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Author Readings Program

Meet and listen to a reading by a Saskatchewan author or storyteller.

About the Author Readings Program

 

Please note: Readings through the Author Readings Program are free for Host Organizations until January 1, 2021. The regular $60 reading fee is waived. Book now!

 

The SWG Author Readings Program makes it possible for people of all ages to meet and listen to their favourite Saskatchewan authors and storytellers. Schools, libraries, writing groups, community organizations, and readers around the province have the opportunity to benefit from this program. SWG’s finest authors of every genre share the distinctiveness of their own stories when they visit.

One reading or presentation is 45 to 60 minutes. During that time, the author will read from a published book or work in progress and may also do any of the following:

  • discuss where ideas come from;
  • talk about his/her/their career;
  • discuss the work of other writers;
  • explain their writing and publishing process; or 
  • respond to questions.

All schools, libraries, writing groups, and community organizations (host organizations) are eligible to apply. Applications for readings are accepted throughout the year but must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the event. 

Update for 2020-21

If you are re-scheduling a reading from our 2019-20 season that was cancelled due to COVID-19, please indicate this in the notes section of your application. 

  • Readings may be done online or in-person. (Where in-person events are permitted, and provided they follow local public health guidelines as well as the guidelines of the organization where the event is held, and with the approval of the author who will be reading.) 
  • Hosts applying for in-person events must provide a virtual contingency plan in the event in-person gatherings are restricted. 
  • Events may not be recorded without the permission of the author. All recordings will be the intellectual rights and property of the author. Consider booking an author for multiple sessions (as opposed to recording their reading with the intention of replaying it) to ensure authors are paid fairly for their work. 

Thanks to the The Writers' Union of Canada and Sylvia McNicoll for many of these tips. Please reference these guidelines for virtual readings.

Selecting an author

To assist you in selecting a writer for your event, the SWG's searchable online database, “Find Saskatchewan Writers and Services” is a directory of SWG members.

View Find Saskatchewan Writers Database

You may also want to look through the SaskBooks Catalogue: https://www.skbooks.com/services-2/catalogues/ 

If you are unsure if an author is a SWG member, please contact the SWG office. 

Consider the following questions when selecting an author: 

  • What size is your audience? 
  • What age group or grades will be included? 
  • Is the author’s material appropriate for your needs?

When you contact an author, you may initially discuss their availability. Eventually, you should be sure to discuss:

  • The type of reading or topic you would like presented
  • The size and age of audience they are willing and comfortable presenting to
  • How the presentation will be delivered, i.e. content and subject matter, the format of the reading, online or in-person, what book they will be reading/discussing, etc...; and
  • Any special arrangements or equipment the writer may need, i.e. audio/visual needs, special seating arrangements, the kind of space they require (gymnasiums are not usually the best setting unless there is a sound system in place).

Other considerations:

  • The venue should include adequate lighting, a sound system if required, a table and/or podium, as well as a chair (optional) and water for the author. (See Hosting Guidelines for more information).
  • The online event should have adequate internet, an event host, as well as other considerations. (See Guidelines for Virtual Events for more information).
  • Please ensure that you are familiar with the author’s work so that you can effectively introduce the author to your audience and/or prepare your audience.
  • The host organization will also want to communicate about accommodation information, if applicable, and determine if the author has food allergies, sensitivities, or preferences. 
  • Please acknowledge the sponsorship of the SWG and our funders, SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries, during the introduction of your author. A sign may also be displayed during the reading. Please find templates for and signage here Readings Poster

Remember that all conditions are subject to the approval of the author.

How to apply 

  1. Decide on the author you wish to invite, along with alternatives in case your first choice is not available.
  2. Contact the author(s), and book a tentative date before you make an application to the SWG. Let him/her/them know that you are applying to the SWG Author Reading Program and that you will confirm the booking if/when your application has been approved.
  3. Send your application form (below) to the SWG at least four weeks before your planned event. You will know the status of your application approximately two weeks after its submission.
  4. Once your reading is confirmed, you will be invoiced for your portion of the author’s fee, which you submit directly to the SWG.
  5. Contact the author to confirm the date and make the final arrangements.
  6. After the reading is completed, please fill out and return the Host Report Form - Fillable to the SWG office within two weeks of your reading. Failure to complete these reports will make you ineligible for future readings.
  7. Ensure you have made your payment to the SWG for your reading. 

Application Form

Author Reading Application Form

How many times can the program be accessed?

Host Organization

  • Each host organization may apply for up to two SWG author readings per program year (from August 15 to the following July 31). 
  • After April 30 of each year, host organizations may be permitted to apply for one additional reading, pending available funding. 

Author

  • The author should be a current SWG member in good standing.
  • Each author is eligible for seven readings per program year. 
  • After April 30 of each year, an author may be approved for three additional readings (to a maximum of ten readings per program year), pending available funding. 

How much does it cost?    

