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7/21/09

CREATING LOCAL/REGIONAL BOOK FESITVALS

[The following is based on a workshop presented by Border Queen Book Festival program coordinator and author, Tonya Shook. It is presented here to be used free of charge and copyright free for anyone who wishes to promote book festivals of this nature. It is not to be reprinted or transmitted in any format known now or in the future. It is not to be included in any books, newsletters, or other formats without the express permission of Tonya Shook. This statement must accompany any copies made for planning of such events.]Organization for Author Friendly Book FestivalsAn All Voluntary EventA Director in place will receive and coordinate the whole of the committees, set up meeting times during the year as the event formulates.Committees Needed For:Author ContactsFacilityAdvertisingFund Raiser MealsGuest Speaker and/or WorkshopsManual LaborAuthor Gift BagsAwards – Sponsoring Entity InvolvementParking Sound SystemsAuthor Contacts CommitteeSeek authors in various places. Some suggestions are below.1.Blast Emails – i.e. OWFI 2. Colleges and Universities English/Drama Depts.3. Book Clubs from surrounding areas and outside the state via Internet4. Library Announcements for authors5. Network with known authors for other contacts than yours.6. Historical/Genealogical Societies7. Research is accessible for networking at Workshops and Conferences8. Continual updates to authors.9. It is imperative to have name registration at least at the beginning of the release of the upcoming book festival. You set the cut off date when the fee if any is required for the author to submit. Focus on this list of authors throughout the year as things materialize for the event, personal touch with individuals. All of them matter, every one!10. Low fees to author are imperative!11. Awards for the best table or author display – presenter for the awards.SUGGESTIONS(1) Author Friendly Book Festivals (AFBF) need to relate to the authors the necessity for conversation with the general public and opportunity to visit one-on-one. Book festivals do not guarantee an author will sell. It depends on their(a.) personality, (b.) the topic of their publication, (c.) the method they use to interact with the public to become a successful salesman/woman.(2) AFBF need judges, usually anonymous, for best author display.Facility Committee1. Determination of the size needed, parking availability, accessibility for handicap etc. (the number of authors and crowd estimation will help determine this)2. Information can also be found from the Chamber of Commerce should you live in a large city.3. Civic Centers a possibility4. Fair Grounds & others(a.) The Facility Committee should investigate the possibility of Sponsorship Entities if needed to secure a facility that charges a fee. Since this is an all Volunteer Effort, select a sponsor that has a 501C status with grant money opportunities.(b.) This could come from Literacy Awareness funding using their guidelines or from some other entity that benefits the state of Oklahoma or would like to. (BQBF had a donated hall for two years and done so in order to make people aware of the new facility in Comanche, The Asbury Complex Center. The idea is not to charge the book fest goers or the authors to fund this event. You will have an author draw every year for an event such as this if you take care of your authors.(c.) The facility can make or break a book festival. It needs food preparation or catering opportunities. It needs to be large enough to have aisle tables for authors. You will make decisions as you grow as to your needs in your particular locality. This is just a base to build from.Advertising CommitteeYou may find abilities to advertise through:1. Libraries2. Radio Stations (Public Service Announcements)3. Television Stations (PSA)Ron Stahl Integris Discover Oklahoma Ron.Stahl@OklaTourism.gov120 N. RobinsonSuite 600Oklahoma City, OK 73102405-230-8391Shel WagnerExecutive ProducerDiscover Oklahoma405-230-8431shel@travelok.comCall Local TV Stations and ask if they could do a story on your book festival. If they know it is an all-volunteer type thing, you will have more opportunity to get this out.4. Newspapers(a.) Cotton Electric(b.) Local newspapers, Comanche Times donated two full pages of author jpgs/bios as well as ads during the weeks prior to the book festival.(c.) Contact newspapers from surrounding towns and ask for them to do a story on your event in Lifestyles or Front Page.(d.) If your festival is including essay contests from schools (really necessary to get a local pull) Contact Sandy Garrett to see if she would send out blast emails to all the Superintendents of Schools so that their teachers might be able to use this event as one for Personal Development Certification Points. Some of the schools have done this with BQBF. It increases Literacy Awareness in the Community and State.