If the venue charges a fee for the space, then work out how much you will need to charge to cover your costs via an entry fee. Talk to the venue owner or manager, once they know what you’re doing isn’t going to make loads of money (sorry, but it isn’t), and will bring in new customers, they might give you a discount, or give you the venue for free in exchange for including their logo on your publicity. If it’s an unusual venue, check whether you might need permission from the owner, and ask about public liability insurance.
Readers and writers
Do you have any actor friends who might like to showcase their reading skills for the night? Sometimes writers are brilliant at reading their own work, but sometimes a reader can bring something extra to it. For the writer, particularly of drama, it’s often really helpful to hear someone else perform your work, so you can check out what works.
Most likely you won’t be able to offer your contributors a fee, but you could offer 2 free tickets if you are charging, and reduced price tickets for friends. They could also bring copies of their pamphlets/books to sell. And of course they will be promoting their writing. If you have a friend who is well-known or already on the live literature circuit – invite them as a guest and let them do a 10-minute guest slot. Make sure you put their name on your fliers and other promotional materials.
Always have a Plan B in case somebody is ill on the day or can’t make it. Here’s your chance to showcase your work, bring some extra poems or a story, just in case. And don’t forget to schedule a slot for your reading! It’s really easy to miss yourslf out when you organise an event, but remember, you are building your profile here as well as organising a fun event and showcasing other writers.
Next read the final instalment, on how to promote your event once you’ve got all this essential planning done.