Piggyback Your Way to Unforgettable Author Events

BIC Director, Christie Hinrichs

BIC Director, Christie Hinrichs

One of the many ways Books In Common helps you save money and put together outstanding author events is through piggyback opportunities. No, we aren’t offering to carry you around on our shoulders (though, that might be fun too!) — instead, we line up a string of venues when we know an author’s heading to a particular area, and piggyback them together. This saves all participating event hosts lots of money on speaking fees, travel expenses, and logistical headaches. The venue is thrilled to get a top-tier author for a fraction of their standard fee; the author is thrilled to maximize their time and energy while traveling; the community members are thrilled to have access to New York Times bestsellers and Pulitzer Prize winners that would otherwise not be able to make it to their area—it’s a win-win-win!

Books In Common is in a unique position to offer these opportunities to our venues because our cutting-edge database gives us instant information on where an author will be, and matches them with venues in the nearby area (with an hour or more distance between venues). Our networked knowledge, gathered from thousands of libraries, colleges and organizations across the country can give our venues dozens if not hundreds of authors to select from each year that meet their specific selection criteria, with a significant discount.  By starting this process early (at least six months lead time), while the venue has some flexibility on month or date, we can facilitate opportunities to get the authors they want at a fee they can afford.

Because we’re not a speaker’s bureau, but an independent literary-events consultancy, the venue (you!) is our primary client. We help support you as best we can, often by arranging author events only made possible because we can save you thousands of dollars on speaking fees.  As a clearinghouse of information for literary events, we maintain data on nearly 1,000 authors. We keep track of their standard fees, travel plans, and programming ideas. We also gather information from more than 2,000 literary-event planners (you) on authors and genres they’re interested in, budgets and dates. Then our database helps us match these data sets, and voilà, we end up with an author doing two to four events in a state/region back to back, and venues saving thousands off standard speaking fees.

No matter how many authors a venue brings in per year, it’s always important to set regular/fixed schedules for doing events — be it an annual offering for a Common Reads Program, or a monthly visiting writer.  When we know how often you want to bring an author in, and what kind of resources you have for speaking fees, Books In Common can work miracles: reaching out proactively to keep you in the know, advocating on your behalf, and ensuring that everyone involved comes away feeling like they’ve won the jackpot.

We’ve built rewarding and ongoing relationships with hundreds of our venues this way.  Once an event planner understands how we can help, and realizes the terrific savings we can often get them, they tend to work with us year after year.  These relationships are the heart and soul of our business, which was founded on the concept of serving as an advocate for venues who share our mission: to bring people together around books that can help bridge our disparities and transcend differences.

Here’s what our friends are saying about their experience with the hard-working account managers at Books In Common:

“You folks are fantastic. It’s just great working with your entire team. Making arrangements with the author, facilitating the contract and travel arrangements, and of course saving us time and money was a huge help. The last two years working with you have been wonderful!” ~ Cheryl Johnston, MI

“‘Thank you for EVERYTHING!’ doesn’t even start to cover the delight in working with you. [I] can’t thank Books In Common and the people connected with the process enough for their support, ease to work with and the constant contact; it felt as if you were ‘just down the hall’ rather than in another state… ” ~ Bobbi Cullinan, FL

“I want to thank you for your exceptional patience with us during this project. It was our first attempt at something like this and we surely ran into roadblocks along the way. We learned a great deal and are already looking into another event with you in the future!” ~ JoAnn Dahl, MN

“Books In Common are literally pros at those sometimes-knotty issues such as offering an honorarium or writing contracts. They can even help with programming ideas and book suggestions! They are a treasure trove of experience and know-how when it comes to community reads.” ~ Kalela Williams, PA

“Books In Common is a joy to work with. They truly understand writers.  They’re proactive and responsive; they find interesting and creative opportunities and work tirelessly on behalf of their clients. I feel privileged to work with them, and I hope to stay with them for as long as I’m writing books.” ~ Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times-bestselling author of Orphan Train

“If writing and reading are both creative and somewhat solitary acts, what happens when authors and readers find each other? That is something I’m having a lot of fun finding out. For the wonderful people at Books In Common, the end of the book is the beginning of the discussion.” ~ Charlotte Rogan, author of The Lifeboat: A Novel

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