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, refer to the lists below for some important things you can provide.

The Union strongly encourages hosts to hold readings in barrier-free venues and to consider any additional presenter or audience access needs (e.g., ASL interpretation, large print materials). We also encourage you to make accessibility information available to your audience (e.g., on your website and promotional materials).

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

  • Seek a barrier-free 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!