Talking with school children is one of the best parts of being a children’s book author. I’m inspired by their curiosity, their questions and their interest in learning. My hope is to plant a seed that writing, art and music are fuel for the imagination and that they can earn a living by doing what they love. The following is a description of my presentations and how to book one.
What are your presentations like?
Presentations are informal and interactive, designed to encourage questions by both children and teachers. I’m there to talk about what they want to know. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about writing, where ideas come from, how fun writing can be, and answering questions. Generally, I read a selection of my books, show a 15-minute powerpoint and talk about my experience as a professional writer—as a children’s book author, a former journalist, and a kid who always loved writing and reading. Between book-readings, I ask for questions. Often, the presentation follows the pattern of their questions, and I strongly encourage teachers to introduce my books beforehand and have them bring written questions with them. No question is off limits, including money, age and most embarrassing moments. Among my favorite questions from past visits are: “Did your mom help you write that book?” “Who are you in love with?” and “How many different colors is your hair?”
small group visit ExamplES
Presentation: We Are The Authors
Which grades to you speak to?
My picture books are written for children primarily in the 5-10 age group, so I speak to elementary age children in schools, home-schooling groups, public libraries, summer camps, book events, museums…wherever there is an audience of kids who are interested in writing.
How long is your presentation?
The standard session is 50-55 minutes. My fee includes three sessions per day.
How large a group will you speak to?
Over 3 sessions, I can speak to as many children as you’d like. The best arrangement would be 3 groups: K-1; 2-3; and 4-5.
What do you require for your presentations?
My books should be on-hand at the presentation site. If available, a cordless microphone makes it easier for all to hear and whatever equipment necessary to display the powerpoint presentation. Besides that, I just ask for bottled water and lunch, preferably with teachers, administrators, staff and/or a select group of students. One innovative principal raffled tickets for “Lunch With The Author.” It was fun for everyone—and a good way to earn money for the school. I’ll eat anything but another fried Mexican grasshopper or eggplant. Any other food is fine, whether it’s take-out, the school cafeteria or a restaurant.
Should your visit include a book-signing?
Yes! Children usually want at least one book after they hear about it during a presentation, and book-signings are a good way to talk with kids individually. Book sales can also serve as fundraisers. This is where PTA members and parent volunteers can help.
How do I order books?
It’s easy. The very best way is by working with a local bookstore. They can handle orders and offer discounts to your school. They will also return to the publisher any unsold books. Ordering directly from the publisher is also an option, but it requires time and effort, and any unsold books purchased through this venue cannot be returned.
When is the best time to sell books?
You should always sell before the day of the presentation, but do order extras so they’re available on the day of the visit. When you order through a bookstore, you only pay for what’s sold, so it’s ok to order more for people who haven’t prepaid.