotion. Harmel ...shines a brilliant light on those who had their identities erased and lives destroyed, on a country and its people torn apart, and young women like Eva, who risked their lives with everyday acts of epic heroism. Sweeping and magnificent."
Thursday, July 23 at 7PM EDT: Jill McCorkle presents Hieroglyphics. Jill McCorkle's first two novels were released simultaneously when she was just out of college, and the New York Times called her "a born novelist." Since then, she has published six novels and four collections of short stories. Hieroglyphics is a mesmerizing novel about the burden of secrets carried across generations and the difficulty of ever really knowing the intentions and dreams and secrets of the people who raised you. Damita Nocton, a bookseller at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC writes, "The brilliance of Jill McCorkle is that her novels read as if you are enjoying a marvelous cup of coffee and conversation with a very dear friend. Hieroglyphics is about memories and remembering, loss of love and loved ones, preserving the past and what remains after we are gone. Jill McCorkle writes with poignancy and wry honesty. This is the work of a master at the top of her game.
Tuesday, July 28 at 5 PM EDT: S. A. Cosby discusses Black Top Wasteland. Shawn A. Cosby is a writer from Southeastern Virginia, now residing in Gloucester, Virginia. His short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines. His short story "The Grass Beneath My Feet" won the Anthony Award for best short story in 2019. He is also the author of My Darkest Prayer and Brotherhood of the Blade. Black Top Wasteland is a gritty, voice-driven thriller about a former getaway driver who thought he had escaped the criminal life who is pulled back in by race, poverty, and his own former life of crime. Beauregard "Bug" Montage is a man with many different titles: husband, father, friend, honest car mechanic. But before he gave it up, Bug used to be known from the hills of North Carolina to the beaches of Florida as the best Wheel Man on the East Coast. After a series of financial calamities, Bug feels he has no choice but to take one final job as the getaway driver for a daring diamond heist that could solve all his money troubles and allow him to go straight once and for all. Like "Ocean's Eleven" meets "Drive" (but with a mostly black cast of characters), Blacktop Wasteland is a searing, operatic story of sons living up (or down) to their fathers; of a heist gone sideways; of a man ground down by economic desperation; of fast cars and daring chases and identity and love.
Thursday, July 30 at 7 PM EDT: Lara Prescott discusses The Secrets We Kept, a thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the real-life CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago. At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dared publish it, and help Pasternak's magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world—using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world. Amy C. Spaulding, bookseller at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, NC writers, "Lara Prescott's The Secrets We Kept: A Novel dances before and behind the Iron Curtain with nimble grace. This well-crafted debut provides the right tempo of danger and intrigue, coupled with an LGBTQ backstory, and a deep dive into the role of literature in liberation. Every reader can find something here to enjoy."
Beginning July 1, Wiley Cash will take over as host of Reader Meet Writer, SIBA's virtual author series. Wiley Cash is the recipient of the 2020 Conroy Legacy Award, and the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy.The founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of the Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency, Cash has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Weymouth Center. He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and lives in North Carolina with his wife, photographer Mallory Cash, and their two daughters. Wiley Cash is a passionate supporter of independent bookstores, and a charismatic presenter, a winning combination for Reader Meet Writer and our guest authors.
First Event at 7pm:
May 28th - Kristy Woodson Harvey interviews Lisa Wingate & Diane Plauche
Diane Plauche is a volunteer with the Historic New Orleans Collection museum. In 2015, she began assisting the museum in creating a database of historical Lost Friends advertisements, through which formerly enslaved people desperately tried to find their lost families in the decades following emancipation. After reading Lisa Wingate's 2017 novel, Before We Were Yours, Diane wrote to Lisa about the Lost Friends ads, saying, "There is a story in each one of the ads." To date, Diane has entered over 2500 unique ads, and tens of thousands of names in the museum's database, preserving the histories of thousands of families. Diane's work, and the stories of the real-life Lost Friends inspired Lisa's newest novel, The Book Of Lost Friends.
Lisa Wingate is a former journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of numerous novels, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Before We Were Yours, which has sold more than 2.2 million copies. The co-author, with Judy Christie, of the nonfiction book, Before and After, Wingate is a two-time ACFW Carol Award winner, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, and a Southern Book Prize winner. She lives with her husband in North Texas.
