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AWP: Marketing Your Literary Community


AWP Panels 2011 in Washington, D.C.
Prepared by CityLit Project

Marketing Your Literary Community: Make Sure Your Organization is Heard
(Kyle Semmel, Art Taylor, Jill Pollack, Chip Cheek, Gregg Wilhelm)
Thursday Feb 3 @ 1:30 - 2:45 Hoover Room (Marriott Wardman Park, Mezzanine Level)


-- What exactly are you doing?

-- Quality.  If your program is not "good" (and of course that is wildly subjective), then it will be difficult to promote it.


-- Partnering with established organizations for venue space (libraries, theaters, museums), media outlets for in-kind publicity (local daily paper, alt weekly, glossy monthly), higher education (public, private, or community colleges), and/or businesses, especially as event sponsors, (local phone, energy, grocers) lends immediate credibility to your new festival or center. 

-- Be aware of what else is going on -- not just with other possible literary arts events, but other cultural events taking place in your community -- on the day you are planning to have your event. It is hard to be heard if there's "too much noise in the marketplace."


-- Transitioned from Drupal site (2004 - 2009) to a dynamic site (April 2009) that can handle all types of media (images, audio, video), dovetails with our database/e-newsletter subscribers, and includes a user-friendly CMS with HTML editor. Cost $15,000 covered by two grants.

-- Twitter and FaceBook (interns).


-- #1 Rule: "Please please please come to our literary event" is not news.  What content can you provide media that is appropriate for their audience, but still broadcasts that this author, this book, or this thing will happen at your event.

--- #1 Tip: Understand what lead times are required by any given media outlet.  Don't contact the arts editor at your city's monthly magazine the month before your event. Screams amateur.  Monthlies need four to six months or more lead.

-- #1 "Trick": Get media people to host or introduce portions of your program.


-- Consider using paid advertising dollars for postcards, brochures, posters that can be mailed or deposited in strategic locations.

--This and other tactics sometimes called "guerrilla" or "grassroots" marketing.

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