(f.) Notification about this event should be made to the Activities Director ofSenior Citizen Retirement CentersVA Retirement CentersSenior Citizen Activity CentersSchools (flyers at school for the children to take them home in their backpacks for parents)Colleges & Universities etc. –Most all this can be done through the Internet.5. It is important to have a Complementary Breakfast for the Authors as they set up their tables and if you have had some special group donate these foods, have a placard for who the compliments came from. This applies to any foods or treats made available at this event.6. It is good to have help for the authors to unload to their tables with some school organization – Comanche used the members of the Comanche FFA who wore their special FFA attire and were easily recognized. This creates good advertising for this author event. Word gets around how well authors get treated!7. Provide Table Set-Ups: Table and Chairs, they do the decorations. To make it aesthetically pleasing, have all tables look alike as your chairs.8. Author Placards for each author at the table set-ups.9. Printed Author Name Tags10. Special recognition brochure for all the committee members under Activity Headings to be dispersed at this All Volunteer Book Festival.Fund Raiser MealsMeals can be planned and prepared by and to support a1.Civic Club2. School Trips3. Local entity – human-interest eventa. Table set-ups.b. Decide the prospective turn out and prepare planned menu for it.c. Have a plan where to take what isn’t sold should there be left over food.d. Have cooks and clean up groups in place, set table, clean off, clean upe. Sell tickets at the door or at businesses, ticket taker in place at the event.Guest Speaker or Workshop for a Two-day Event1.Research topics of current interest in your community/schools2.Consider Fee or Free for guest speaker/workshop director.3.Consider accommodations for Speaker/spouse whether it is for a workshop or program.Work Shop4.Must be free to the public5.Could be a number of things:Beginning Creative Writing,How to Publish, Marketing Your Book,Seminar on Expanding a Book Festival to Another Area, etcThis also may include the extra community involvement by having a number of guest authors to speak to different school classes on the day prior to the book festival. All this involves Literacy Awareness and helps the students discover another aspect to writing by meeting a published author and hearing things of particular interest that the teachers suggest they might need addressedThe committee needs to research this out to have this in place and have the author contacts they need with this expertise. They will find this from the Author Contact Committee.Manual Labor CommitteeVarious things require manual labor when setting up for a book festival. Many people can help in this category knowing nothing about book festivals and you might find high school boys willing volunteer for this, or boy scouts.1.Table and Chairs put into place for the authors and take down after the book festival.(this may require them to be put on a dolly of some sort and moved to and from a location.)2.Physical sign-forms built for posters to be put on the highways and streets or to have hand lettered signs painted.3.Should there be a need for any other heavy-duty type of thing one might need, a group of people should be available to call on for this support.Author Gift BagsThis is very good Public Relations to have a handy Author Gift Bag on each table for each individual author. Items for it may be found at different stores as free hand outs for advertising of their store.Some Ideas are:Note padsPensPackets of tissueBottled WaterStationary NotesPost-ItsBook MarksGift coupons from Chain StoresGift coupons from Chain RestaurantsEnvelope openersMini-first-aid kitsPackets of hand-cleanse wipesPens and/or pencilsEtc.This will take effort going from place to place to ask for and pick up these items.Bags must be considered. Should there be a tax exempt sponsor with funds bags might be considered a legitimate expense for the author’s tables.Awards – Sponsoring Entity Involvement“School Essays”This Committee will devise a topic for the essay; set the guidelines1.Contact for Cash Prizes may be some Funded Sponsor, who is interested in bettering the community/town, for this highlight of the book festival.2.The Superintendent of Schools needs to be contacted for this interaction as well as the Librarian. Either one of them will be responsible for selecting the teachers involved who will be used as the judges of the essays.3.A cut-off date when the essays are due must be set in order to get this opportunity to be involved in this contest.4.The Essays need to be in the judge’s hands early enough for them to make a decision (2-4 weeks in advance of the announcement) of the winners at the book festival. Below are the guidelines for the awards given at the 2009 BQBF sponsored by S.O.A.C. but set up by the Awards Committee.The topic of this essay, The History of Comanche is a wide range topic that allows the middle school students an unlimited field to inspire creative juices for this essay. The only boundary is it must be about the history of Comanche. There is no word limit.Having said this, the essays will be judged by:1. The maturity of the topic they write about,2. The expertise of formulating the concepts into an interesting read,3. The level of work put into the essay4. The presentation of work in a neat and clean finished fashion.Their Name, Address, ph #, and grade must