Kristy Woodson Harvey is the bestselling author of Dear Carolina, Lies and Other Acts of Love, Slightly South of Simple, The Secret to Southern Charm and The Southern Side of Paradise. Kristy is the winner of the Lucy Bramlette Patterson Award for Excellence in Creative Writing, and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize
First Interactive Event:
June 4th @ 5pm: Which Fork Do I Use With My Bourbon? by Peggy Noe Stevens & Susan Reigler
Join Peggy and Susan for a tasting and demonstration. Learn how to make an Old Fashioned and a Mint Julep. Ingredients: Old Forester 86 Proof, dried cherries or cranraisins, roasted pecans, caramel candy, squares of dark chocolate Watch the trailer!
Peggy Noe Stevens is founder of the Bourbon Women Association and a master bourbon taster. A lifestyle expert, she is also a professional speaker. As a Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee, she has planned hundreds of events globally over the last thirty years, often working with distilleries and master distillers.
Susan Reigler is a former restaurant critic for the Louisville Courier-Journal and a current correspondent for Bourbon+ and American Whiskey magazines. She has also authored or coauthored six books on bourbon, including Kentucky Bourbon Country: The Essential Travel Guide and The Kentucky Bourbon Cocktail Book.
First Tour Event:
June 9th @ 3pm: How Not to Get Away with Murder in the 1940s
Join Beverly Bell, author of The Murder of Marion Miley, as she traces the path the killers took: how they got in, how they got out and made their escape.
Beverly Bell is an award-winning magazine and crime writer whose work has appeared in Arizona Highways, Indianapolis Monthly, Keeneland Magazine, and Kentucky Monthly. Bell is also a featured consultant in Kentucky Education Television's recent documentary Forgotten Fame: The Marion Miley Story.
The RMW Kristy Woodson Harvey (Feels Like Falling) and RMW Marie Benedict (The Other Einstein) events are now available to view online. All SIBA member stores are invited to link, post, or embed them on your websites, in your newsletters, or your social media feeds, and to include your own store branding and purchase links:
It is SIBA's goal to continue Reader Meet Writer after a two week break from June 15-July 1. Half of the books that have been featured on Reader Meet Writer have made the Southern Indie Bestseller List the week following their appearance. That bodes well for the program if that keeps up, and we need to hear from stores who are participating. These virtual events have been well received by booksellers, publishers, and authors alike.
Beginning in July, SIBA is going to offer two virtual events a week, one in the afternoon on Tuesdays and in the evenings on Thursdays. We have confirmed Kristen Harmel on July 21st, and Odie Lindsey on August 6th. We will fill in the remaining dates over the next few weeks and keep the calendar updated at the Reader Meet Writer site for booksellers.
Join this list of bookstores and choose from this list of events to present to your customers. Stores are handling the events as they would handle their own virtual events -- it is left up to the stor. Some are selling the book as the ticket to attend. Some are selling tickets for a flat rate that can then be used as a credit towards the book or any purchase from the store. Each store determines how they want to use the events to assist in selling more books. It is our hope that we are offering stores an easy way to sell books without the headache of managing a new tool.
The RMW Lee Smith (Blue Marlin) and RMW Ruthie Lindsay (There I Am) events are now available to view online. All SIBA member stores are invited to link, post, or embed them on your websites, in your newsletters, or your social media feeds, and to include your own store branding and purchase links:
Paricipating stores, have you completed the events survey? This is a really important final step. We need the data to carry this program forward. Please complete this form for each event.
May 8 at 5pm: Kimberly McCreight, A Good Marriage
May 12 at 5pm: Mary Kay Andrews, Hello Summer
May 13 at 4 pm: Katy Simpson Smith, The Everlasting
May 14 at 4 pm: Susan Beckham Zurenda, Bells for Eli
May 15 at 3 pm: Kristin Arnett, Mostly Dead Things
Lee Smith's appearance on Reader Meet Writer for Blue Marlin (an Okra Pick book) drew an audience of over 450 readers. The event is now available on video. SIBA member stores are invited to embed the video on their own websites and use it in their own marketing efforts.
Born in the small coal-mining town of Grundy, Virginia, Lee Smith began writing stories at the age of nine and selling them for a nickel apiece. Since then, she has written seventeen works of fiction, including Fair and Tender Ladies, Oral History, and, most recently, Guests on Earth. She has received many awards, including the North Carolina Award for Literature and an Academy Award in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her novel The Last Girls was a New York Times bestseller as well as winner of the Southern Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina, with her husband, the writer Hal Crowther.
If you haven't signed up to participate in Reader Meet Writer Virtual Author Events, you can do so by simply emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join this list of bookstores and choose from this list of events to present to your customers. Stores are handling the events as they would handle their own virtual events. Some are selling the book as the ticket to attend. Some are selling tickets for a flat rate that can then be used as a credit towards the book or any purchase from the store. Each store determines how they want to use the events to assist in selling more books. It is our hope that we are offering stores an easy way to sell books without the headache of managing a new tool.
