The Southwest Florida Reading Festival brings in best-selling authors of all genres.
The “Featured Authors” are by invitation only.

SWFL Reading Fest 2018 Author-Publisher Packet Final

Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Southwest Florida Reading Festival

  1. Largest 1-day reading festival in Florida
  2. 2018 will be the 19th annual event
  3. Free community event presented by the public library system
  4. Average attendance 15,000 to 18,000 per year
  5. Average total books sales $15,000-$20,000 per year
  6. Average number of authors at festival 20-25 per year
  7. Annual marketing plan includes: print, radio and TV advertising, print and TV author interviews, social media, email marketing, media releases, website, flyers, posters, bookmarks, etc.
  8. Books-A-Million is a full service, onsite bookseller with a selection of each authors’ books on display and for sale
  9. Award winner: Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society; Golden Image Award/Florida Public Relations Assn.; Best Promotional Campaign/Florida Festivals & Events Assn


Authors are contracted for

  1. Friday -Attendance at An Evening with the Authors reception (no speaking required)
  2. Saturday – One or more presentations
  3. Saturday – Two autographing sessions
  4. Saturday – All day presence at the festival (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) to include scheduled presentation(s) and signing(s)


Typical presentation format at Saturday festival

  1. 45-60 minutes for presentation, including time for Q&A
  2. Some will be panels of like genre
  3. Some may have a moderator or will be set up in an interview style, if desired
  4. One book signing follows the presentation; the second signing is scheduled during the day; authors are escorted to the signing area


Presentation & signing facilities

  1. The festival encompasses all 6+ acres of the Fort Myers Regional Library campus at 1651 Lee Street in Fort Myers, FL
  2. Adult title authors will speak in tented venues on the campus seating 250-500 people
  3. Children’s authors speak in tented venues on the campus seating varying audience sizes
  4. There is one onsite book store at the festival


Author accommodations provided by the Reading Festival

  1. Reimbursement for round trip airfare to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) up to $500
  2. Two nights at the boutique style Hotel Indigo; additional nights at the group rate can be arranged but are at the author’s expense
  3. Ground transportation to and from: RSW, Hotel Indigo, the Evening with the Authors dinner and the festival
  4. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails Friday at Evening with the Authors and lunch at the festival Saturday
  5. This is a destination location, making it easy for attendees to bring their families and “stay and play” with them before or after the festival. Visit

Featured Author Testimonials

I absolutely loved the event and my stay in Fort Myers. Please, Please have me back!

Holly Brown, 2017

The festival was a magnificent event--well organized, helpful volunteers and thousands of enthusiastic readers, all in a beautiful Florida setting. What more could a book lover (and author) want? Thank you for inviting me.

James Grippando, 2017

The SW Florida Reading Festival was the best one I have been to - I believe we sold out all copies of the book at the retail tent. Met so many nice people..!! Hope I will be invited back when my next book comes out - would love to do it again!

Colin Campbell, 2017

The moderator was excellent and very well prepared. Because there were fewer options for panels at the time slot of my talk the room was nearly full. It's always fun to speak to packed house of engaged, enthusiastic readers. The book sales were brisk too, meaning the festival attracts real book lovers and book buyers. That's always a plus.

Daniel Palmer, 2016

It was a wonderful festival--one of the best I've attended! Fabulous lineup of authors, great attendance, and extremely well organized. Thank you for inviting me and for providing such a fantastic experience!

Elissa Brent Weissman, 2016

I’m Grateful for this superb festival. Honestly, right down to the weather, everything was just perfect… I've told all my author friends, how wonderful the festival was.

Kim Boykin, 2015

My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Festival and appreciate the invitation to participate. I was so impressed with your volunteer force.

Randy Rawls, 2015

I attended the festival with our authors. I just want to say I thought the Southwest Florida Reading Festival was fabulous. It was well-run in a beautiful locale and offered a variety of authors to please a wide audience. I hope we will have the opportunity to bring authors to you again.

Susan Zurenda, Publicist, 2015

I really had a lot of fun, and sold a decent bunch of books. (Had a long line waiting for me at my first signing.) And since I don't do many of these (maybe one or two a year) the blending of the group of authors always helped, and ours had a blast.

Andrew Gross, 2014

Everyone involved was so helpful and friendly and the audiences were among the most attentive and appreciative we've ever presented to. It was an altogether satisfying weekend.

Betsy Lewin, 2014

Seriously, what a fabulous event. I loved all of it. No complaints. The new venue for the talks is excellent. I had a nice crowd with good questions and met lots of Florida fans. I also had a wonderful time with the other authors. Thanks for inviting me.

Phillip Margolin, 2014

I really enjoyed the festival –– and I thought it was beautifully managed. The readers were so friendly and nice. Thank you for inviting me! And I'd love to attend in the future!

