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How to plan your Live Literature session
This page is to support organisations that have been awarded Live Literature funding and are starting to plan their session.
Once you've confirmed your Live Literature funding, it's time to start planning your session! All Live Literature events are different, so the list below is designed to provide you with a guide rather than a set of rules. If you have any questions or encounter any problems, please email email@example.com(this will open in a new window).
Contacting an author
Get in touch with your author as early as you can. A few months before your session date is ideal, as this gives both of you plenty of time to prepare. If you've tried the email address on their profile and you haven't received a reply in a reasonable amount of time, try contacting their publisher or agent and let us know as soon as possible.
Occasionally you may have to contact authors at short notice. It is up to the author to decide whether to go ahead with the session in cases like this.
- A session is around one hour long. The maximum session length is ninety minutes, and you should decide the length of the event with your author. Remember that for remote events, or audiences with specific needs, the maximum length may need to be shortened for sessions to be most effective
- With remote events, allow time for planning, recording, technical limitations etc. Even something as straightforward as a short video can take multiple tries to do well. See our ideas for remote author events for some guidance
- If you are booking two authors for one event or a panel of authors, you will need to set aside an appropriate number of sessions so that everyone is fully paid (unless the authors explicitly say otherwise)
- Each change of audience counts as a new session (e.g. a new workshop with a different school class) and you'll need to use another session from your award to support this. The only exceptions are digital events where recordings may be shared across different groups, with the author's agreement
It's useful to get in touch with the author as early as possible in the planning process. This gives you both the chance to talk about your plans for the session, set expectations and make sure that everyone is on the same page.
You might want to talk about:
- What you both expect from the session and what you would like to achieve
- The subject, content and approach, including the session's format or anything that might not be suitable for your audience
- How long the session will be and what the timetable is. Once this is agreed, be sure to stick to it
- The fact the sessions are supported as part of Scottish Book Trust's Live Literature programme
- The invoice and expenses processes
- Book sales and how these can be supported. If it's not appropriate to sell books in your setting, be sure to let the author know. For remote events, you could discuss opportunities to make books available either before or after the author's session
- Any equipment the author may need such as a microphone, projector or similar, and what to do if these aren't available
You might also find our making the most of an author event(this will open in a new window) resource handy.
Before the session
Now the real planning can begin! It's time to start putting the different elements of your session into place. Not all of the points below will be relevant to you, but this checklist is a useful place to start.
- Format: make sure that the author is comfortable with the session format, and that it's suitable for the audience you plan to invite. For remote events, consider any support they might need with webinar software, recording and sharing videos, or sharing resources.
- Venue: book a suitable space for your event, including time to set up and clear away afterwards if needed.
- Travel and accommodation: does your author need advice about local transport and accommodation? Please bear in mind our expenses guidelines and try to book in advance to secure the cheapest rates possible.
- Book sales: If you plan to sell books at your event, see our advice about book sales below and let your audience know in advance.
- Publicising your event: think about how you will let people know about your event in an appropriate way. Do they need to prepare or read anything in advance?
- Film and photography permissions: If you're filming the event or taking photographs, please use the appropriate permission forms and make sure the audience are aware of what's happening.
- Protecting children: all events involving children should be planned with safeguarding in mind. You can refer to our child protection policy and digital child protection policy for guidance.
- Communicating with the author: make sure the author knows the timeline for the day, venue address and how to contact you should there be an urgent issue. This may include answering questions the author has about travel or accommodation in an area they're unfamiliar with. If plans change significantly, let the author know as soon as possible. Remember that if you make a major last-minute change that the author is not happy with, they do not have to carry out the session.
- Sharing a session online: We understand that sometimes an author session may need to be shared for a period of time afterwards. This could be because your audience couldn't attend a live event, or didn't have access to a live stream as it is broadcast. In these cases we advise that work isn't made available for any longer than is absolutely necessary, and always with the author's agreement. Authors may negotiate an additional fee for any repeated use of their work, so it's important to have this discussion early to avoid confusion.
- Cancelling a session: cancelling should always be a last resort. Please give the author as much notice as you can, as they may need to find other paying work for that day. If the author has already paid for travel and accommodation, advise them to email firstname.lastname@example.org(this will open in a new window) as soon as possible. If a session is cancelled less than a month before the event date we will invoice you for the session and consider it used.
On the day of the session
- Double check you have all the equipment your author requested, and that it's set up for their session
- Find a quiet space for them to prepare, get comfortable and organise their notes and let them know where they can find a bathroom
- Provide refreshments such as tea or coffee, and a glass of water to help them stay chatty
- Ensure that someone is available to offer technical support if needed, especially during streamed events such as webinars or online workshops
After the session
- Make sure you have completed the top half of your Live Literature claim form and passed it on to the author so we can arrange payment and reimburse expenses.
- Please let us know how the session went by completing a short online evaluation form. Your feedback will be confidential.
- If you encountered any issues or the session didn't go as planned, we'd be grateful for your feedback. You can let us know on the evaluation form, or call or email if you feel more comfortable. We'll always do our best to try to resolve a situation.