Books & Tea Reader Event

Hello everyone! I just love libraries. The hushed peace, the smell of so many books packed together, just
 waiting to be opened. And I love tea. The warm, calming sensation that comes with sipping (silently) the subtle flavors of suntanned leaves steeped with honey, or sugar and cream, or just plain. Books and tea, a perfect pair.


I was recently invited to participate in a Romance Writers Tea Party at my local library. All the libraries in my county were part of the program. Three romance authors were invited to each party to rotate between tables where attendees drank tea/lemonade, ate cookies and strawberries, and asked us questions. It was a marvelous event!




The library had copies of our books on the table, and we could bring others for purchase as well as our free swag for attendees. Keeping with the tea theme, I made paper tea bag/chocolate holders with my web site and book covers on the outsides. I set one at each attendee spot, along with my book marks, notepads and pens. Inside one of the paper tea holders, I stamped a shamrock. Whoever sat at that table spot won a free copy of my book, CAPTURED HEART.

The tea party was held in the library conference/children’s program room and started out with everyone mingling, getting refreshments and choosing a seat. One spot, for the author, was left open at the three tables. The librarian introduced each of us with a brief bio, which we provided to her.

Collage for CAPTURED HEART – Scottish Historical Romance

I started off at each table showing some of my collages, which I use to help me write, and discussed my process. It was very casual and attendees asked questions throughout, although the very on-top-of-it librarian had a list of potential questions on each table. At twenty minutes, she encouraged us to switch to another table, although we all ran over.

At the end, attendees were able to fill up on refreshments, take a look at the books, sign up for newsletters and talk with each author if they had individual questions. And a couple people bought my books. It was a unique, fun way to meet new readers (even if you don’t like tea). If you are a librarian or have a local library, you could suggest a Romance Writers Tea as an outreach event.

Here are a few details about my particular experience:

  • Three authors were invited to attend each event. Each author received a $100 honorarium.
  • Between 15 and 20 readers attended each tea party.
  • The library made up fliers and a poster for each entrance into the library. They asked for reservations so they would know how much food to have.
  • A beverage station was set up with hot water, various tea bags, sugars, creamer/milk, lemonade and ice water.
  • Attendees were asked to bring their own tea cups but could use the paper ones provided.
  • Cookies and strawberries were set out with napkins and little plates.
  • Tables had table cloths and simple center pieces (I brought my own tea pots for the center pieces).
  • I’m the only one who wore a hat, but a library could suggest hats as part of the fun.
  • The event took about one and a half hours.

Have you ever attended a similar author event in your area? Were there interesting features/details that made it even more fun?

For more information about Heather McCollum, including her homemade Chai Tea Latte recipe (link below), please check out her web site and sign up for her newsletter

Chai Tea Latte Recipe

12 responses to “Books & Tea Reader Event”

  1. What a wonderful idea! Thank you for telling us about this. I’m going to suggest it to my local CPRW group – we meet at a library!


  2. Wow! That sounds like an awesome event. My local group also meets at a library. I’ll need to see if they’d be interested in doing something similar.

    And I love that you took your collage with you. Readers are always interested in how our minds work. Good for you.

    In February, I did a book signing at a local winery as part of their Valentine’s Day weekend celebration. I was busy, chatting about my books, writing and wine. It was very cool. The winery gave out my bookmarkers with every purchased. Maybe you have a local winery who would do the same.


    • Thanks, Autumn! That’s a great idea. I’ll have to look into that. I wish there were Scottish Pubs around like there are Irish Pubs. It would be fun to do a book signing there perhaps : )


  3. What a lovely event, Heather! Thanks to the internet and social media, the collection and distribution of information is shifting AWAY from libraries. In an effort to stay relevant, many libraries are increasing efforts to build community and connection. This tea is a perfect example. Woot!


    • Thanks, Shelley 🙂 Yes, I think they were trying an outreach program. I hope it was successful enough in their minds to do it again. I’m certainly going to follow up with them.

      And thanks too for always tweeting about Ruby blog posts!


  4. Cynthia Huscroft says:

    What a swell idea! Sounds like it was great fun for all.


  5. Sounds like a lovely event! I love your swag ideas. 🙂


  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    What an amazing idea, Heather! Sounds like much fun was had by all. Awesome swag – and thanks again for the Chai tea latte recipe. 😉


  7. How neat! I saw your advertisements for this and was wondering how it turned out. 🙂 Great to have an enthusiastic library nearby!!


  8. Elisa Beatty says:

    This is such a unique and brilliant event idea! I love it! (And I love your hat!!!)

    The shamrock prize surprise was a touch of genius, too.


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