Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finding Events

Our team-member Karen (aka Disorganized Harmony) asked:
I need to know how to find out about events before it's too late to sign up for a spot. I always seem to find out about them too late.

That's a great question, Karen, and one that we all face - sometimes more than once. I hope my experience can help you.

Two years ago our family moved to a new town and I felt like I was beginning my business all over again. Wanting to be plugged into my new community, I started by finding the city's Events Calendar on the their website. I then noticed the city had an Office of Cultural Development, brimming with information and links. I made an appointment with the Director of Cultural Development and put together a letter of introduction, a list of ways Ambassadors have introduced culture (via Barefoot Books) to children in their community, and a sampling of books that included the arts and exploring different cultures.

I'm happy to report that I walked out of the meeting with eight events and was contacted for more. Events included an ethnic fair, a celebration of African culture and an Irish sister city event. The director of cultural development was able to give me a list of contacts to whom I could send press releases and announcements. If an event came to my attention I could contact her and ask about the event coordinator, whether it would be a good fit, and turn-out in the past.

Additional tips:
1)Write your letter based on research for your particular community. I love to use Barefoot wording as much thought has already been given to the presentation of Barefoot Books already. Study Barefoot's website content.
2)The office and title of Cultural Development may be different in your area. Check the city site or even call the mayor's office!
3)Can you make your own event? What makes your Barefoot business unique? For example, I offer teacher training sessions using our books and have presented on the history of children's literature in the US with Barefoot books as an alternative to commercialism.
4)Even if you missed the event as a vendor do attend anyway. Talk with the vendors about events that would be a good fit for you. Many place postcards at their booths to advertise where they will be next.
5)If your community offers it, sign up for emails newsletters that advertise upcoming events. Track them on your calendar.
6)One title events can be highly successful. We've had Ambassadors sell Ballet Stories or Stories from the Opera at their local theater. I sold about 30 copies of Tales from Old Ireland in 45 minutes at the sister city event.

I hope that gives you some ideas to work on. Please leave your own tips on how you find your events in the comments section!


  1. Thanks for the great tips Richele! I can't seem to locate a Director of Cultural Affairs in my city but it looks like the visitor's bureau has a lot of information so I may send them a packet :)

  2. Sarah, you're in CR, right? How about the Iowa Cultural Corridor Alliance at

  3. Yes I'm am in Cedar Rapids. Hmm... I think I did stumble across this site back when I first joined BFB. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention! I will check it out :)