Candy and I (Amy) attended the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend in Milwaukee in April 2017 and had such a great time! Candy recaps the event below…
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Ever since attending the inaugural Penned Con in 2014, Amy and I have kept an eye out for another Midwestern event. Last summer Amy suggested that we go to the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend (BVW for short), an event she had been to before. I agreed not really knowing anything about the convention.
The unique aspect of BVW is that you buy tickets to have lunch and/or breakfast with an author. The tables are kept to seven readers at each table so you can really interact with the author of your choice. Tickets go extremely fast, especially for the more well known authors. Amy and I planned out who we wanted to sit with and then anxiously stayed up until after midnight on the release day to purchase our tickets. We were both lucky enough to get the authors we wanted for both lunch and dinner.
Even though my job requires that I interact with strangers all day long, as an introvert the idea of a huge event makes me nervous. Amy and I even picked different authors so there was an added layer of apprehension knowing I would need surrounded by people I didn’t know. Before I let my anxiety get the best of me, I reminded myself that I would most likely be seated with fellow introverts and the most important thing of all is that we were all bookworms.
Friday we arrived early enough to attend the Q & A session. This was an introduction to all of the authors in attendance, a lot of whom I didn’t know. Vey and her amazing volunteers provided a handy list of the authors with space to make notes, which I thought was a nice touch.
For lunch on Saturday, I had a ticket to sit at Sharon Sala’s table. I have been reading Sala for years and was downright giddy that I would be sitting at her table. I just hoped I didn’t fan girl too much. Sharon was a delight to meet. She asked about our everyday lives and the conversation at the table ranged from her early days in publishing to Native American folklore. Sharon was a very warm and gracious hostess and I definitely won’t forget meeting her.
One of the things I didn’t really comprehend about the event was the tables. I figured we would get a book from the author and that would be it. Oh no! These authors went all out with elaborate themes and numerous gifts for their readers (Sharon had a baking theme to tie in with her current series).
Following the lunch, there was a book signing session with all of the authors. One of the things you have to do at a signing of this size is to formulate a plan on who you want autographs from. I made sure to visit Skye Jordan, Kimberly Kincaid, Helen Kay Dimon , and Sharon Hamilton. All four authors were awesome and each spent several minutes talking with me before moving on to the next reader.
The final event of the weekend was the breakfast. I had tickets to sit with Alyssa Day, another author that I had been reading for years. Alyssa greeted everyone at her table with a hug as if we had all been friends for years. Alyssa has a great sense of humor and was very sweet. This is another meeting that I won’t forget either.
If you ever have a chance to go to a convention, I would highly recommend it. There is nothing like meeting your favorite authors or being surrounded by fellow bookworms who understand your passion for reading. I personally hope that I can make a return visit to BVW in the future.