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PSA: Tasks of a board and reading series organizers

Tasks of a board or reading series organizer:

Find list of potential readers
– Read literary magazines bio notes for who has a forthcoming book
– Browse bookstores to find what excites
– Ask regulars of series and board who they want to see
– Check whose book is coming in the season ahead at 49thshelf
– Brainstorm local writers
– Go to open mics and see who is new-to-you
– Seek out indigenous writers, people of colour, queer writers
– Watch award lists and twitter for buzz
– Compensate for white midlife pitching more regularly and getting more media buzz
– Put out feelers for who is doing a tour
– Ask publishers for their list of upcoming readers on tour
– See who is coming through other series across Canada
– Search indexes of or, TWUC,
– Tie-ins with any special occasions, banned book month, poetry month, anniversary of series, cross-series events
– Share readers; co-ordinate with other series to make cost of travel for writers more profitable, arrange workshops to make it more cost effective for writers

– Compile list of contact emails for publishers and authors
– Ask people you know to introduce you
– Search people on linkedIn and Facebook
– List all dates the series will run
– Back and forth of finding dates for people
– Confirm readers and send info and reminders
– See also PSA: Reading Series Communication: What and When
– Recommend places to eat
– Assisting with local billeting or hotels
– Assisting with setting transportation to and from train or plane
– Tell readers what to expect for timing, ask for preferred reading order
– See if they need any screens or extra equipment
– Follow up email asking them if all went well and thanking them for coming

Communicating within board
– Spearhead finding dates in common to meet
– Arrange a secretary for minutes and to update
– Bouncing ideas off one another, pooling sources of knowledge
– Annual general meeting to keep everyone in the loop on finances and develop plans
– Scout to replace board members and volunteers
– Delegate aspects of organizing events to particular volunteers
– Mind to mandate, refresh policies for vulnerable persons
– Committees for special events, workshops, volunteers, drivers, media

– Publicity person to do press releases
– Twitter updates
– Facebook page events
– Newsletter to people who sign up
– Update website or blog of series
– Tumblr of highlights, photos
– Photo taking, get permission
– Videoing, get permission from readers
– Relationships with media to set up radio, blog, newspaper and tv interviews for readers in advance of their reading

Advertising in print
– Passing bios and photos to someone to make posters
– Someone to print and distribute posters

– Find a venue that is accessible by transit and for chairs, including bathrooms
– Liaison regularly with venue to ensure all is smooth for venue and series
– Ensure there’s enough lighting to read by
– Accessibility ramps (

– Touch base to ensure volunteers can come
– Set up space for chairs, screen, book table, sign up sheet, microphone, tape down cords
– Someone to greet readers and know who they are
– Someone to prep introductions and MC
– Someone to hand payment or gift to readers
– Someone to pass the hat and deposit donations
– Paper trail of receipts of any hospitality to readers
– Buy the writer’s book if you can afford it
– Chat with people who come, host and introduce people who may not know each other, because this is all for community.

Listening and Recording
– Sound system and someone who knows how to use it
– Videos
– Passwords for youtube or vimeo

– Accountant for taxes
– Treasurer for keeper of records of grants, donations, costs
– People to to sign cheques who are signatories at bank
– Bank account
– Paying the venue rep

– Someone to investigate what programs one is eligible for
– Ontario Arts Council, City, Trillium, Canada Council
– Counting the number of attendees for reports later
– Default term is 1-year and max 4-years but can be reelected for non-profits
– Keep a history of all the organizational files and know where they are
– Passwords, keep track of
– Keep mailing list up to date
– For legal non-profits, non-profits have to provide by-laws and minutes on on request.
– Insurance
– Reports to funders
– Files of publicity received for funding
– Promotional information, press releases for publicity

Related posts:

  1. PSA: Reading Series Communication: What and When I do post of tips occasionally, for example, a poetry rubric (2008), prompts (2009) Getting around Writer’s Block (2009), Tips on Giving Readings (2013), Author Photo Do and Don’ts (2013), and Taming the...
  2. fw: Inaugural RailRoad Reading Series You are invited to a poetry reading by Terry Ann Carter, Claudia Radmore, and Rona Shaffron. When and Where? on July 5th, 7:30pm, at Raw Sugar Cafe on Somerset. This...
  3. fw: Backbeat Books & First Edition Reading Series The lovely man Johnny Pigeau has made the announcement. His sweet Perth reading series and his bookstore are coming to an end. *sigh* Dear Friends and Loyal Customers, Sad news...

Categories: PSA, Poetry.

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