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Reader Meet Writer Update

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Sunday, May 17, 2020
Reader Meet Writer's Original Endeavors

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.

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  authors  Covid-19  online events  Zoom Meeting 

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Reader Meet Writer Update

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Future of Reader Meet Writer

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.

All SIBA member bookstores are invited to participate, and join this list of participating bookstores. Just email to be added to the list.

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  authors  booksellers  Covid-19  online events  Zoom Meeting 

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RMW Hosts 13 Events in MAY

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Monday, April 27, 2020

Reader Meet Writer Virtual Author Events for May

If you haven't signed up to participate in Reader Meet Writer Virtual Author Events, you can do so by simply emailing

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!

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  authors  booksellers  Covid-19  online events  Zoom Meeting 

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Introducing Reader Meet Writer Virtual Author Series

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Monday, April 20, 2020

reader meet writer


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.

Booksellers: Share your event feedback!

Publishers: Submit to the Call for Authors form!

Additional Resources:
Reader Meet Writer Code of Conduct
Reader Meet Writer Schedule
List of Participating Booksellers

Email Linda-Marie at if you'd like to add your store to the list of participating bookstores.

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  authors  booksellers  Covid-19  online events  Zoom Meeting 

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Looking Good for Zoom

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Monday, April 20, 2020
Lighting Tips for Virtual Appearances
  1. Find a place where you have natural light on your face.
  2. Consider also putting a standing lamp or light source facing you. Invest in a ring light.
  3. Be thoughtful that your back ground isn’t distracting.
  4. Crop your video to include your bust and hands should you want to hold up a book or gesture the way you might naturally.
  5. If you need water be sure to have it in reach.
  6. Wear a solid color, not white.

Tags:  #readermeetwriter  authors  booksellers  Covid-19  Zoom Meeting 

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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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Change to SIBA's Zoom Office Hours

Posted By Wanda Jewell, Thursday, March 19, 2020

SIBA’s Virtual Office Hours on Zoom are changing beginning Monday, March 23.  Instead of 2-5 PM EST on Wednesdays, we're offering daily opportunities for booksellers to connect and feel part of community.  We invite you to join SIBA for lunch every weekday from 1-2 PM EST.  We'll continue to host our webinars on Wednesdays (and on other days!) and are planning much more virtual communication with you during this time.

In support of your mental well-being, we are offering a six-week series, Bookseller Chill, beginning March 26 at 2 PM EST and continuing each Thursday, same time, same zoom link, till April 30. Led by psychotherapist Bryan Robinson, each session will last approximately 30 minutes and include concepts from his book: #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life (HarperCollins, 2019), followed by what Bryan calls simple, short "MicroChiller" meditations that will help us relax and restore during this time of great uncertainty. You can read Bryan's recent post at The Psychology of Uncertainty: How to Cope with COVID-19 Anxiety.

The link to attend every Thursday at 2pm is:

Tags:  B3! Webinars  coronavirus  Zoom Meeting 

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