Readercon is entirely volunteer-run. Our conference committee (concom), subcommittees, staff, and volunteers work all year round to make Readercon happen. If you've got a few free hours, we'd love your help! Volunteering is fun, offers the opportunity to meet new people, and earns cumulative incentives including a free membership to the next Readercon when you work 8 or more hours.
Whether you're contributing an hour of your time or diving into the deep end, we could really use your help.
Please register as a volunteer by filling out this form.
Just a few of the areas where we're looking for volunteers prior to the convention:
- IT, including updating and replacing older systems and improving data management
- Project management, setting Readercon up to run smoothly every year
- Safety, improving every aspect of our safety processes before, during, and after the convention
- Recruitment, building a robust organization that reflects our diverse community
- Administration, from transcribing paper records to consulting on the best ways to structure our convention staff
- Training to be future department heads and conchairs
But no matter what your areas of interest and expertise are, we can put you to work! Just fill out the form below. This page uses an embedded Airtable form. If the form doesn't load for you, please click here to go to it directly.
Help Wanted Before Readercon!
Readercon's program committee (progcom) is essential to Readercon, shaping every aspect of the high-level program that makes Readercon such a special and celebrated convention. Tasks include:
- Considering applications from prospective program participants. (December)
- Considering suggestions for panels. (January)
- Considering proposals for talks, workshops, and other special-interest program items. (February)
- Turning panel ideas into full-fledged panel descriptions that meet Readercon's high standards. (March)
- Suggesting future guests of honor. (April)
- Contributing to constructing and refining the program. (May/June)
The progcom has members all over the world, and all work is done online using Airtable (data management), Discord (chat), Planorama (scheduling), and email. We encourage and welcome people of all backgrounds to join the progcom, as a multitude of voices makes Readercon's program better.
Readercon's safety committee (safecom) is dedicated to making sure that everyone at Readercon is safe and feels safe. During the convention, safecom members take shifts on our 24/7 safety hotline, responding to incidents as needed. After the convention, safecom members form working groups to ensure that each report is handled appropriately and with care. (Our safety procedures detail exactly how this works.) The safecom also annually reviews Readercon's safety policies and procedures and makes recommendations for updates.
Safecom members do not need to be local to the Boston area; all post-convention work is done online. All safecom members receive training. You do not need to have a formal background in first response or harm prevention to volunteer with Readercon's safety team (though if you do have that background, we'd love to know about it!).
Readercon's Publications committee is seeking volunteers for a variety of roles that are done from the convenience of your computer before the convention doors open. You can volunteer your time for one or more of these roles:
Publications Manager (November though July)
Manage the publications volunteer team. This includes ensuring that all roles are covered, all content gets where it needs to go, the schedule is met, and the Pocket Guide and Souvenir Book are printed on time for the convention. With Program Chair and Designer/Production Controller, create publications schedule. Work with relevant publications team members and concom area heads to ensure final books are picked up and paid for.
Content Manager (November through May)
Make sure that all of the content for our books is acquired, ready, and up-to-date:
- Reach out to authors and artists to request appreciation pieces about the Guests of Honor. Follow up to make sure their contributions are received on schedule.
- Ensure Guest of Honor bibliographies and panelist bio-bibliographies are received.
- Work with other volunteers to ensure content is copyedited on schedule.
- With Design, coordinate cover art, and any swag art, if needed.
- Report regularly to publications manager and concom about the status of content, and need for assistance reaching out or generating ideas.
- Ensure that con policies and standard content are reviewed and updated by appropriate concom members for the printed books.
This role can be separated into multiple coordinating and contacting roles, if needed.
Designer and Production Controller (primarily March through July)
Help make sure our books get designed and printed!
- Communicate with printer on cost estimates and scheduling, and get approval from concom for cost, printer choice, and quantities.
- Coordinate with Publications Manager about overall publications schedule based on printing and design needs.
