Venues Big and Small: How Anyone Can Afford to Host Author Events

Hosting an author for a literary event is an engaging way to generate new readers, and inspire those who already like to read. But finding the money to bring in a well-known author can be daunting. However, budget limitations should not make hosting authors a non-starter. Consider holding a ticketed, VIP reception with the author as an additional activity to the main, public presentation.

Author Christina Baker Kline signing books for VIP event-goers.

If you have rules against charging for an event, ask your Friends of the Library to host it, or some other organization that can sponsor a fundraiser. You might have a $100 per ticket, wine and cheese exclusive reception with personal invitations going to foundation members or select patrons. Or perhaps a coffee and cake with the author at $25 a ticket, open to whomever wants to pay to hang out with the author in a smaller, more personal setting.

Books In Common has considerable success getting authors to participate in a fundraising activity, typically held just prior to the public event. We keep them short, about 30-45 minutes. Adding a fundraising component to your programming helps generate both funds and more local interest in the event. Sometimes, we’ve seen these VIP fundraisers raise all, or a large part, of the budget necessary for hosting an author. If this suits your community, go for it, and let us know if we can help!

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