Tips and ideas

Image ©

Local groups are a great way to connect with your local author community, learn from and support one another. Alongside informal sessions to get to know fellow members, you may want to plan in some focused sessions. Here are some tips and ideas for running your local group.

Top tips for successful meet-ups

Forward plan – Successful local groups plan meetings well in advance.  

Have a direct contact – It is helpful if members are able to contact the organiser directly with any queries and to find out more about the group. 

Decide your format and regularity – Use your initial meeting to discuss the format and what members would like from the group. Monthly meetings tend to work well. 

Liaise with the SoA – Make sure you send us the event details at least a month in advance so we can publicise them. 

Use your group’s expertise – Group members are encouraged to share their knowledge and experience by leading discussions or giving an informal talk. Ask members to volunteer and start to plan in some talks and themed sessions. 

Book external speakers well in advance – If there are gaps in the group’s knowledge, arrange a speaker two to three months in advance to visit the group. Remember to agree fees in advance and decide on a ticket price to cover costs.  

Keep in touch in between meetings – Members might find a Facebook discussion group valuable. Let the SoA know if you would like us to set one up for your group. 

Welcome new members – Ensure new members feel welcome and included during online meet-ups. 

Make use of the SoA – If you need help, ask! We’re happy to talk through ideas for events and put you in touch with fellow local group organisers to share your experiences of running a group.

Ideas for local group events

The Publicity Problem Solver
Host a skills sharing session for members to share top tips and advice for publicity, promotion and spreading the word about your work. From pre-publication advice to keeping sales going, share what’s worked well (or not so well) for you and help fellow members.

How to Work with your Local Bookseller
Why not approach your local independent bookseller to see if they could host a Q&A session led by a group member on how authors and booksellers can work together?

My Author Life
Invite group members to discuss how they make up their writing, illustrating or translating life, what they’re currently working on and share their advice on how to support yourself as an author while you work on your next project.

Working with your local library service
Your local library service may have a library development officer who could speak to the group about their upcoming projects and programmes authors can get involved with, such as delivering workshops or readings.

Wellbeing session
Staying connected in your professional author community is often more important for our health and wellbeing than we realise. Get together for a chat over a cuppa and find out how members are doing.

Author incomes session
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society can speak to the group about author incomes, secondary licensing and copyright. For more information, get in touch.

Meet the Editor session
The Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading have a network of ambassadors who are happy to speak to local groups. For more information, please contact the CIEP.

The London Library
The London Library has been a place for readers and writers since 1841. Hear about the history of the Library, the writers that have written there and how you can use libraries and the skills of librarians to help with research, inspiration and productivity. For more information, get in touch.

Developing your craft
Contact your local writer development agency and invite them to speak to the group about ways they can support you to develop your craft.
Scottish Book Trust | New Writing North | Writing East Midlands | Writing West Midlands | National Centre for Writing | Spread the Word | New Writing South | Literature Works | Literature Wales

How to apply for funding
Contact your local literature development officer or relationship manager and invite them to give a presentation on how to apply for funding towards a creative project.
Creative Scotland | Arts Council England | Arts Council Wales| Arts Council Northern Ireland

SoA sessions

The Society of Authors staff can speak to local groups and answer queries. Topics include:

  • The business of writing, illustrating or translating
  • How to make a living as an author
  • Poetry as a profession
  • How to run an effective campaign
  • Copyright and permissions
  • Top tips for contracts and negotiations
  • Know your rights: the C.R.E.A.T.O.R campaign
  • From page to screen: the adaptation process
  • Prizes, awards and other sources of income
  • Getting started in self-publishing

Please get in touch to organise a session at least eight weeks in advance. If there is a topic you’d like to know more about that’s not listed here, just ask in your email request.