How It Feels to Host an Event

Preparing an event for the first time all by yourself is just a little stressful. I felt an enormous amount of pressure regarding the event. What if no one showed up? Then I would feel terrible and my nightmares told me the authors would hate me forever. What if no one was interested in what they had to say? Then not only would the authors hate me, but also the other bloggers and readers who showed up. What if no one bought books? Then the bookseller would be annoyed that I bothered them on a Sunday. Needless to say there were plenty of fears running through my head.
I live more than two hours away from where the event was being held so trying to figure out what time to get there and the time difference (because it was in a different time zone).
The morning of the event I still had to make up the info sheet for the moderator, Lauren, come up with questions, and make the schedule to hand out to each of the authors so they knew what we were doing.


You could say I am a little bit of a procrastinator. When it comes to interview questions I am the most unoriginal person in the world. So of course when I was under pressure to come up with entertaining ones I blanked. I could not think of one single thing for them to ask. When you have never met an author you admire before you think of a million and four things you want to talk with them about. Then when the time finally comes to narrow down the questions your mind goes blank and you think what am I doing? I can’t possible do this! No one is going to like my questions.
I arrived about 15 minutes before the event and was slightly surprised to see a lot of people there already. I was busy running around trying to get everything ready and people were coming up and introducing themselves to me and thanking me for putting on the event. All of these people were so incredibly nice and I probably looked like I escaped from the asylum.
I got into the room and had to rip open my packages of sharpies and throw them onto the tables. Oh wait! The tables didn’t have enough chairs! Well here comes she-Hulk flipping chairs into the air to get five spaces at the table.

So now I’m sweating from stress and she-Hulking, my hair is even fluffier than it normally is (curly haired people will know what I mean) and I truly do look like I’ve gone mad.
All the authors start to file in and I run up to them like a maniac thrusting their schedules in their faces. Because I have never been to an event that I have organized before I have no idea if this is normally done or not, but hey, couldn’t hurt right? As the third author looks at me like I’m nuts I began to question that logic. Lauren, my moderator, comes in and is all composed and pristine. As I stare at her with my crazy eyes I can’t help but realize that is why I asked her to help me with this. Because she is awesome and socially acceptable. Me on the other hand….not so much.
So the event starts. I had asked the authors to do a short reading. In my brain that meant it would be over in about 15 minutes, but obviously my brain did not multiply this by five so it went a lot longer than that. It was great to see the authors read from their books though. Amanda Havard does a great dramatic reading, Heather Reid has the kindest voice, Sharon Cameron and Kristin Tubb are great readers, and it was so exciting getting to watch Courtney Stevens read from her book, Faking Normal for the firs time. (She received the first arc just prior to the event)
Then it was onto the questions. I realized that I didn’t have to worry about how stupid my questions were because Lauren made them sound interesting. The authors did a fantastic job answering them very in depth. We were only able to do about four of the questions I had made up because their answers were so in depth and we needed time to do the signing.
While I was so distracted by my terror at something going wrong during the event I was able to pick up a few things.
1) Books are written at different paces. Some books took four years to write and some took just months.
2) SCBWI is kick-butt. Four of the five authors on the panel swear by this organization. As someone who was able to attend a conference last year I can confirm that it is an amazing group to belong to.
3) The type of publishing (indie, small press, large house) is individual to every author and they all need to figure out which ones works best for them.

Now I must give some shout outs.

Thanks to Lauren for being such a fantastic moderator! If I ever plan another event in Nashville she will be my first choice.
Thanks to my friends Marla, Shalena, Megan, Alli, Kelly, and Cassie for coming.
Thanks to other authors Ruta Sepetys, Victoria Schwab, and more for coming to support these five lovely ladies.
Thanks to Angela at the library for being so great to me. And to Parnassus for coming to sell books. You guys rock! The bookseller agreed and was able to get everything in on such short notice. They were so amazing.
Thanks to Sharon Cameron, Kristin Tubb, Amanda Havard, Heather L Reid, and Courtney Stevens for agreeing to take part of the panel. You ladies are so brilliant and I continue to learn a lot from you.
Thanks to Anabel Stevens who was a really awesome helper and supporter of the event. (She may have been biased though. 10 points to anyone who can tell me why lol)

So many thanks to everyone who showed up! You made this a really great event!


Comments

  1. Megan Trotter says:

    You did an awesome job, Hannah. It was a wonderful event!
    I still owe you my post on said event. I’m late! I’m praying I can do it this weekend. My child sucks up so much time and energy!

  2. Hannah, you did an awesome job, and I totally agree with you about Lauren! I enjoyed the panel so much, and it was not ALL because of ‘you know who!’ We all benefit from bloggers and book enthusiasts, not just authors, and I love, love, love being on the very fringe of that world! Thanks for taking the time, making the long drive and caring so much! A.

  3. Your panel was one of the best that I’ve been to! i was so glad to be there and it was so much fun. Definitely can’t wait for your next planned event! ^_^