So last night was the third author/bookseller reception I have helped plan for the Houston Bay Area Romance Writers of America. In past years we've done it at the lovely, albeit less centrally located home of one of our authors, but this year we splurged. We held it at The Chocolate Bar right in town, thinking that being so right smack in the middle of everything, minutes from multiple bookstores, that we'd have a great turnout. We'd sent invitations (electronic and paper) and reminders just days before the event. And we had fifteen RSVP's and fully expected to have a few drop-ins.
Six booksellers showed--two each from three stores in an area with right around forty bookstores.
Six booksellers took advantage of the fact we were offering a buffet style setup of all cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, and ice cream TCB offered--all FREE! Just take one look at that display case!!! Plus we had wine, and goodie bags and giveaways... Talk about missing out!
I am just so frustrated. After three years of low attendance, I have to admit, I'm throwing in the towel. The reception ran from 4-8 p.m. yesterday--plenty of time to swing by and just pop in and walk away with a chocolate high and a bag of freebies. These Houston booksellers are some hard nuts to crack. I don't know what else we could offer them...
That said, while there was, I think, a pervading disappointment due to low bookseller attendance, I think everyone had a great time. It was definitely a fun way to spend the afternoon, catch up with friends, and splurge on some very decadent chocolate desserts. That'll just have to be enough.