We had the good fortune of connecting with Susan McBeth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Susan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I wanted to start my own business because I saw a void in the book signing market for authors. While the publishing industry has been changing dramatically over the last few decades, the model for book signing events has not. Rather than run-of-the-mill author talks, I envisioned a world where readers could drink wine with authors, or do chocolate and cheese tastings, or have a literary tea, or event travel with authors.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
While working at a previous job in which I was the Director of Marketing and Events for authors, I noticed that the publishing industry did not appear to be as author-centric as it should be. I mean, after all, aren’t the writers the ones who create the magic that we want to share with readers. So I wanted to make my business focused on being author-centric, what could I do to help them succeed in reaching more readers, book clubs, and sell more books, and most importantly to use their books to connect people and communities, which is my mission as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, obviously I would want to give the experience a literary flair, so let’s say that we could schedule some fun visits that might pair well with a book by a local author. Of course, we would have to visit Isabel’s Cantina in Pacific Beach to eat, as she not only has an exciting and unique menu, she has multiple cookbooks that remain favorites in my collection. Perhaps she’d even stop by our table to say hello and sign a cookbook for us. We might have an elegant tea at the lovely Westgate Hotel in downtown San Diego, where we host regular literary teas as we indulge in delectable tea sandwiches, decadent desserts, scones, tea and champagne. We’d walk along the Coronado beach and pop by the Hotel del Coronado, home of many books and history integral to San Diego. We’d visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, which not only has a world-class park and animal exhibits, but they also offer educational sessions that now feature animal themed books that they publish themselves. And because San Diego is renowned for its year-round temperate climate, why not visit one of the many farmer’s markets, where you can shop, dine, and indulge in local flavors which also inspire many local chefs and their cookbooks.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As I have just celebrated our Adventures by the Book 10 year anniversary, I’d like to dedicate my story to all the authors and readers who have entrusted me over this past decade, specifically New York Times bestselling authors Lisa See, Frances Mayes, Eleanor Brown, Jenna Blum, and Lynn Schooler. Frances was the inspiration behind our Adventures by the Book travel series, when she invited me to visit in Tuscany and I decided to quite literally take her up on that offer by bringing a group of readers with me. Lisa See was the inspiration behind our Adventures by the Book “multi-sensorial” brand of events, because she is a hugely popular author with a warm and gracious spirit whom I knew people would love to sit and share a Chinese dinner with. Eleanor Brown was the first author who allowed me the honor of hosting her for an Adventures by the Book event for her debut novel. Since then, she has become a NYT bestselling author and is to date, the only author with whom we have hosted an event for every one of her books. Jenna Blum was the inspiration behind NovelNetwork, our service that connects readers with book clubs, because during her first year of publication, she visited 800 book clubs and I wanted other authors to be able to reach book clubs as well much easier than she had to do. And finally, Lynn Schooler, was an inspiration because he offered up his home in Alaska for yearly Adventures by the Book visits that were meaningful, unique, and adventurous.