Running a reading group event

Emma healey

Sarah Davis, reader development coordinator at Greenwich libraries gives us her top tips for running an author event:

For the last three years part of my role as the reader development coordinator for Greenwich libraries is to organise as well as to facilitate author events. During this time I have learned that each event is different and even well organised events do not always go according to plan!

Here are my tips for running author events:

  • The timing of your event is an important consideration. Once we had a talk during a Friday afternoon and only had three people came along; the next event we did was also on a Friday but in the evening and this time we had an audience of over 40.
  • For publicity, I often write a simple press release that I send to our marketing team who will publish it on our website and twitter. Some publishers will send out show cards, these are really useful so it is always worth asking if they can provide you with some. I also create posters and flyers, once these are up I put on a small display in the library.
  • I invite all the local reading group members to the event and also colleagues that work at other branches within the library service.
  • Once the date, time and venue has been organised I source the books to be sold. In the past I have purchased the books directly from the publishers but for the last event I invited the local bookseller along, which worked really well.
  • Some authors prefer to be interviewed, if this is the case I usually draft around 15 questions which I email to the author’s publicist for their approval.
  • The week before the event I write up a simple to do list – I include on this a plan of the seating arrangement and staffing requirements. It’s also important to keep in touch with the booksellers or publishers as I have had an incident where the books have not arrived. Finally enjoy your event!
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Interested in joining a reading group or starting one of your own? Download our quick guide to getting started.

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