SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Best Practices for Putting an Event on the Website

Sue Ford (Washington/Northern Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon)

I could sum it all up into a singular practice—gather all your event info in one document per event page. Whether you are creating the event yourself or passing it on to a webmaster to post, it will save a lot of time and hassle.

“But what information do I need?” you ask. I’m happy to tell you.

Let’s talk about the Main Page of the event. (For smaller events, this may be the only page.) This is created under Add Event.

Start with who, when, where, what. These include: 

Title of Event
Day and Date
Start and End Time
Location and Address
Speaker(s) or Faculty
Speaker Topic, if different from above title
Logo If it’s an existing one, mention that. If being created, who is creating it and when is it due?

 

Next, provide a description of the event. This is the why. Tell members what the event is about, why they should come, and what to expect. Think “back of the book blurb” to drum up excitement. This can be one introductory paragraph or several.

If you’re doing a workshop series, you’ll want to say what’s special about this date. Provide a write-up of the workshop. Give the speaker’s bio.  

 

Registration Dates

Date registration opens
Must register by date
Must sign up for special opportunity by date
No refunds after date*
No refunds on special opportunity? (This is standard for critiques/consultations where the material is sent in in advance.)

 

*On conferences and retreats our region usually has a $15 processing fee for refunds. Nothing on smaller events. If you want a processing fee, decide how much.

Fees

Early Bird, if applicable
Date Early Bird is over Regular Rate
Members
Non-members
Other Fees, specify for what (critiques, etc.) and how much

Not only does this information about fees and registration dates need to be shared with attendees, but it’s how Tickets are created.

 

Schedule—do you want a detailed schedule posted? For a smaller event that could be done here. Otherwise, create a page and provide a link from the main event to the subpage.

Think about special opportunities and requirements. Are there going to be: 

  • Critiques, consultations, or pitches? First pages? Illustrator show case? Portfolio reviews? Who is eligible? What can be submitted?
  • Faculty book sales? Member book sales? Accepting credit cards or checks and cash only? 
  • Will attendees need to bring anything? How do attendees participate? What are the requirements to participate? 
  • When are the deadlines to submit material? Is the material sent ahead? If so, to what email address? 

If this information is extensive, do a general summary and create a Page (or pages) with all the details. (The parent of your new page will be this created event.)

 

Food and beverages. Whether you’re providing water or coffee, pastries or lunch, attendees want to know what to expect. Explain clearly. If a meal, you can either offer choices to please vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, lactose intolerant diets. (Salad and sandwich bars work great.) Or, you can use “Workshops and Extras” option on the site for attendees to indicate diet preferences or choose the type of meal. It’s even appropriate to say, “bring a brownbag lunch” or “lunch on your own at nearby restaurants.” If the latter, you may want to provide info about the restaurants.

 

Workshops and Extras—this is that helpful tab under events that you can use to force people to choose options. They must choose a track—it goes here. They need to choose their first page genre or who they’d like for a consult? It goes here. For retreats this could include information about shared or private rooms, carpooling, etc.

 

Consultations/Critiques/Portfolio Reviews are often included in workshops and extras. It’s helpful to have a chart of this besides the write up, so that the right number of spots are created.

Faculty Member Critiquing What How Many When mss/image due

 

Contact information. Who should attendees contact if they have questions? Include name and email address. We often provide a phone number for the first day of registration for bigger events as we inevitably have some issue going on.

 

Possible subpages—these will appear in the tan box with the name of the page on the event page.

  • Faculty – name, bios, pics
  • Schedule(s)
  • Special Opportunities – may be broken down into several pages, such as Special Opportunities for Writers and Special Opportunities for Illustrators, or specific opportunities
  • Area Restaurants
  • Lodging
  • Homework Assignments

 

Excerpt—each event offers a custom-made excerpt. A teaser for the event. This is the brief information seen when one clicks on an event. More Info is the full event page.

All that, and you’ve probably forgotten some detail. Have someone read through your copy before it goes live. Hopefully, they’ll spot what you’ve missed. But if not, on registration day you’ll be sure to hear about it.

 

Tips:

  • It is best to have registration up and ready to go a minimum of two months before small events.
    • For large events, I recommend at least four months.
  • Attach images in email for speakers and logos if using a webmaster. Make sure the images have logical file names, for example speaker name, event title. 
    • Images usually need to be under 500k.
  • If you only have one or two faculty members, pictures and bios can be listed on the event page itself. Better to create a faculty page, if you have many bios and pictures to post.
    • Did you know you can create a table to keep images and text side by side? Table formatting can be done for spacing, but borders don’t work.
    • I’ve found inserting a line in a blank row between speakers helps separate.
  • You can create a table in Word with fees, deadlines, etc. and copy and paste into an event page or subpage. Borders won’t show.
  • The systems automatic cut off for registrations is 4 pm. I always change it to 11:59 pm. But sometimes you may want another time.
  • On subpages, add a link back to the parent page at the bottom of the page.

Whew! That’s a lot to think about. But having it gathered in one place will make creating the event so much easier.

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Sue Ford has served in three regions (Washington/Northern Idaho, Kansas, and Oregon) for a total of ten and a half years. She started out as a children’s magazine writer and has taught the magazine writing course at the Institute of Children’s Literature since 2009. She’s done work-for-hire books for two Korean publishers (Unibooks and Compass Media) and is hard at work on several picture book and novel manuscripts.