Event support

The purpose of this page is to give event organisers some extra support for putting on a show, whether they are planning a book launch, a literary festival, or an author tour.

Click here to download our event support kit (updated December 2020)

At Read NZ Te Pou Muramura we’re noticing an increasing trend in the number of author events as well as an increase in requests for information on how to do things.

We all want to create a space where artists can deliver their best work, and audiences can feel welcome and inspired. We hope the resources on this page will help you do that.

Generally, the event organisers approaching us for support already know what and why they want to do this thing. They also know who they are doing this for and where it will take place. Some have also started telling people when it will happen and all that’s left is the physical how of delivering the event.

Whether it’s an individual book launch or a multi-day festival that you’re planning, you’ll find inspiration everywhere. Some of the festivals that have started in New Zealand over the last five years include Rotorua Noir (2019); Words Will Work South Auckland Writers Festival, Ad Lib Puke Ariki Festival and Blackball Readers and Writers Festival (2018); Manawatu Writers Festival and Storylines National Story Tour (2017); Samesame but Different LGBTQI Writers Festival (2016); NZ Young Writers Festival, Featherston Booktown and LitCrawl (2015); Dunedin Writers & Readers Festival (2014).

The downloadable resources that we’ve collated here include: checklists, templates, notes and schedules. They are freely available for you to use and adapt and can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of this page. Please do credit Read NZ Te Pou Muramura and share alike. And remember to add your event dates into our online event calendar for the world to see.

Whaia te pae tawhiti, Kia tata, Kia mā, Kia tina. Pursue that distant horizon and bring it closer – make it ours.

This kit contains:

- An Author Tour Checklist which can be re-purposed as you see fit.

Audience

- A festival author invitation

- A launch invitation list checklist (yes! a checklist for a list!)

- A book publicist’s author questionnaire

- Creative NZ audience segmentation info is available to download from here

Participants

- Author appearance agreement template

- Feel free to browse through the Read NZ’s Writers Files for inspiration

Event organisers

- Have a look at our Diversity Strategy. Please take it and build on it and share your own strategy with others

- Build a team to work with you to do whatever you’re up to because one person can only be in one place at any one time

- Remember Richard Scarry’s excellent Busy Town series? Well, a Festival Grid is kind of like that in that it’s a one page view of where everyone is and when and why

- A (slightly) edited down version of our spreadsheet of sector events so you can see who else is doing this work and when

No matter what the size of your event you’ll need a bunch of tools such as a contacts list that you share with all of your team and a critical path document that lists all the tasks, who's doing them, and where the dependencies are. You’ll need a marketing and communications plan. You’ll need to undertake some Health and Safety risk assessment (there’s a very comprehensive look at one of those over here). And if you’re fundraising then you’ll need a profile document that gives all the relevant information any potential partners will want to consider. The actual tools that we can provide you with here include:

- Budget template

- Example of a copy-writing brief

- Awards night event coordinator’s checklist

- Read NZ's current schedule of author fees

- Example of a runsheet (for a Speed Date an Author event format)

- Some very general advice for event chairs

Other great tools: There’s probably an app for that thing that you need to help keep things organised. We use Toggl to keep track of how long things take, Trello for planning out the next steps and remembering where we got to, Doodle Poll for scheduling when we can all meet again, and Google Maps for figuring out how we’re going to get there. Other great tools we’ve heard about and have started tinkering with are Loomio for collaborative decision-making and Slack for information sharing.

Recommended reading: We have some books for you! There’s some great advice on working with authors in The Subversive Copy Editor: Advice from Chicago by Carol Fisher Saller and some fabulous inspiration on getting organised in both The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande and Getting Things Done by David Allen. For insights into being an author and taking part in events try Mortification: Writers’ Stories of Their Public Shame by Robin Robertson. And for a collection of local essays about creating and running a festival, look for a copy of Recollections of 5 Festivals: Writers and Readers Week, 1984-1994 by Ann Mallinson (some things about planning and delivering a writers festival have clearly never changed).

Best wishes for your events.