Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend


Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend
Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the always fun Readers & Ritas conference in Dallas. It's put on by the wonderful folks at Fresh Fiction and they've been sponsoring the event since 2008. I'd attended a number of these in the past, and always had a fabulous time, but then I had to miss it in 2016 and 2017 due to schedule conflicts. So I was really excited when things aligned perfectly for me to be able to return this year.

When I looked over the schedule I discovered that the organizers had made some great changes to the event offerings that increased the value for everyone. For instance, you can now register for writing workshops that are held on the morning and early afternoon on the Friday of the event. And there is a Scavenger Hunt on mid afternoon Friday that wasn't there before - a great opportunity for the authors and readers to meet and interact in a fun way.  So here is a quick look at how my weekend went.

My first activity was the Scavenger Hunt. The way this was set up, each participating author was assigned a station in one of two large rooms and the attendees went around to each station, collecting signatures and tokens to be entered into a drawing for a prize. Each author had some sort of activity for the readers to perform during their stop - for instance some had bean bag toss games, some had quick craft activities, others had guessing games and such. For my station I decided to do a tea-themed event. I found some cute little teaspoon favors with conversation starters on them and a teapot shaped spinner, so I had each person pick a spoon and answer the question, and then they got to spin the arrow on the teapot. Whatever color spot the arrow landed on determined what prize they won - candy, a small tea-themed Christmas ornament, book lover button, etc.  Everyone seemed to have fun with it.

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

Later that evening, four other authors and I (Sasha Summers, Tracy Wolff, C.A.Szarek and Sherry Thomas) sponsored an author bingo. It's played like regular bingo except instead of the letters B-I-N-G-O across the top you have the author names and instead of numbers down the columns you have book titles. We had a nice crowd show up, lots of prizes were distributed, and much fun and hilarity ensued.

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

The next day kicked off with a breakfast with hosted tables and a Q&A session with one of the attending authors. Afterward I sat on a panel with the lovely Becky Wade and always fun Piper Drake where we talked about our various experiences with research - I know our attendees must have picked up on some good info because I learned quite a bit from listening to these two savvy ladies!

At lunch it was my turn to host a table of readers. Since I have a Christmas reissue this year I decided to go with a Christmas theme for my decorations. Below is a photo of how the table looked before the doors opened.  Unfortunately I was having so much fun chatting with everyone I forgot to snap a photo of my guests.

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

After lunch I spent time in the  Author Lounge chatting with more of the reader attendees and getting to know them better, then it was time for the big book signing.

That evening we had a special treat.  Author Nancy Naigle was there to speak about her experience having some of her books turned into movies and how it has been working with the folks at Hallmark. We also got to see previews of some of those upcoming movies, a real treat!

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

There was a brunch and closing activities the next morning, but unfortunately I had to leave early and missed out on that.  But all in all it was a really great weekend.

Here is a group shot of some of the authors in attendance - there I am, right smack dab in the middle of the pack! Can you pick out any other familiar faces?

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

So have you attended any reader-focused conferences yourself? Do you have any favorite experiences with them you'd like to share?


23 Comments on Seekerville: The Journey Continues: Readers & Ritas Reader Weekend

  • Ruth Logan Herne
    on November 16, 2018 | 05:47 Ruth Logan Hernesaid :
    "Oh my stars, anything that brings authors and readers together makes me so happy! Winnie, this is a great idea and what a perfect market to have an event like this. Accessible, large target population and a great bunch of authors... and oh my stars, HALLMARK CHANNEL! :) Yes, I love the Hallmark Channel and that's on my bucket list... a Ruthy story on the Hallmark channel.

    I would be OVER THE MOON!!!!

    But... I am crazy happy that I've reached so many people already and that's a monster-sized blessing... so I'm not whining. But I'd love to have that happen because we can touch so many hearts... hurting hearts... via the big screen.

    Thank you for sharing all of this!"
  • Missy Tippens
    on November 16, 2018 | 08:37 Missy Tippenssaid :
    "What a fun time, Winnie! I love your teapot activity!

