Orlando Reads Books – Overview

August 31, 2023

This was my first time attending the Orlando Reads Books Convention. It’s a three-day event held at the Embassy Suites in Altamonte Springs, FL. The first two days were “Industry Days” with workshops for advanced authors. These talks blew my mind with info I hadn’t heard before. Topics included Mastering the Art of Ad Strategy, AI in Your Author Business, Tackle the Trifecta Touch – Email, SMS and MMS, Strategizing Your Way to 10k a Month, and Author Direct Sales. The speakers were excellent. I took notes and still need to absorb all the data.

Saturday held reader events. I participated in the Author-Reader Speed Dating. Authors were assigned tables, and there were six authors at mine with four empty seats for readers. The moderator could have used a bell to ring when it was time for readers to switch tables because she had to shout to be heard. I gave out a lot of postcards and hoped to see some of these readers at the signing.

A lunch break of an hour and a half followed. We were on our own, and I’d brought my lunch from home. At 1:30, we began to set up for the booksigning. VIP Readers would be allowed in at 2:30, and the doors would open to the public from 3:00 to 6:00. We’d been given seating charts ahead of time so it was easy to find my spot.

Overall, book sales for me were disappointing. I sold only 4 books, swapped books with 2 other cozy authors, and gave one away for the raffle. But… I met a lot of people, gave out postcards to readers, and attended some powerhouse workshops. I’d say the majority of writers did contemporary, paranormal or urban fantasy romance. Someone said paranormal romance is swinging toward fantasy. A smattering of cozy authors represented the genre.

I’d signed up to share a six-foot table and that was adequate. It didn’t appear that displaying books on racks made any difference to sales. I had fun seeing what other authors offered for swag. The usual magnets, key chains, candy, pens, stickers and other goodies prevailed. I liked the glow headsets one author provided. QR codes were popular among this crowd. These could send readers to Bookfunnel for a free book, or to a retail site or a newsletter signup. The codes were engraved on a fan, put on a sticker at the back of a lollipop, or came on a business card.


Would I go again? Yes. The fee was worth it alone for the networking and advanced seminars.

Next year’s dates are set for Oct. 10-12, 2024. Go here for more info: https://orlandoreadsbooks.com/

Coming Next: ORB Social Events & Workshops

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3 thoughts on “Orlando Reads Books – Overview

  1. Wow this sounds like an interesting event.
    If only writing events were held in Scotland. There is just the odd
    book signing.

    I love the idea of the reader/author speed dating. So many questions
    I would squeeze into the time. Such a shame that book sales were
    disappointing especially after signing postcards to readers.

    From my years of experience as a promotional model when I was in
    my twenties where the assignments ranged from wearing costumes
    for marathons like a 6 foot training shoe (with a fan inside to keep me
    cool, bizarre how I smiled inside the costume when getting my photo
    taken haha as nobody could see me!) called Shoey, hostess at large
    conferences, food sampling, toy demonstations, leafleting etc I found
    you have to “hook” people in and be proactive keeping their attention.

    I got awarded Certificates for some assignments for example for undertaking
    the most demonstrations at Pocket PC event at a busy train station and I
    won 1st prize – can’t remember if it was vouchers or money.
    I managed to engage commuters by showing them a clip of Top Gun on
    the Pocket PC (shows you how long ago that was!) and they were impressed
    and stopped to chat to me whilst watching the clip then wanted to know

    Often seeing someone sitting behind a desk the public feel shy approaching
    and don’t know what to say. I found standing up off the chair and making eye
    contact being myself engaging in chit chat puts them at ease and pointing out
    a fact about the product.

    Your books are wonderful and not many cosy mysteries are educational where
    you learn interesting facts as you are reading so this is a good opener to start
    with like different kinds of tea blends and also the tasty recipes to ask if they
    fancy making them. Wearing your new medal is a good talking point too.

    I’ve given away thousands of freebies lots of food items cereal bars etc
    Stickers, pens, keyrings were always given out. I remember doing Scottish
    Blend tea promotion and the most popular freebie I found like in most assignments
    is pens. People can’t get enough of them. Some prepared to travel for miles and miles –
    I would see the same people who just wanted a bunch of pens.

    At a large medical conference where lots of Americans were which I will never forget
    as it was on the day of 9/11 tragedy there were many freebies like stress balls, bags
    etc but most people scanned the stands and only wanted to take pens. This was before the
    tragedy occurred and then I tried to do everything I could to help thousands of shocked
    people as many knew relatives etc in Twin Towers by giving coffee, drinks, organising travel,
    taking them to watch the CNN news live in big halls, offering hugs and hankies for the tears.

    I love bookmarks so if I was at an author event I would be so delighted to
    receive a free bookmark. Although the most exciting gift for me would
    be to able to chat to my favourite author – much more important than any freebie!

    1. You’ve had many interesting experiences! Thanks for the tips. I did stand by the aisle to catch passersby and had engraved combs to hand out. I think this was more of a romance crowd as those authors did well. I attended more for the exposure and networking than the sales, since this was my first time at this event. And hopefully now that readers have met some cozy authors, they’ll consider expanding their reading material.

  2. Yes, thanks. I am reflecting on all my experienced being housebound at the moment and feeling grateful for them. I so miss going out. Great to hear the romance authors done well. Sounds very unusual engraved combs. Good experience attending for first time and doing some networking. Yes hopefully readers will recognise cozies and add them to their reading list.

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