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A Beginner’s Guide to Literary Events

It’s hard out there for a newcomer to the world of literary events, even when you’re in publishing. As a continuation to our Beginner’s Guides, we’re here to help you figure out how to spend your evenings and weekends at cool, bookish events. Fire up your keyboard for a follow fest on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and/or email lists to stay in the know. (Unfortunately, this is list is pretty exclusive to New York City when it comes to specifics, but if you’ve got favorite literary hot spots that you want to share, we’d love for you to put them in the comments.)


In the NYC area, we are blessed with many bookstores that put on great events, to name a few Housing Works Bookstore Café, The Strand, and Barnes & Noble Union Square (that’s not even getting to Brooklyn). From card making classes, to parties, to readings and conversation between excellent writers and creatives, bookstores will keep your calendar full. McNally Jackson‘s got a reading going on this Friday, if you don’t have plans:

Follow the houses (and imprints):

Of course, every single publisher has a social media presence, not to mention their respective imprints. By now, you’ve probably figured out which imprints you admire, which small presses publish the crime stories you love, and so on. By following the ones you like, or just all of them, you’ll get all kinds of news. They’ll promote their new titles, tell you about sweet ebook deals,  and also let you know when they’re throwing parties or hosting events. You know, parties like this:

Straight to the Source, Authors:

I’m sure you’ve got a list as long as your arm of authors you love. So if you’re not already, follow them online! Chances are you’ll be among the first to know about their upcoming appearances and events. And better yet, authors like to support their author friends, so you’ll be able to find out about even more cool events when their friends are in town as well. For instance, Petoskey readers, we’ve made Wednesday night plans for you:

Literary Organizations: The National Book Foundation does more than host the National Book Award Ceremony each year, and have you ever heard of The Center for Fiction or PEN America? These organizations and others host events, some paid and some free, from author readings to writing workshops.

The very specific bookish corners of the internet:

Tumblr and Buzzfeed both have their own book verticals and not only do they post things you should know about, they occasionally host or share information about upcoming events.

Literary Magazines:

Keeping your eye on the social media feeds of the literary magazines you love will be good for your heart, mind, and dance card. Magazines like The Paris Review, n + 1, One Story, and McSweeneys will keep you updated on when new issues are out, supply you with fresh interviews and short stories, and of course, you’ll know when they’re hosting events. Why not go see BOMB Magazine this weekend at the Greenlight Bookstore for a party they’re hosting to celebrate indies and this weekend’s The Brooklyn Book Festival?

If you’ve already taken action and followed all of these organizations, people, places, and publishers online, the final and most important step is stepping away from your desk, your Netflix queue, or whatever else is sucking up your evening hours and getting yourself out there for the literary love (and in some cases, the free food).

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