ILA Best Practices

Hosting an Author Fair

Posted on: December 22, 2008

Local authors frequently contact libraries wanting to do book signings, but such events are traditionally poorly attended. So in 2004, we decided to hold an author fair, which would have all of our local authors come on the same day. Once we began preparations and started contacting authors, the response was overwhelming. We were astonished when we had requests from over sixty authors who wished to participate! Since then, we conduct a lottery each year to determine our participants. We now hold an Author Fair every year, and have had attendance of over 700 at each one.

You do not need a large meeting room to do this; we have authors seated at tables throughout our library. This also puts them right in the middle of the traffic flow of the library, which increases the number of people that stop at their table. This is also a cooperative effort with two other libraries, Plainfield Public Library and New Lenox Public Library. This increases the number of staff we have to help prepare for the event, and the number of staff we have on hand the day of the event.

We contact most of our authors through e-mail, and tell them they can share the information about the Author Fair with other authors. Just make sure to set yourself a timeline to contact the authors, finalize your author list, and publicize the event to the public. Pick a good time of the year, treat your authors well, and have plenty of staff on hand to answer questions from both authors and patrons. Submitted by Pamela Kloser, Joliet Public Library

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