Host Organization

  • The host organization does not pay the author directly - they pay a reading fee of $60 directly to the SWG. (When approved, the SWG will provide payment instructions to the host organization). 
  • The host organization is responsible for the following costs, and arrangements must be made between the host and the author prior to the reading:
    • the author’s meals
    • accommodations (where needed)
    • additional author requirements
    • all related reading expenses, including facility rental, the cost for online communication platforms, and publicity. 
  • It is important that the host organization contact the author before applying to ensure that he/she/they will be available at the selected time and date. SWG is unable to proceed until the author and reading date are confirmed.

Author

  • It should not cost the author anything to participate in this program. 
  • The SWG will directly pay each author:
    • a fee of $250 per 45-60 minute reading
    • return mileage at a rate of .40/km. (The SWG will only cover mileage within Saskatchewan. The minimum claimable travel expense is 20 km). 
  • To receive payment for a reading, an author will submit their Author Reading Claim Form - Fillable to the SWG within two weeks of the reading. 
  • Only authors that are SWG members and have not exceeded the maximum allowable readings per program year may participate in this program. 

Tips to host a successful in-person author event

  • Set a date. When choosing your date, check for competing events.
  • Consider meals and accommodation. If the writer is traveling a distance to the reading, please make appropriate arrangements for meals and accommodation ahead of time and contact the writer with the information well in advance. Please also send directions to locate your facility within your town or city, the hotel/motel, and advice on the best traveling route, particularly if there are any special circumstances.
  • Consider your venue. The reading venue should include adequate lighting, a sound system if required, plenty of table space, a chair, a lectern and water. 
  • Appoint an event host. The host of the reading should greet the writer upon arrival at the library, provide the audience with a few introductory remarks at the beginning of the reading, invite questions after the reading and thank the reader and audience at the conclusion of the reading. The host should also be available to monitor the students and/or audience during the reading.
  • Consider your audience and help to get them engaged. If a group will participate, please communicate with the attendees about their expectations and relay this information to the writer, so that the writer will be prepared for the specific type of reading and address those aspects. For group audiences, readings work best when the whole group is familiar with the author’s books.  Many writers have their own web sites or other information that can be obtained ahead of time.
  • Set up a book display, or help sell the author’s books. Readings are wonderful opportunities for authors to have their books reach their audience. Most authors have books available to sell if you’d like to make arrangements with the author in advance or at the event. Also, audience members may wish to bring a book to be autographed by the author. 
  • Promote widely. Take advantage of as many promotional activities as you can: newsletters, posters, displays, and invitations to school boards or other local dignitaries and media contacts. Try to find ways to link book displays, writing projects and other writing-related activities to the author visit.
  • Acknowledge sponsorship. Please acknowledge the sponsorship of the SWG and our supporters, SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries, during the introduction of your writer. A sign or logos may also be displayed at some point during the reading. A template for this can be found below under Forms. 
  • Event reporting. Both host and writer should send in their report forms to the SWG as soon as possible after the reading.

