Because I have been a part of author programs in the past [both as the organizer and as the hired interviewer], I often get questions about how to bring an author to your library.
There is no correct answer on exactly how to plan an event like this, but there is plenty of advice and help for libraries of all sizes courtesy of United for Libraries. They have an entire website called Authors for Libraries that includes a searchable database of authors who have made it known that they are willing to come to libraries.
Click here to access the page with tips for libraries and Friends groups. It is the best place to get started.
But the reason you should start any author event planning with United for Libraries is because they actively solicit and educate the authors too. This is very important because often authors are not aware that these visits are an option. And many definitely don’t know that they can sell books at these events too.
In fact, it is from the author side of the equation NOT the library side that I first became aware of this database. As a member of the Horror Writers Association, I received a press release letting me know that the HWA and United for Libraries had teamed up to promote horror authors in libraries. [For the record, I am also a dues paying member of United for Libraries because I am a Trustee, but I learned about the website from them after finding out from the HWA.]
The Authors for Libraries website also has a tips for authors page. If you want to book an author at your library, I would recommend looking at both the library AND author tip pages so that you get the full picture of what's involved in booking these events.
In a similar vein, I have also had very good luck contacting writers' associations in general and asking them to identify authors in my area who might be interested in speaking at a library. This is how ARRT booked 3 mystery writers for a panel discussion last year. We contacted the library liaison for Sisters in Crime and then she contacted authors in the Chicagoland area who she knew were good speakers. We let the library liaison do the leg work, and she was able to get us 3 fantastic authors AND the writers association and ARRT were able to split the fees. The program was informative, fun and affordable.
So don’t just think you have to be a huge library with big time name recognition or a massive budget to have an event. Try a few of the tactics I mentioned today, spend some time looking through the pages I have linked to, and start planning an author event at your library today!
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