Children’s Book Author and School Visits
1. Q. How do we contact you about coming to our school?
A. You can write me, call me or send me an email.
2. Q. How much lead time do you need?
A. It depends. If my schedule allows, I'll be there next week. Some of my school visits are booked 6 months in advance, some a couple of weeks. I try to keep my schedule flexible and if I can, I'm happy to accommodate your needs.
3. Q. How do we promote your visit in school?
A. I think a full-page ad in the Sunday New York Times should do the trick! If that's not in your budget, try these ideas:
*put up posters around the school announcing the day of the visit.
*include an article in the school newspaper or a message on the school's web page.
*send a reminder note home with the students, especially if the visit includes a book signing and autograph session. There's nothing like a disappointed child who wanted to buy a book but forgot his money.
4. Q. How do we prepare the students for your visit?
A. Get the kids familiar wtih my books. You might display my books in the library. Talk about publishing and what an author does. Have the kids write questions about writing and books on index cards; questions like, where do you get your ideas from? and who chooses the artist to illustrate your books? I find the more prepared the students are, the more they get out of my program.
5. Q. How can we get media coverage of your visit?
A. Contact the local newspaper or radio station well in advance of the visit. See if the newspaper will come over and take photos of the event or have someone at the school take pictures for the school newspaper or web page.
6. Q. What do you need for your visit?
A. I'll bring my own laptop and digital projector but a back-up projector with extra lamp is a good idea. If I'm doing a birdhouse building workshop, plenty of parent or teacher volunteers would be welcome. I also like a confirmation letter stating clear directions to the school, the date and starting time of the visit, and a schedule of presentations including time and grade level.
7. Q. What things do we need to take care of the day of your visit?
A. * You might want to set up a "lunch with the author." Maybe choose 10 kids from school and set us up in the library or a classroom during lunch. I enjoy this because I get to talk to some of the students one-on-one. I may bounce some new ideas off them and the kids feel special chatting with an author. If lunch can't be provided, please let me know in advance and I'll make my own lunch plans.
*I don't like asking for a check so it's best if you pay me sometime during the day of my visit.
*If I'm doing a number of presentations during the day, try to keep me in one location. Moving a slide projector, screen and book materials from one room to another can jeopardize a successful presentation.
*I hope you'll consider selling my books during a visit. Your PTA will often help out with organizing a book sale, including ordering books, handling money, etc. Books can be ordered from the publisher at a 40% discount which may be passed onto your students or used to help pay the author's fee. It's also a great chance for a fund raiser.
*Book sales are most successful when an order form is sent home with the students a few weeks prior to my visit. Any books not sold can be returned to the publisher. Books should be ordered about 4 to 6 weeks in advance of my visit.
*Book sales can sometimes be a hassle if not enough preparation has gone into them. Please don't hesitate to contact me for more information and details about selling my books during an author visit.
8. Q. Why should we bring an author to our school?
A. Author visits provide a wonderful opportunity for children to ask how and why a certain book was written, where did the idea come from and what made you choose that particular subject. Reading good books enriches the lives of children. During an author visit, students get to peek behind the scenes of a book, learn more about the writing process, and maybe even energize them into becoming better readers and writers.
9. Q. Why should our school spend our hard
earney money on you?
A. Because I work very hard to make sure the school gets its money's worth. Many teachers tell me I have a wonderful way with children and I'm great at holding their attention. I guarantee from the moment I walk through the school's front door, I'm on and I'm yours!
10. Q. What can we do after your visit?
A. You might do a class project about my visit. Have the kids write letters to me. Keep the students informed when my new books are published. If the school really enjoyed my visit, please tell other principals, librarians and teachers. And I'd love to receive a letter saying my visit was successful. This would be useful in booking future school visits.