Anatomy of a Successful Speakers Bureau Event

By Leslie Wheeler, Speakers Bureau Coordinator

On Sunday, February 26, the afternoon of the evening of the Academy Awards, mystery authors, Gary Braver, Katherine Hall Page, and Hank Phillippi Ryan, won accolades of their own at the Morse Institute Library in Natick, Massachusetts.

It all started last August when Karen Perkins, library assistant at the Morse Institute Library contacted me about doing a mystery panel there. Noting that mysteries are one of the most popular books at the library, Karen said the library was confident that such a panel would be quite successful. She expressed particular interest in two topics: “We’re Not Making This Up” and “The Modern Heroine.” After I explained that “We’re Not Making This Up” is a panel geared toward true crime, non-fiction authors, of which we only had a few at the moment, Karen and I came up with “From Fact to Mysterious Fiction: hear how local mystery authors transform actual events into captivating mystery novels.” We felt this topic would have a broad appeal—to readers and writers of mysteries. And to draw some men to the panel we added Brother-in-Crime, Gary Braver, to the two Sisters already on board: Katherine Hall Page, and Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Karen wrote that the library was “ecstatic” about this group of authors, and went to work on a flyer. On 12/9 she sent me a rough draft, I made a few suggestions, and the final form of the flyer was ready in early January. During January and into February, we corresponded about various details related to the event. Then on Tuesday, February 28, Karen wrote to let me and the panelists know what a huge success the event had been. Comments from the audience included the following: “Katherine Hall Page was very informative, especially with library fact and tea cozies.” “Katherine not only likes to find dead bodies but she likes the Oscars too!” “Hank is as enjoyable in person as her books.” “The Professor (aka Gary Braver) was great. “Would love to have taken his course.” And finally: “When will you do something like this again?” Having passed on these comments to me and the panelists, Karen assured me that “words really can’t explain the awe towards the panel of the audience.”

The panelists were equally enthusiastic about their experience. Hank said the library was beautiful, the event perfect, and the crowd phenomenal. Gary seconded that : “This is one handsome venue, and the largest library turnout I’ve experienced in years. Must have been 80 people.”

Naturally, I was thrilled to receive such wonderful feedback. Thanks to the efforts of everyone involved—from Karen Perkins with her hands-on approach to organizing and publicity, to the panelists with their stellar presentation—we were able to put on an event that did both the Morse Institute Library and Sisters in Crime/New England proud.

Gary Braver, library director Linda Slater, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Katherine Hall Page, and librarian Linda Perkins

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About J.A. Hennrikus/Julianne Holmes

J.A. (Julie) Hennrikus writes the Clock Shop Mystery Series (JUST KILLING TIME (2015), CLOCK AND DAGGER (2016), CHIME AND PUNISHMENT(2017)) under the name Julianne Holmes, the Theater Cop series (A CHRISTMAS PERIL(2017)) as J.A. Hennrikus, and the upcoming Garden Squad series as Julia Henry. Julie is an arts administrator and arts advocate. She tweets her writing life as @JHAuthors, and her other life as @JulieHennrikus. She is on Instagram as @JAHenn. Her website is jahennrikus.com, and she blogs with WickedCozyAuthors.com and KillerCharacters.com.
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2 Responses to Anatomy of a Successful Speakers Bureau Event

  1. Nancy Gardner says:

    Congratulations, Leslie, on all the terrific work you and your committee do to put on wonderful events like these to support our members. Nancy

  2. What Nancy said! It’s a huge boon to our members and all the readers out there.

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