In February of last year I posted about a reader’s luncheon that I co-hosted along with my author friend Ciara Knight. It was our first venture into anything like that. We had a good time and received a lot of great feedback, so we decided to do it again. So on February 13th, the 2nd Annual Love Our Readers’ Luncheon happened.
We used pink and white as our theme this year. Here is one of the tables. They were absolutely gorgeous! We have a very cool theme for next year! Can’t reveal yet, but it will be just as beautiful, I’m sure. My best friend from high school, Joanne, has a design business, SandyJo Designs. She makes all these beautiful table arrangements–and we raffle them off to the guests. So six lucky gals got to go home with a beautiful centerpiece. (And yes, we use real china!)
SandyJo Designs also made our mason jars super pretty!
These are the beautiful authors that hosted tables this year. (I’m a co-host, so please don’t think I’m saying I’m beautiful! :))
From left to right: Nicki Salcedo, Susan Carlisle, Sally Kilpatrick, Co-host, Ciara Knight, Co-host, Lindi Peterson, Brandy Heineman, Jana Oliver and our Keynote Speaker, NYT Bestselling author Haywood Smith. Last year we had 5 authors. We had such great feedback that we decided to add another author this year. We still sold out! Each author hosted 7 people at their table.
We had an amazing time. While this is not a “Christian” event, there are hearts that love Jesus in the house and He showed up in a mighty way. We received beautiful emails from several ladies, and we know hearts and lives were touched.
We started out with a welcome, then Ciara and I did our version of Rindercella. If you’ve never seen it done, it’s a retelling of Cinderella that goes something like this: There once was a geautiful birl who met a prandsome hince. And she had a gairy fodmother. I think you see how it goes. We had great fun with that.
As we did last year, the authors were able to say a few things about themselves then read a short excerpt from one of their books. That always goes well. Then we had a delicious lunch from a local tea house, Tea Leaves and Thyme. Everyone raves about this food and they are kind enough to do the event at a rate we can afford. :) The ladies were able to browse the books for sale as they waited in line for the buffet.
Next up our Keynote speaker, Haywood Smith, brought down the house with her amazing talk. She talked honestly about her life, the good times, the bad times, how God showed up in her life, how she became the person she is today. SandyJo Designs presented her this beautiful arrangement to go in her home as a thank you from Ciara and me.
After the luncheon, we have about 30 minutes where people can buy books and have them signed by the authors. Also, the authors can once again chat with the attendees. (All this fun while Mr. Knight and Mr. Peterson are cleaning all the china and packing everything away! Our husbands are amazing and we couldn’t do this without them!)
Here is a picture of my daughter. Ladies gathering before we started. Me and Katy who won my giveaway.
I’m here to confess, Ciara is the brains behind this. We work well together and have had such fun putting it all together. She stresses until we are sold out–I stress the second we get sold out-see why we mesh so well?
Our vision was to connect local authors with local readers and to highlight local indie businesses. Of course the event space, The Historic Rose Cottage, is indie. Our bookseller, FoxTale Book Shoppe and caterer, Tea Leaves and Thyme, are indies. We received donations and discounted items from an indie coffee shop, The Daily Grind, and donut house, Paradise Donuts. SandyJo donates so many items I can’t even tell you. Enchanted Ambitions jewelry and Angelic Whimsey gave us heavily discounted items for giveaways. We do not make money doing this, we simply want to connect community. It’s just amazing we get to have such fun doing that.
Both years we have sent out surveys to see what people liked and what could be improved on. Taking those comments in we are planning our event for next year. We may add one more author in the future, but six was a great number and we want to keep the intimacy of the event. 48 attendees is a nice group. I don’t see us growing to 100 attendees ever, but who knows what God as in store!
I know I asked this last year, but we’ve got new folks always reading the blog. Have you attended a reader’s luncheon ? If so, we would love to hear about it. Also, what would you like to see happen at a luncheon if you were to go to one? I’d love suggestions!