Tips to host a successful online author event

  • Research hosting online events. Technology and online tools are frequently changing. To provide the best experience for you, your audience and for the author, research and practice are important. Watch other online events, talk to your peers, contact the SWG and check the FAQs and troubleshooting sections of your preferred platform for futher advice. Then rehearse, practice and test before your event.
  • Set a date. When choosing your date, check for competing events.
  • Consider time zones. When choosing the time of your virtual event, consider if attendees will be watching from different time zones. Make sure to mention the time zone along with the time in your promotional materials.
  • Consider the platform. There are many different platforms you can use. Consider which features and tools will work best for your event. Are you already familiar with the platform? Is there a time limit on the free version? Is there a way to track registration? Is there a good interface for questions?
  • Your event may be a combination of in-person and online. It’s possible to virtually bring in an author to your in-person classroom(s) – consider setting up a projector and speakers and encourage other classrooms to join the call. Make sure you dedicate one person as the event host who will introduce the event on-screen, and, if you plan on including a question and answer period in your event, encourage teachers to submit student questions into the chat box for the event host to ask the author live.
  • Promote your event. Be sure to regularly promote your event beforehand to ensure maximum attendance. Contact your email list, set up a Facebook event, mention it on Twitter, list it in the events section of your local arts newspaper. Use multiple platforms and send reminders. 
  • Request RSVPs. Request a response for attendance with your invitations (email reply, Eventbrite or Zoom registration, Facebook event, etc.) to help you track potential attendance. Keep in mind that positive responses to an online invitation do not necessarily translate to attendance numbers at the event. Send a reminder one day and one hour before your event; some platforms will do this automatically.
  • Track attendance. Be sure you know how to track the virtual attendance at your event. You will need attendance numbers for your Host Report. 
  • Prepare for technical troubles. Test your internet connection, sound, and video. Prepare back-ups if you have audio-visuals or other files for your presentation. Have a dress rehearsal: Invite a few friends to test the event with you, and ask for their feedback. Whatever platform you are using will likely have its own list of frequently asked questions and troubleshooting responses. Consult these in advance and prepare a cheat sheet for yourself. You may even want to share some simple tips with attendees in advance to familiarize them with log-in procedures.
  • Mitigate timewasters and trolls. A robust Q&A can add a lot of value to an online presentation, but it is easy to lose control of your schedule if you just hand over the microphone. There may also be some people you don’t want to connect with. Check your platform to make sure there are ways to control your audience interface. For example, questions submitted through a chat box or built-in Q&A tool will let you curate questions better than giving everyone access to a microphone. We encourage you to review questions before reading them aloud, and prioritize questions that are related to your subject matter. A chance to look at questions in advance from your audience or your host can also help avoid the “this is a comment, not a question” blues. Market your event to people who are interested in engaging with you, rather than disrupting you. To keep the trolls away, don't post the log-in details of your event publicly. Send the link directly to your registrants. You may even want to set up a password for access.
  • Learn from others. Attend a few online events yourself. Note what other speakers are doing that works and doesn't work. Use what worked from the audience point of view to engage your own audience.
  • Consider accessibility. Are there special access needs for this event? (e.g., ASL, closed captions, large print materials)?
  • Have a dedicated event host for your event. Prepare speaking notes that include an audience welcome, housekeeping items, tips for the platform, where people can submit questions (if you will have a question period), information about the author and their work, including a bio or publications, and include sponsor acknowledgements and any other details that are important to your event.
  • Consider a Q&A section for your event. Invite viewers to submit questions in advance of the event and/or ensure you have a process to receive questions during the event and have a dedicated event host who can verbalize them, rather than asking the author to read the questions and provide answers themselves.  
  • Event Recordings. Please do not record virtual readings, unless you have the permission of the author. All recordings will be the intellectual rights and property of the author. To record the reading (without permission) with the intention to share the recording with other groups is an infringement on the author’s rights. We encourage groups to book author’s for multiple readings to ensure they are paid fairly for their work.    
  • Privacy. Keep privacy considerations in mind. No recording or screenshots of students are allowed.
  • Book sales. Just because you aren't face-to-face doesn't mean you can't help the author sell their work to your audience. Provide your audience with a link for online sales or pre-orders. You can send it with the registration information, post it during your event, follow up after, or all three. 
  • Acknowledge sponsorship. Please acknowledge the sponsorship of the SWG and our supporters, SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Lotteries, during the introduction of your writer. A sign or logos may also be displayed at some point during the reading. A template for this can be found below under Forms. 

Tips for authors giving an online reading

  • Audio and video quality. Depending on your set-up, consider investing in a dedicated webcam and/or external mic to improve the quality of your online events. To help ensure a stable internet connection, ask family members or housemates to stay offline during your presentation. If you have access to a direct ethernet-cable connection (as opposed to WiFi), that can also help ensure a more reliable connection.
  • Lighting. The simplest lighting should be an even, steady lighting directly on your face without side lighting or back lighting that will create distracting shadows or silhouettes. Play with your options in advance to find your most flattering light and be sure to do it at the same time of day as your planned event to account for any natural light.
  • Consider your video background. Keep it simple and be aware of what the camera is picking up – you may be sharing objects or mementos in your environment you’d rather keep private. Some platforms have the option of a virtual background. If you choose to use one, be sure to test it in advance as the placement of images combined with your movement can sometimes create unwanted, distracting effects. Be sure to let anyone in your space know that you’ll be broadcasting live so they can stay out of your live feed.  
  • Camera placement. Camera views that are even with or slightly above your face work best – a pile of books can help to raise your computer or device to a flattering level. Avoid a low angle looking up at your chin and nose.  
  • Sound connection. The use of headphones or earbuds may give you a better sound connection with your platform and eliminate noise from the room. 
  • Consider your audio background. Be sure to eliminate as much as possible any competing sounds around you. This is a good time to make sure your pet is in another room, household equipment like dishwashers and TVs are not on, and notification sounds on your computer or phone are turned off. Some platforms have a mute microphone function which you can use to eliminate ambient noise when you aren’t speaking (just remember to turn the mic back on again when you speak). For a conversation or Q&A format, this can help to quiet competing noises you can’t control.
  • Clothing. When dressing to look your best consider plain solid colours or simple patterns. Patterns that are too busy can distract, plain white or black can be too stark, and green can turn you into a meme.

After the event

Host Organization

  • You will receive an invoice from the SWG. Submit your payment to the SWG for your portion of fees. 
  • Submit your Host Report to the Program Coordinator within two weeks of your event. Ensure you note your total audience size and audience demographics and provide a brief reflection about the event. 
  • Share any photos of the author visit with the SWG. 

Authors

  • Submit your Author Claim Form within two weeks of your reading to receive payment for your reading. 
  • Share any photos of the event with the SWG. 

Forms 

Host Organization

Authors


For more information contact:

Program Coordinator
T:
 306.791.7746 | E: swgevents@skwriter.com

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