Just over a week ago I was involved in an absolutely fabulous book event, BookBuzz Toronto. It’s taken me awhile to write this recap, in part, because I’m still in awe that it happened. (The other part is that I’ve been traveling all over the province and have also been hit with a cold.)
|The sign that greeted us outside the bar.|
BookBuzz started when authors Samantha Stroh Bailey, Meredith Schorr, and Francine LaSala decided to hold an event in New York City this past May during the week of Book Expo America (BEA). It was a hit so Sam, Lydia Laceby (author and fellow blogger), and I decided to bring the event north of the border. BookBuzz Toronto was born!
For the past few months, Sam, Lydia, and I were planning this event and trying to make it the best possible event it could be. This planning resulted in hundreds of emails and lots of little inside jokes. We picked venue pretty early on and settled on The Crest, a great bar on St. Clair West. I actually had to trust Sam and Lydia on this decision as I wasn’t able to get into the city to see the bar before the night of the event. They did a great job in securing this place because I think the décor and feel of the bar was perfect for what we were going for.
|Chandeliers and brick. Love.|
The fun part of planning this event was reaching out to authors to see who would want to attend. We were really lucky that the majority of the authors we talked to were so excited and were more than willing to take part. Yay! We had ten authors to promote and we were thrilled. The authors involved in BookBuzz Toronto were:
|Back, from left: Lydia, me, Heather, Chantel|
Front, from left: Romi, Meredith, Cat, Sam, Samantha, Kate
The majority of the authors were coming from the GTA but we had some traveling large distances to come to our event. (Even I live well out of the Toronto area.) Cat came from Montreal, Meredith from New York City, and Samantha March from Iowa. Francine is also from New York but a last minute family crisis kept her at home (we missed you, Francine!).
Being able to meet these authors was like a dream come true for me as these ladies have written some of my favourite books. If you’re reading this you’re probably a huge book lover like me so you can understand what it’s like to be able to meet some of your favourite authors at one event. Amazing. I have to admit that I’m quite proud of myself for being involved in an event that brought all of these authors together for others to enjoy as well (though there’s no way I could have done it without Sam and Lydia!).
|From left: Cat, Meredith, Samantha, Chantel, Me, Heather|
Since I have an events background, I prepared myself for something to go wrong (Murphy’s Law!) but we were so lucky that the little snags were incredibly minor. The biggest thing that affected me was trying to get to the venue on time. Lots of traveling that day (I had picked up Samantha at the Buffalo airport) and brutal traffic had us getting to the venue with only about a half hour to spare. But, like I said, there were only minor issues and we all sighed with relief at the end of the night when we realized nothing major went wrong and everyone seemed to have a great time. Woo!
I wanted to incorporate a bit of a formal element to the mix and mingle event and have all the authors be introduced and explain what the night was all about. That translated into me, the only non-author involved, having to do the speech and pronounce everyone’s names. I don’t do public speaking if I can help it but I squared my shoulders, drank a delicious Pink Stiletto (or two) and braved the microphone. I think it went well but I was definitely able to breathe a little easier after that part was over!
|Our signature drink, the Pink Stiletto. Yum.|
My other job was to help Kathryn, my fellow blogger at Novel Escapes, with the book sale table. I am so incredibly grateful that she was there because I found myself away from the table more often than not. She was a superstar! We were both lucky that we had read the majority of the books for sale and we could confidently recommend them to anyone looking to purchase a book…or two, or three. They were only $10! I actually bought quite a few myself as Christmas presents for my girlfriends. I’m so glad they read! I had my favourite titles, of course, but I don’t think anyone could go wrong with any of the books we had for sale.
I want to give a shout out to our awesome sponsors. The week before the event NOW Magazine put an ad in their magazine for us and The Crest was a huge help to us as well. Their food was fabulous (from what I was told…I honestly didn’t eat much!) and I loved what they did with our Pink Stilettos (pink lemonade and vodka in a sugar rimmed champagne glass with a raspberry garnish…yum!). Huge thanks go out to our main sponsors Kobo Writing Life (they even donated a Kobo to be given away!) and Wattpad. We couldn’t have had this event without their support!
There’s so much more I can say about this event but I don’t even know where to start. Like I said, I’m still in awe that I was able to meet these ladies in person. We made the most of our time together though and a few of us went out for brunch the next day and did some wandering around the city. Well, more talking and less wandering, to be honest! I was also tasked with showing Samantha Niagara Falls (I live in St. Catharines and she’d never been to Canada before, let alone the Falls, so she stayed with me on Friday) and I loved being able to see her face as she witnessed the awesomeness that is Niagara Falls. I also have to say that I am so happy that my mom and sister made the trek to the event. They live a couple of hours north of the city and did not have to come but they did and I’m so glad. My sister was actually the one who took the majority of the pictures you see in this post!
|Left: I can't believe I actually spoke at the event. Ack! :)|
Right: Lindsey from Random House of Canada stopped by!
Sadly, though, the event had to come to an end, we had to say goodbye, and we had to go back to our regular lives. It’s almost harder to have a purely virtual relationship with these authors since we’ve now met in person. We’re all hopeful that we can meet up again in NYC in May during BEA and for another edition of BookBuzz (keep your fingers crossed that I get a job as I want to spend my birthday in New York!). Until then, we’ll have to settle for email and social media and for reading their fabulous books.