Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Librarian Guide to Planning Successful Author Visits and Book Signings

This guide will help you plan and execute successful author events.

Author visits and book signings are excellent ways to promote literacy, engage with readers, and build community connections. Inviting local or well-known authors for talks, readings, and book signings will attract patrons to your library and support writers and their work. 

Determine the scope and goals of the event

  • Consider your target audience and their interests.
  • Choose a theme or genre that would resonate with your community.
  • Set clear objectives for the event, such as promoting literacy, increasing library membership, or building partnerships.

Research and select authors

  • Compile a list of potential authors based on the chosen theme or genre.
  • Consider local, regional, and national authors and a mix of established and emerging writers.
  • Contact authors' agents, publishers, or authors to inquire about availability, fees, and requirements.

Budget and funding

  • Create a budget including author fees, travel expenses, refreshments, promotional materials, and other related costs.
  • Seek funding from library budgets, grants, or community sponsors.
  • Schedule and venue
  • Select a date and time that works for the author and your target audience.

Choose a suitable venue within the library, such as a meeting room, auditorium, or outdoor space.

  • Ensure the venue has the necessary equipment and seating capacity.

Promote the event

  • Create engaging promotional materials, such as flyers, posters, and digital graphics.
  • Utilize social media platforms, library websites, and newsletters to spread the word.
  • Reach out to local media outlets, such as newspapers and radio stations, to announce the event.
  • Collaborate with local bookstores, schools, and community organizations to broaden the audience reach.

Prepare for the event.

  • Develop a detailed event agenda, including author introductions, readings, Q&A sessions, and book signings.
  • Coordinate with the author and their team to ensure they have everything they need, such as a lectern, microphone, or water.
  • Prepare staff and volunteers to assist with event logistics, such as crowd management and book sales.

Day-of-event logistics

  • Set up the venue with appropriate seating, signage, and equipment.
  • Have a designated staff member or volunteer greet the author upon arrival and provide any necessary assistance.
  • Offer refreshments for attendees, if applicable.

Post-event follow-up

  • Thank the author and their team for their participation.
  • Collect feedback from attendees through surveys or informal conversations.
  • Evaluate the event's success by comparing it to the initial goals and objectives.
  • Use the collected feedback to improve future author events.


Author visits and book signings are valuable opportunities for libraries to engage with their communities and promote literacy. Following this guide can create memorable and successful events that benefit both authors and readers.

Here is a list of free websites that can help you plan and promote author visits and book signings:

Canva ( A user-friendly graphic design platform that can be used to create promotional materials, such as flyers, posters, and digital graphics.

Eventbrite ( A popular event management and ticketing platform that can help you organize and promote your event and manage registrations.

SurveyMonkey ( A powerful online survey tool that can be used to collect feedback from attendees after the event.

Google Forms ( A free and easy-to-use tool to create forms and surveys for event registration, feedback collection, or volunteer sign-up.

Google Calendar ( A helpful tool for scheduling and sharing event details with your team, volunteers, and the author.

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