Getting Started

This toolkit is intended to serve as a guide to aid in the development, promotion, and execution of book festivals that celebrate writers, books, and literacy across New York State. A book festival is a series of one-time, unique events which builds community and sparks the imagination of its attendees as they interact with the participating authors and illustrators who have contributed to our literary culture and are all gathered in one place on the same day. Most book festivals are open to the public for free, so it is necessary to obtain presenters who are willing to come for free or possibly for just reasonable travel expenses, including a keynote speaker if there is one. 

Since a book festival is planned from the ground up, listed below are the areas that will help in organizing one. None of them are mutually exclusive of the others. Each item will be addressed within the toolkit.

  • Determining your vision or purpose for holding the book festival and setting goals 
  • Forming the book festival planning committee and dividing the responsibilities
  • Choosing a date/time of year and securing an appropriate venue
  • Formulating a working budget/financial considerations 
  • Deciding on the intended audience and recruiting presenters, speakers (authors, illustrators, publishers, storytellers and so on) plus exhibitors and vendors
  • Determining the programming format
  • Finding potential grants, sponsors, or partners to defray the costs
  • Establishing a working timeline 
  • Promoting the festival
  • Creating post festival evaluations 

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