Jill Shalvis, 2014

I would return in a heartbeat! What a wonderful event!!!

Tedd Arnold, 2013

Thanks much! You and everyone else did a wonderful job putting the festival together and I very much enjoyed participating. Speaking before such a large and enthusiastic crowd was great fun. I hope to come back at some point.

Alex Berenson, 2013

Thanks for an awesome weekend. I had a great time and look forward to coming back to Fort Myers … You guys put on a fantastic festival.

Martin Dugard, 2013

It was a great festival. So well organized. Everyone I met was super nice and helpful. Great turnout too! I was the first one on in the morning and there were lots of people in the tent. Thanks for inviting me, I really enjoyed it.

Bob Shea, 2013

It couldn’t have been better. I had such a great time in Ft Myers, and have been telling everybody so! Thanks for a super job. Everything was so well organized and went so smoothly. Loved the hotel. LOVED the venue! Loved Ft Myers. Oh, and the Books a Million folks were great, too. All in all, a super weekend.

Deborah Crombie, 2012

This had to be the best organized, most pleasant and thoughtfully run event ... I was so appreciative of all the time and effort that went into it. Everyone was so cordial and made everything just effortless. The only hard part was having to say goodbye to so many old friends and new...and leaving Hotel Indigo! Thanks so much…

Nancy Holder, 2012

I thought it turned out very well, and I was impressed by the festival––as I told my publicist. And Fort Myers and surrounds are really pretty charming. As was the weather!

Erik Larson, 2012

It really was a fabulous weekend. … Fort Myers outdid itself. And the setting for the conference was perfect. I ate lunch in the hospitality area with that lovely view of the water. It’s a tribute to the people who put this Festival together that it went so very well. And I thank you again for inviting me. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Caroline Todd, 2012

This was a terrific event … thanks so much for having me… my best to all.”

Michael Palmer, 2012

Everything was so well organized and carried out. It was an enjoyable experience especially due to the air of genuine hospitality felt in every corner. Thank you so much for including me in the festivities.

George Guidall, 2012

Thank you, Ridley [Pearson] had a wonderful time. He sent a pic of the signing line and I was blown away. Congrats on an amazing event. All the best, Deborah

Disney Publishing, 2011

It was my pleasure to be part of the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. The audience was large and enthusiastic for both talks and both book signings, and I really enjoyed the whole Festival.

Nelson DeMille, 2011

Wow! What a festival you put on! Many, many thanks to you and all the people of the Lee County Library System for including me. I enjoyed myself immensely…and was thrilled to be part of it. Now, I know for sure that the Southwest Florida Book Festival is one of the best in the country.

Mary Jane Clark, 2011

Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful weekend. It was GREAT to meet you. My family LOVED going to the reading festival… Thank you again for the opportunity to come to Florida. I truly enjoyed meeting all the pinkerellas! Glad to know there are quite a few of them in Florida!

Victoria Kann, 2011

I LOVED the entire experience. Everyone was so helpful, friendly ... It was all great!

Lisa Jackson, 2010

Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous! I had a *blast*; Florida librarians ROCK. Thanks so much for including me!

Lauren Myracle, 2010

Thanks for inviting me. Wonderful festival and everything was so well run and organized. Pat yourself on the back. (I'm impressed).

James Grippando, 2010

This is one of the best events I have ever attended. I wouldn't change a thing. PERFECTION–PLUS.

Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2010

I've been to many book festivals before, and this was one of the best organized and thought–out I've ever attended.

Tess Gerritsen, 2009

I thought it was a great, wonderfully organized event, and I had a terrific time. I would not hesitate to recommend attending to any of my colleagues. Thanks again for inviting me.

David Liss, 2009

...I have done a large number of festivals over the years, so I think I speak from good experience. Yours was very well run, very well organized and most importantly, very well attended. Good job! Thank you for inviting me.

Jeff Shaara, 2009

I want to make sure you know how grateful I am to have been included in the SW FL Reading Festival. It was fun, and it did something good for reading and for the community.”

Susan Vreeland, 2008

… Spending nearly all my time writing, I have to pick and choose my outing carefully. I’m so happy to have made it to Fort Myers. Your Festival was a fabulous event, and countless other authors told me the same this weekend…

Tony Abbott, 2008

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for inviting me to the event and to say what a great event it is! … From beginning until departure, it was clear that much time, thought, passion and a lot of hard work went into every aspect of the event.

Robert Hicks, 2007

Have Fun At The Reading Festival!

Festival Contacts

Lee County Library System
2345 Union Street
Fort Myers, FL 33901

Adult Authors
Jennifer Lee

Rollie Welch

Joe Mooney

Children’s Authors
Gina Henderson

Dawn Martelli

Festival Coordinator
Margie Byers

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