Determining Your Vision/Purpose and Setting Goals

A book festival is a celebration and organizing one requires a sense of purpose and commitment. It should be fun as well as educational and bring people together who share in the love of good literature and who will leave the event inspired by their experiences there. It also requires enormous hard work in both the planning and implementation. Although you do not need a mission statement per se, the first step is to establish your WHY (why do it?) by creating a vision/purpose and goals for the event. These do not have to be long or detailed but should take into consideration the following:

  • Look at your community- is the geographical location a factor?
  • Is there something of significance being celebrated like a literary award? 
  • Are there authors of a certain genre and/or for a specific audience you want to highlight?
  • Will you be holding the festival annually? If so, this would emphasize the “keep it simple” rule for your statement or vision which means making it generic in nature to be re-used annually.

You may discover in the very early planning stage that there are other reasons why to hold your book festival. An example of a very simple and straightforward purpose statement is this one from the Texas Book Festival: “The Texas Book Festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.” ( 

The Brooklyn Book Festival has a longer but succinct statement that is basically a short description of the event:
“The Brooklyn Book Festival is the largest free literary event in New York City, presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors. One of America’s premier book festivals, this hip, smart diverse gathering attracts thousands of book lovers of all ages to enjoy authors and the festival’s lively literary marketplace.”

Your goals and what you hope to accomplish should be achievable and not too complex or numerous and should speak to your WHY. Be realistic so that afterwards, when doing a self-evaluation, you do not fall short of your expectations. 
Your goals might be related but certainly not limited to: 

  • Reaching a specific number of participants
  • Targeting a particular audience (e.g.: children, teens, adults, senior citizens)
  • Presenting a literary award or various awards associated with literature
  • Covering one or more specific literary genres (e.g.: romance, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, realistic fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, mystery, supernatural, and so on)        

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