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 Uncontrollable Open Mic (2014). I’ve offered Templates for use in making chapbooks and broadsheets. Last year I did an Overview of Ottawa’s Literary and Book Scene (2015).
For those starting a series or trying to hone one, some observations as an organizer and as a reader about communications with the reader.
Here are some things I think reading series would do well to communicate with their readers.
4 months-1 year ahead:

  • We’d like you to read here with series named ___ which has been going since (year).
  • Can you come to City X at this time and place if we get funding? If we get funding the payment is $V. Can you come if we can’t? We do a hat pass and it may be around $W.
  • Please send a twitter-length bio (140 characters), a long bio (a paragraph), and a full resolution original photo (at least 1000 x 1400)
  • (We expect to know about funding by __ date).
  • Other readings in our area are: ___ and their organizer’s contact if you want to do a reading there while you are in the area: ____

1-2 months ahead:

  • We have funding. Can you still come to venue Y at City X, at this time and place?
  • Do you need help with billeting?
  • What is your twitter, website, book info for us to promote?
  • Do you have any youtube video we can use to promote you?
  • The url of our series’ website, blog, twitter feed, tumblr, and Facebook page are: ___

2-3 weeks ahead:

  • Have their been any changes in your bio?
  • You co-readers are Z, A and B.
  • The reading length is ___ minutes.
  • The evening usually wraps by (time).
  • The poster for the reading is attached.
  • The schedule of the evening is the following: ____.
  • We can(‘t) have someone on hand to sell your merch.
  • The turnout to readings vary between this number and this number.
  • There is(n’t) a microphone and will/won’t be a recording.
  • The url of our series’ website, blog, twitter feed, tumblr, and Facebook page are: ______
  • The event on FB and listing in the local arts calendar is at: ____

1-2 weeks ahead:

  • Would you like to do an interview with ___ to promote your reading?
  • The MC will be C and contact on site will be D.
  • The venue at Y address opens at (time).
  • If you plan to film, inquire permission from the reader
  • Recommended restaurants are: ___ and we would like to host you if you can make it.
  • Remember to bring your books to sell.
  • Look forward to seeing you.

Within 3 days afterwards:

  • Thank the reader
  • Ask if there were any concerns
  • Point to any photos, tweets or video

The more you are comfortably on the same page, the better. If you need a certain amount of lighting or microphone or use of sound or video equipment, better to arrange ahead.
Readings like publishing is a scratch each-other’s back sort of cooperation. The more you combine your resources and audiences, the better for all.

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