Local group costs and support

All our local group meet-ups are free to attend and the majority of your meet-ups should be organised without associated costs. For online meet-ups, we have a pro Zoom account for local groups to use so there is no need to set up an individual pro account for your group. At in person meet-ups, you can meet in a cafe, pub or other public space in your area. Members will pay for their own individual food and drink on the day. Occasionally, groups may want to organise an event which incurs costs to run. Read on to find out about handling finances and funding available from the SoA.

Arranging talks and workshops

Using the knowledge and expertise of your group allows members to share their knowledge and skills as part of their local author community. Members can give a short talk or lead a discussion on a topic which they have in-depth experience of, in exchange for learning something new from a fellow member at a future meet-up. Member talks are usually around 20 minutes followed by a group discussion. Leading discussions allows members to learn from one another in a supportive and informal group space.

If there is a gap in the group’s knowledge and members would benefit from hearing from an external speaker on a topic, you can arrange a talk or workshop. If they are employed by an organisation or company, such as a publisher or an agency, or are promoting their services, we would not expect to pay a fee as they will be able to claim their time back as part of their role or the talk is part of their business promotion. If the speaker is freelance or self-employed, you will need to agree a fee in advance. Please see the recommended rates and fees paid by the SoA. Please note, we will not usually pay a fee for talks which are self-promotion. If in doubt about whether to offer a fee, ask the SoA.

Handling local group finances

If there is a charge for your event (such as a pre-booked lunch), the SoA will set up an online booking page for attendees to purchase tickets for your event and will handle all income from ticket sales.

To avoid local groups handling their own funds, the SoA will also make payments for event costs, such as pre-booked food, speaker fees and venue hire. Invoices should be addressed to the SoA and sent directly to us for payment.

The SoA will cover a deposit to secure a booking or venue hire. If the deposit is refundable, the money should be returned to the SoA after your meet-up, either directly by the venue or by the local group organiser if they give you cash on the day.

If the deposit is linked to food/drink sales on the day, the deposit should be held rather than used to cover part of the bill as members will pay for their own food/drink and not out of the deposit.

In the event that the final bill doesn’t cover the deposit amount and the venue need to take part of the deposit, the venue should deduct the loss and the SoA will cover this cost in exceptional circumstances. However, you should be mindful when booking a venue with a large deposit. Is it realistic that your group will spend enough on food/drink to cover the deposit amount? If you have any questions about deposits, please contact us to discuss.

Local groups should not set up their own individual bank accounts as there is no need for you to handle group funds.

Applying for financial support

Alongside free meet-ups, you may want to organise events which incur costs to run such as venue hire to have a quiet space to meet or a speaker fee to give a talk to plug a gap in the group’s knowledge. The SoA has a limited budget available to support local group events to cover the cost of speaker fees and/or venue hire. To be eligible for financial support, your event must achieve at least one of the following aims:

Improving authors’ business skills
Events could include a practical workshop or feature an external speaker sharing expertise.

Providing access to local professional networks
For example, joint events with other local writing groups or literary festivals in your region.

Encouraging emerging writers or those just starting out
Events could be in partnership with your local writer development agency and raise the profile of the group amongst non-members.

To apply for funding, please complete the form below.

Groups may submit two applications per calendar year. You must apply for funds at least six weeks in advance of your event and costs must be agreed in advance. We cannot guarantee support for all events and each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us to discuss any queries.

Please bear in mind that the amount of funding each year is limited, and once the budget has been allocated, further requests for financial support will not be considered. If SoA financial support is vital to running your event, you may wish to consider holding your event once more funding becomes available in the next calendar year.

Local group financial support application form

About your event

Breakdown of event costs

What are you asking us to fund?
Please see our recommended rates and fees
e.g. printed handouts

SoA aims

The SoA wants to support events which respond to the needs of local authors, allow them to further their knowledge about the profession of writing and help them progress in their careers. To be eligible for financial support from the SoA, your event must achieve one of the following aims.