Thursday, April 14, 2016

Beyond the Book Launch: San Diego - Anchorage Author Exchange

Exchange Authors: Front row, L to R: Kitty Morse, Kenna Jones. Middle row, L to R: Susan McBeth, Debbie Moderow, Marivi Solivan, Marybeth Holleman, Deb Vanasse. Back row, L to R: Kaylene Johnson, Kathi Diamant. Camel is a longstanding fixture at the Moroccan-style home of Kitty Morse.

Does there exist anywhere an author who suffers from too many readers? Um, no. One of the primary difficulties of making your way as a writer comes in expanding your audience, especially after the launch buzz for your book fades.

With the idea of creating novel opportunities for authors to connect with their readers, Susan McBeth founded Adventures by the Book. In addition to hosting “Meet the Author” events and book-themed travel adventures, she’s piloting an author exchange opportunity as a potential component of her AuthorPreneurs™ program.

For the pilot, Susan chose three authors from San Diego to host three authors from Anchorage, with her and I acting as event coordinators and liaisons. From April 3 to April 8, the Alaska contingent descended on San Diego, where they reached new readers through unique events that Susan tailored for their books.

Of equal value were the home stay experiences and social gatherings. In the company of their hosts, visiting authors Marybeth HollemanKaylene Johnson, and Debbie Moderow enjoyed warm hospitality, enthusiastic conversations, culinary delights prepared by an acclaimed food writer, and California sunshine.

A sampling of the outside-the-box events Susan arranged for the visiting authors, with the help of her assistant, Kenna Jones:

·         Welcome dinner of Moroccan cuisine prepared by food writer Kitty Morse

·         “Among Wolves” San Diego State University Osher Institute of Higher Learning at the California Wolf Center, including an on-foot observation walk and an author talk by Marybeth Holleman 

·         Qualcomm (San Diego’s largest employer) International Women’s Day event featuring Debbie Moderow and her book Fast into the Night

·         “Our Wild Alaska” author panels at the Coronado City Library and the Carlsbad Library. In Coronado, attendees bought stacks of books; in Carlsbad, the room was full!
·         “Striking It Rich,” a San Diego State University Osher Institute of Higher Learning at Mission Trails Park, featuring a one hour presentation by yours truly, followed by a gold-panning activity hosted by the Southwestern Miners & Prospectors Association.
·         Invitation-only networking reception with San Diego authors at Susan’s home
·         Lunch event celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service at Kahala Travel, featuring a presentation by Kaylene Johnson
Judging by the response of the authors and readers involved in these events, this first portion of the pilot was an overwhelming success.
Now it’s our turn. During the week of September 26, the Anchorage authors will reciprocate by opening their homes to their San Diego hosts. Following Susan’s stellar example, I’ll be arranging events that will acquaint readers and writers in Alaska with the visiting writers and their work. Prepare to be wowed!
A former food columnist with the LA Times, Kitty Morse has authored eleven titles and teaches cooking classes, with specialties in Moroccan cuisine and edible flowers. Marivi Solivan specializes in programs for women's groups, social workers/therapists, anyone involved with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nonprofits involved with fundraising for domestic violence survivors or women's shelters, immigration attorneys and law students with an interest in immigration law; ethnic studies, women's studies, diasporic studies, Asian American Lit and creative writing classes, and immigrant communities. Author, actress, and television host Kathi Diamant shares her research discoveries in conjunction with the Kafka Project, which she founded and directs. Together with Susan McBeth, these three women are also uniquely qualified to share innovative strategies for book marketing and promotion.

If you’d like to discuss an event involving any of these visiting authors, leave a comment here or email me at debvanasse (at) gmail.com. 

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