Hosting a Successful Reading

A successful author event takes more than authors and books. Authors need a host's help to make their readings and signings successful. When planning an author reading and/or signing, here are the most important things you can provide:

An Audience

  • Email a press release to local media at least a week ahead. Include the author's sell sheet.
  • Advertise in local newspapers. Co-op money may be available from the publisher.
  • Make use of public service announcements. They provide free publicity.
  • Invite your local arts reporters; set up an interview.
  • Notify special interest groups such as book clubs, schools, libraries, creative writing classes, and senior citizen groups. Does your author's title suggest a particular interest group? A local historical board? A professional organization? Parents' groups? They could provide a ready-made market.
  • Set up a display complete with author's photos and books before and after the signing.
  • Notify your customers in your calendar of events, post flyers at the front of your store, promote the reading on your website and over social media.
  • Make a simple poster for local libraries and cafés.

A Venue

  • Provide a prominent space.
  • Ensure there is water available for the author during the reading.
  • For signings, provide a comfortable chair, table, and pens.
  • Provide seating for your audience.
  • Shut off blenders and cappuccino-makers during talks.

Your Good Will

  • Notify the author's publicist as soon as possible.
  • Unless agreed upon, host one signing per time slot.
  • Order stock of the author's titles well in advance.
  • Confirm date and time with the author.
  • Make sure you know how to get in touch with the writer if unforeseen circumstances arise, and that the writer knows how to reach you.
  • Inform your staff so they can help make the writer feel at home.
  • Ensure that the emcee is familiar enough with the author's work to introduce him or her appropriately.

Have a great author visit!