Las Vegas provides a wealth of cultural opportunities, but we can always use more. As the coordinator of the reading series Dime Grinds for the Henderson Writers Group, I’m familiar with the challenges of organizing literary events. These tips will help you start your own.
ATTEND LITERARY FUNCTIONS: It’s the best way to meet your pool of authors. See firsthand how venues are arranged and what types of crowds to expect. Study successful examples: the EXPO series hosted by the Writer’s Block (five writers each get five minutes to read); the 25-minute excerpts for Writers Group of Southern Nevada’s Painted Stories; and yes, Dime Grinds, where three authors have 30 minutes each. This will help you determine your event’s goal, whether it’s showcasing unpublished talent, providing genre-themed readings, or bringing the public within reach of established authors.
DECIDE YOUR FORMAT: Establish logistics up front. Event length determines how long each author may read. Decide attendance fees (if any), qualifications for featured authors, and other details before you approach venues or prospective talent.
NURTURE YOUR VENUE: Once you choose a location, develop the relationship. Some sites charge fees. Others require food minimums. In Las Vegas, plenty of businesses will provide space pro bono to support the community. Whether you are blessed with one of these or tied to restrictions, you cannot succeed without this partnership. Be vocal in your appreciation, online and in person. Your success is tied to theirs.
CREATE HANDOUTS: Word-of-mouth won’t beat a tangible flier, take-home postcard, or online presence.
BE PREPARED: Cancellations happen. The show must go on. Have a list of backup authors in case you need a short-notice replacement. Once your event builds momentum, you may find authors jumping at the chance to fill an earlier slot.
Above all, enjoy yourself. Learn as you go. Smile. Snap lots of pictures. You’ll need them to celebrate your success. (For more on Dime Grinds, see hendersonwritersgroup.com)