- Coordinate with Content Manager about receiving content.
- Flow copy, art, and ads into layout for Souvenir Book and Pocket Program Guide, adjusting pagination and design as needed.
- Provide press-ready PDFs to printer specification.
Does not require a pre-existing InDesign subscription, but familiarity of the software, as well as PDF creation, is required. This role can be separated into multiple design and production roles, if needed.
Ad Manager (November through June)
Reach out to publishers, conventions, and other events in the greater Boston area, as well as local businesses and restaurants to solicit ads in Readercon publications. Ensure ads are received by publication deadlines, and work with layout team to make sure that files meet minimum requirements. Ensure that Readercon ads are arranged and sent to other venues.
Copywriters (February through April)
Adapt, create, and update copy for other content, such as the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award section, other awards, and parts of the publications as needed.
Copyeditors (April and May)
Join a team of volunteers to help copyedit Souvenir Book content, including panelist bio-bibliographies. Must be available in April and May and able to meet short deadlines. Existing familiarity with Chicago Manual of Style is a plus. Includes light fact-checking.
Proofreaders (May and June)
Proofread Souvenir Book and Pocket Program Guide for critical errors (page numbering, type-setting, missing elements, etc). Must be available in May and June and able to meet very short deadlines.
Social Media and Promotions
Promote Readercon by posting announcements and interesting links to various social media sites. Also looking for opportunities to promote Readercon via posting of flyers in receptive venues and staffing fan tables at other conferences. Always looking for better ideas to promote and spread the word.
Help Wanted at Readercon!
Our at-con volunteers help with Registration and Information, keep an eye on the Programming, staff the Con Suite and Green Room, and perform a multitude of other tasks that are essential to keeping the con running smoothly. Volunteering is fun, offers the opportunity to meet new people, and earns cumulative incentives including a free membership to the next Readercon when you work 8 or more hours.
If you're interested in volunteering for Readercon, please fill out our volunteer form—or you can just volunteer at the convention, though the most interesting jobs may be taken by then. Here's an overview of the core volunteer jobs:
The Hospitality suites covers the Con Suite, Green Room, and Kaffeeklatsches. Con Suite serves all attendees while Green Room is for program participants. Restocking of snacks and beverages and cleaning up are the fundamental tasks in both rooms. Working in the Con Suite is a great way to connect with the folks of Readercon while providing much needed help. The Green Room is where the panelists go to recharge and relax, so volunteering involves helping to keep the room a haven from the bustle. Kaffeeklatsch is a small group of people meeting with one author for a quiet conversation. You need to check the list of attendees (who sign up prior), and make sure there is coffee and tea available.
Registration requires a lot of volunteer support to hand out badges and packets to pre-registered attendees, process at-con registrations, manage lines during peak times, restock materials, and sell advance memberships to the next year's con. Plenty of opportunities exist for both experienced and new volunteers.
Track Management and Sound
Track managing is one of the best ways to help out and still see lots of the great literary programming that is our raison d'être. Track managers do the following:
- See that the sound and recording setups are correct and ready to function for the next item and that the stage is correctly set up for the participants.
- Record the panel.
- Make sure the panel begins and ends on time.
- Respond to any problems that arise during the panel.
- Get things ready for the person who is managing the next item.
Training is provided.
This job involves fielding queries from attendees, contacting the appropriate concom to address needs or problems that arise, and restocking hand-outs. Essential information is provided.
Logistics Load In/Load Out
These tasks include schlepping boxes to and from vehicles, packing and unpacking, setting up signage, organizing/collating materials, handling equipment, errands, etc. Not everything is heavy lifting; people of all ability levels are encouraged to participate.
Blood Drive Support
Readercon has hosted a Heinlein Society Blood Drive since 2009. At-con assistance is needed with recruiting donors and in making the donor experience enjoyable. Whether or not you are able to donate blood, you can have fun helping to make the blood drive a success!