    I've been to a readers luncheon in Huntsville, Alabama, and loved it! I've also done one that was hosted by Harlequin for readers of Love Inspired. That one was amazing! I met so many great readers who and also the wonderful folks who came from Harlequin."
  • Laura Conner Kestner
    on November 16, 2018 | 09:08 Laura Conner Kestnersaid :
    "I've never been to a reader-focused conference, but I sure enjoyed reading about your experience. Love the scavenger hunt idea. Thank you so much for sharing."
  • Wilani Wahl
    on November 16, 2018 | 09:22 Wilani Wahlsaid :
    "That sounds like fun. Several years ago now I was able to travel to a readers weekend with Shelley Shepard Gray in Pinecraft Florida where her series at that time was set. It was an awesome weekend. "
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 11:47 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Ruthy. It was such fun getting to hang out with such a large group of readers and authors. And yes, I'd be tickled pink to have a book turned into a Hallmark movie."
  • Debby Giusti
    on November 16, 2018 | 11:47 Debby Giustisaid :
    "Thanks, Winnie, for an interesting and enlightening blog post. I didn't know about Readers & Ritas, but I did know about Fresh Fiction and remember when they first started! A great group with whom I need to reconnect. Their reader event sounds delightful. Thanks for sharing!"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 11:50 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Thanks Missy. I heard lots of great things about that LI reader event - glad you were able to be there. Hopefully they will do it again sometime."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 11:54 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Good morning Laura. You're quite welcome. The scavenger hunt WAS fun, as was the entire event. If you ever have an opportunity to attend a reader event you should try it out at least once."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 11:57 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Wilson. Oh that event sounds like such fun! Especially like the venue it was set in - what a great idea."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 12:00 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Debby. Aren't the fresh fiction folks great? And this event is held the second weekend in November every year if you want to add it to your calendar :)"
  • Anonymous
    on November 16, 2018 | 12:39 Anonymoussaid :
    "sounds like so much fun! Lee-Ann B"
  • Jan Drexler
    on November 16, 2018 | 12:42 Jan Drexlersaid :
    "Oh, Winnie! That event looks like so much fun!

    I love all the ideas you had, especially the teaspoons and teapot spinner. What a great way to get to know your readers and for them to know you!

    The best reader event I attended was CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat). I was able to go to the first one, and hope to go to another one sometime! It was a wonderful opportunity to meet readers and hang out with other authors. :-)

    Thanks for sharing with us today!"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 12:46 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Lee-Ann. It definitely was!"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 16, 2018 | 12:51 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Jan. I've heard awesome things about CFFR but unfortunately I've not yet been able to attend. I hope to make it someday though"
  • Erica Vetsch
    on November 16, 2018 | 14:11 Erica Vetschsaid :
    "This looks like so much fun! I love events tailored just for readers. I am really looking forward to the CFRR even next spring. It will be my first one, and I've heard such good things. "
  • Sandy Smith
    on November 16, 2018 | 19:37 Sandy Smithsaid :
    "Fun post, Winnie. I have not been to an event like that but it sounds like fun. Your table and your teapot game looked so nice."
  • Caryl Kane
    on November 16, 2018 | 23:10 Caryl Kanesaid :
    "Looks like EPIC fun! I'd love to attend a reader focused event."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 17, 2018 | 10:18 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hi Erica. I've never been to a CFFR event, but I'd so love to go someday."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 17, 2018 | 10:18 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "This comment has been removed by the author."
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 17, 2018 | 10:20 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Thanks Sandy, I really had a blast"
  • Winnie Griggs
    on November 17, 2018 | 10:22 Winnie Griggssaid :
    "Hello Caryl. Oh yes you should look for an opportunity to attend one. I think you'd enjoy it."
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  • Christine
    on August 09, 2019 | 13:57 Christinesaid :
    "This comment has been removed by a blog administrator."
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