After organizing several poetry events over the years,I found organizing poetry events is very challenging yet rewarding. It forces me to work hard and think out of the box. Unlike just being a guest or a reader at an event, An organizer must think of ways of promotion and publicity. An organizer needs to keep the event interesting, dynamic and fair. Here I want to share a few tips from my experience. These included things before the event, during the event and after the event.
1. It is necessary to decide on a theme for the event, thinking of the kind of audience it might attract. (you want to attract not only poets, but also other people who are not in the circle) I always try to make each of my events interesting, different and even unique, collaborate with other groups, or artists, bringing in more new faces are an important goal.
2. Place and time are important too. I like public places that have a flow of people (libraries, book store etc), even if they may not join in on this particular occasion, they will still know something is going on and may join in another time.
3. I design a poster and put it up in the venue and surrounding places. Also make sure to put up publicity about the event on facebook, social media and any other ways online which will accept the information such as SNAPD, local site, newspaper, library etc.
Here are some sites for free event promotion.
your local community/library event calendar site…cultural map…
When your event has a wide public appeal, for example it is multi-cultural, or has an award announcement involved, or has local relevance etc., you can email this information with highlight to the media. Trust me, if they think there really is a story behind, they will come to cover it.
4. Prepare display items and put up posters for the background of the presentation. Check the sound system/computer system in advance; and set up book tables and sign-in sheets etc.
5. Organize volunteer system so each person knows his/her job. Do your best to prepare your event and keep to the agreed time table.
6. Remind all participants to keep to time. If you can provide an agenda, it is much better. Yes, I know sometimes there is always a crisis, be prepared with an alternative plan.
7. Be passionate and try to enjoy the event yourself. No matter whether there is a crowd of people or just few, do your best.
8. If you can, arrange someone to take photos, videos etc. This might need the signed approval from participants audience or others)
9. Deliver your thanks to all, and adjourn on time.
10. After the event, update the social media or web page about the success of the event.