When asked "Are you pleased with the outcome?", a resounding YES from participating booksellers:
"Yes! It came together very quickly for us and we're delighted that people joined in and bought some books. Thank you for putting this together."
"Yes - this was an opportunity to have an author event at a time when we otherwise could not at all."
"Yes-- I was super late in getting the word out so this was more than I'd hoped. I'd ordered 2 in for the store and they might not have sold without this. I sold those 2 locally, did one Direct-to-Home shipment and 1 on Bookshop."
"Yes, it attracted some readers that haven't attended our events in the past."
"Very pleased. Excited to participate again soon."
"Yes. We had I believe 86 RSVPs, but it looks like only 2/3 or so actually attended the event. 17 books in less than 24 hours for an online event is nothing to turn up our noses at! Some of these customers also purchased other books in their orders."
"Yes. My customers loved the chance to hear from such a beloved author!"
"Yes! Normally I sell ZERO hardcover debuts."
Last, and most important, only 18 of the current 60 participating bookstore have completed the events survey. This is a really important final step. We need the data to carry this program forward. Please complete this form for each event. Thanks!
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.
We are adding authors to the schedule. First, if you haven't signed up to promote the Reader Meet Writer (RMW) events and sell the books to your customers and want to, email email@example.com. We have two events coming up next week. Lee Smith is on Tuesday, and Ruthie Lindsay is on Wednesday. Their books, Blue Marlin, and There I Am: The Journey from Hopelessness to Healing - A Novel, are both perfect books for the times. And we will soon be offering three or more events a week. Lee Smith has signed a limited number of bookplates in preparation for her SIBA Reader Meet Writer event (April 21 at 4 p-m). Booksellers who are interested in having some bookplates for their readers and/or those who are interested in hosting virtual events should email Lynn York at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know how the events are working for you by participating in our survey, and by sending us quotes we can use for promotion with publishers or naysayers. Is this helpful? Is it working? Let us know. We are happy to do this heavy lifting but not if we are getting in the way.
There is an Edelweiss collection of RMW titles and new titles will be added and, of course, we are keeping the website as up to date as possible. Finally, some of you have asked for all of the zoom links and passwords in advance and I'm happy to provide these if you want to get everything created in advance. These passwords simply cannot end up on any public-facing websites or social media. Let us know if you'd like to have all of that in advance.
What booksellers are saying about Reader Meet Writer:
Doing Great today!
"Our web traffic had fallen off then I sent out the notice for Lee Smith in (our version of) Shelf Awareness and we now have more than 35 participants and more than 20 books sales.
I am working hard to get the promos going on the rest of them. I don’t know if the others will be as popular - Lee Smith is a favorite in the mountains as you know - but its a great profit to effort ratio - thanks your and Wanda’s efforts.
Our sales were only averaging about $200 a day - but we’ve hit $550 plus today.
Hope you’re finding some fun time out there. I enjoy your flowers and outdoor pics on Facebook. I hope it won’t be too long till I can post grandkid pictures again."
Book No Further
112 Market St SE | Roanoke, VA 24011
email@example.com | www.booknofurther.com
Reader Meet Writer, Okra Pick with Steven Wright Coming Up April 16th @ 5 pm – Are you in?
It was so wonderful to hear Steven Wright at #SIBA19 and I’m excited for him to share his book with readers across the south. If you haven’t signed up to participate in SIBA’s Virtual Author Series Reader Meet Writer, you can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you have, Steven’s The Coyotes of Carthage is “a blistering and thrilling debut—a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, about a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients.” (Edelweiss)
Steven Wright is a clinical associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, where he co-directs the Wisconsin Innocence Project. From 2007-2012 he served as a trial attorney in the Voting Section of the United States Department of Justice. He has written numerous essays about race, criminal justice, and election law for the New York Review of Books.
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 email@example.com. IMPORTANT! You 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:
Promoting the event to their customer base.
Handling ticket and book sales, and providing SIBA with the number of RSVPs.
Providing their customers with the specially created link and passcode to attend the online event.
Reporting book sales and feedback to SIBA after the event is over
What SIBA does:
Scheduling all Reader Meet Writer events
Preparing presenters with what they need for the event
Preparing all the materials participating bookstores will need to promote the event
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
The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance is a trade association which represents hundreds of bookstores and thousands of booksellers in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky,
Virginia, and Mississippi. SIBA exists to empower, promote, and celebrate our core member bookstores in a spirit of partnership. "Core members" are independent, privately held, brick and mortar, commercially zoned bookstores with a
retail storefront, in our region.