Champagne Taste on a Beer Budget: Finding the Ideal Author Without Breaking the Bank

Among our thousands of clients across the country the most common limitation for colleges, libraries and other literary event planners is the same: dollars and cents. Concurrently,  the most common goal is also shared: bring in speakers who will attract the largest crowd, energize the audience, and create quality programming that people will talk about long after the stage lights have dimmed.  So, how do event planners reconcile the two?  At Books In Common, we make it our business to solve that dilemma using resources, and strategies gained from years of experience.  Not only do we share our valuable knowledge, we do everything in our power to facilitate savings, in both time and money.

It’s true that celebrity talent comes with a high price, and many event planners think they need to put a cork in their programming aspirations rather than break the bank. Of course, almost anyone who has hosted an author in the past will assume correctly that Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award finalists and NYT bestsellers will be in high demand, with tighter schedules, and steeper appearance fees. 

As the premier literary events consultancy in the country, we strive to educate our venues on industry best practices when it comes to securing an author at a price they can afford. Here are some time-tested techniques to make your dollar stretch, grow your program brand, and circumvent financial roadblocks by seeking out timely opportunities!

  • Location, location, location: One of the best ways to save money on an author’s appearance fee is to catch them when they’re already nearby.  Books In Common has a cutting-edge, proprietary database that tracks when and where authors will be during the coming months and years. If we know the type of speaker you’re looking for, the genre and themes that work well for you, and your budget goals, we let you know on a regular basis which authors will be in your state or region who fit your goals. We facilitate between several event hosts and an author they’re all interested in, to coordinate a multi-event cost share package to then “sell” to the author of interest. This often saves each participating host thousands of dollars off travel expenses and honoraria, not to mention the times savings for the library/school/event host staff!
  • New and emerging voices: Who will your patrons be talking about next year? We can let you know about rising stars, award buzz, and film development. By planning ahead and working closely with your Books In Common literary event consultant, you can use the inside scoop to your advantage.
  • Sell Yourself:  When it comes to planning for a successful event, it’s important to know your audience and identify clear goals. But it’s equally important to understand what will compel an author to visit your community.  Consider writing a grant or incorporating funding that will allow you to give away copies of the book to participants. Take a look at your community and identify schools, charitable organizations and local resources who will extend the program’s reach. But keep your expectations realistic… plan an event that will create meaningful experiences for both the author and attendees, and most of all, make it engaging!
  • Stay in touch: With a little flexibility and ample lead time, we can help venues develop their resources and present the best invitation possible. A year to plan goes by quickly – once your next author is scheduled, start thinking seriously about who you want next.  Do you want to be kept in the know about authors who will be visiting your area in the next 18 months, thereby providing an opportunity for a discount?  Let your Books In Common literary events consultant know, and we can flag you in our system so you’re always in the loop!

Interested in learning more about how to get the best bang for your buck? Let’s explore some options!  We’ve saved many of our clients (libraries, schools, and other literary event planners)  thousands–even tens of thousands–of dollars off an author’s standard speaking fee. In addition, we do much of the time-consuming research for you, send you free reader copies, pass along programming success stories and ideas we gather from thousands of other event planners, provide promotional materials, help with media; all at no cost to you… top shelf service you can definitely afford.

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