be on the top left hand corner of the first page, their initial and last name at the top right hand corner of page 2 and thereafter.They may choose to write about:The very first settlement of Comanche proper,The history of stores and business in Comanche,A pioneer story from the memoirs of any person/relative as long as it is nonfiction.The first Tractor used to plow the fields.Animals used in farming, their care, needs.Everyday acceptances of outhouses, or the like i.e. butter churns, lamp light, butchering times and rendering lard for soap at Comanche homesteadsHanded down oral history.Model A car races (if such existed)Horse races in the town (if there were such, there was such in Hastings)Etc.The topic is limitless, open to imaginations and interests of the student as long as it has something to do with the history of Comanche. They may interview old timers and pick their brains about what their grandparent's shared with them in an oral type history. Whatever the writer chooses belonging to the history of Comanche is open to their research and writing their essay on.This wide range has been chosen for several reasons.The need to support literacy awareness should first find that corner stone of interest in the student. Interest then becomes a vital part to fuel the energy needed to follow through with a good and entertaining essay. It is our goal that the need to read becomes so vitally important that each child will feel it a must to strive for excellence to learn more, be more and dream more.The teacher judges will take into account the grade level with the above criteria being the yardstick to judge essays by. It should be up to the Superintendent or School Librarian to select these judges of essays (suggested – 3), and for teachers to gather up essays and get them to the anonymous judges. It is competitive. It will be rewarding.Parking CommitteeThis committee is responsible for safe parking, valet service for authors who have to walk a way from author parking to the facility.Provision needs to be in place should there be large vehicles such as tour busses or vans of people attending the book festival, unloading, and directions for the larger vehicles to park.The responsibility of safety of parked vehicles fits into the realm of this jurisdiction whether it requires police help or not.Sound System Committee1.During the announcement of awards, other interests, a Sound System needs to be in place and someone who can work this apparatus.2. Electrical Cords or other electronic equipment needed for the event would follow under this committee’s jurisdiction.3.Care of the sound equipment follows under the care of this committee and gathering up anything that needs to be stored afterward is the responsibility of this group.Why A Book Festival Like This?1.There are few authors in the “big top” but there are thousands of authors with wonderful books that need to be read.2.Monopolies from large Publishing Houses, Agents, Conferences sponsored by different groups, and Workshops have laid out worn guidelines that “this is the way one must go to become a successful author, to be able to sell their work. They must take in all the workshops and conferences if “one is to become successful.”Blindly following their guidelines the new author spends his/her 401K in hopes that this is true. They are pumped, excited and broke after attending; return home in the same circumstance when they started most likely, less money and no books sold. One can network at such places but I also know there is a way authors can take charge of their talent and market better.I believe it’s time to “re-invent the wheel.” It is time for authors to take charge of their own interests and destiny and not leave it up to a dangling carrot on a string. This volunteer book festival has been tested in Comanche, Oklahoma and it does work. I also have discovered how difficult it is for “one person” to direct everything with so few in place to help. This has been proven it is too good an idea to die and needs a vision planted in others to continue.a. This new type of volunteer book festival promotes Literacy Awareness in our state.b. It promotes new money for local businesses.c. It gives children an opportunity to see new possibilities in writing.d. It can also offer teachers an opportunity for Personal Development Certification Points if this event fits their school’s guidelines.e. From a sea of authors in their midst the book festival gives the populous an opportunity to select and purchase an autographed book directly from the author.f. Businesses benefit, Teachers benefit, Literacy Awareness benefits, and Children and Scholastic interest benefit, Authors from all over benefit and our state of Oklahoma can benefit from a new concept -- “The Book Festival State.” This is a far cry from “The Grapes of Wrath” and Illiteracy. Other authors have asked for my guidelines to start this process in their areas of Oklahoma. Authors will fill their event calendars if it does.This Author Friendly Book Festival is a Win-Win Event. A funded sponsorship is needed to implement a (1) facility, (2) advertising, and (3) essay awards. If interested, please contact:Tonya Holmes ShookRt. 1 Box 69-KHastings, OK 73548shookum@pldi.net580-439-6912