Navigating Publisher Dinner Invitations

During industry events like Winter Institute and Children’s Institute, many publishers invite booksellers to attend intimate author dinners. Here are a few tips for navigating these invitations:

RSVP as soon as possible.
It’s tempting to wait until you receive all of your invitations before committing to any of them, but publishers appreciate early and enthusiastic responses. Also, let them know ahead of time if you have any dietary restrictions.

Divide and conquer.
It’s fun to go to dinners with your colleagues, but publishers often want to include as many individual bookstores as possible at their author dinners. Consider having your colleagues each attend a different dinner.

Be prepared.
Make sure you read the author’s book so you have plenty to talk about with your neighbors at the dinner.

Tell the publisher if your plans have changed.
If you’re no longer able to attend the dinner — or if you’re canceling to attend a different dinner — let the publisher know as soon as possible so they can fill the seat. If one of your colleagues would be an enthusiastic supporter of the author and their upcoming book, feel free to let the publisher know that you have a replacement idea. If you’re still attending the Institute, be sure to connect with the publisher in another way and stop by to meet their authors at the receptions.

Free evening?
Network with fellow booksellers, or reach out to your publisher contacts and business partners. If you are looking for a publisher dinner to attend, don’t forget to check the Publisher Dinner Board on the 3rd floor at the Duke Energy Convention Center where open spots will be posted. 

The Institute’s evening events are a great chance to mingle, so check the schedule to be sure you’re not missing anything. Attend Sunday’s Welcome Reception at 6:00 pm, or try the Book Swap Dinner later that evening at 7:30 pm. On Monday, Bookshop is sponsoring Happy Hour at Igby's (122 E 6th St), from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Later that night don’t miss the Romance Party at the Westin from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm. Tuesday features the Evening Author Reception (5:00 pm).  And don’t forget Wednesday’s Lunch Author Reception (12:00 pm). 

If you’re interested in local attractions and recommended eateries, check out Visit Cincy’s site.

Have fun!
Remember, this is a fantastic opportunity to meet new authors and connect with publishers and other members of the industry.