Clowning around and playing for laughs

Clown-faced baby imageIt always irks me that actors who play dramatic roles grab most of the Oscar statuettes when comedy is just as hard to pull off… if not harder. I can think of plenty of comedians who are also good at drama, but far fewer dramatic actors who have starred in successful comedies.

Okay, Oscar rant out of the way, here’s my point: comedy is an art. Humor relies not only on content (funny punchlines) but also on timing and “knowing the room.” Meaning, you have to know what will amuse the particular audience in front of you. As a visiting author, in one day, you’ll be presenting to audiences with very different funny bones.

Here are some guidelines: [Read more…]

Don’t forget advance promotional materials

I have a collection of promotional materials I offer schools at various points in the booking process. Immediately after a school contacts me inquiring about an author visit, if they’re simply looking for more information, I “snail mail” my advance packet. (See below.)

Kim Norman's author visit advance promotional packetEven if a visit never comes to pass, they’ll have my brochure and other materials, including a music CD of my “Storytime Boogie,” and they may remember me in a coming year. I have had PTA coordinators tell me they were handed my packet from an out-going committee member, so it’s clear that at least some of the recipients really do value and hold onto the packet for future years. [Read more…]

How to promote your book and author visits for FREE on Teachers Pay Teachers

60s school classTeachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where many thousands of teachers sell work-related digital products to each other. You don’t have to be a teacher to join. And you don’t even need to have a product you want to sell. You may want to offer a digital product that teachers can download, for free, such as a study guide to your book. Since it’s a digital rather than a physical, printed document, there’s no extra expense for you (except a little time) to include a page about YOU and your author visits. Check out the video I made (link below) to walk you through the steps. Feel free to create an account at TPT so you can download my free product, and use it as a model for your own. Here’s a direct link to my Ten on the Sled Printable Activities.

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Getting gigs: Align with other authors

AlignHeading_150dpiI have a lot of author friends I’ve met online and through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. (www.scbwi.org ) If you write children’s books, give this organization some serious consideration. It was at a regional SCBWI conference that I got my big break, meeting a New York editor who eventually bought my first book. I’m close enough with some of these authors that we exchange brochures. At the end of an author visit, I give the coordinator their brochures with my endorsement. My friends do the same for me. This has resulted in quite a few bookings over the years.


PlanningYourVisit_coverSmall_byKimNormanHave you signed up for Cool School Visits updates? Sign up using the form on the upper right side of this page, and you’ll receive a free copy of my guide, PLANNING YOUR AUTHOR SCHOOL VISIT, which includes sample programs and breakdowns to target your sessions to different grade levels. (If you’re on a smart phone, keep scrolling and you’ll find the form at the very bottom of any blog post, below any comments.)

Asking for the check

Asking4theCheck_150dpiYeah, that can be awkward. You can’t baldly ask, “Where’s my money?” Well, you can, but… yikes. Some coordinators and bookkeepers will remember to hand you the check right away, at the beginning of the day. (Yay!) If lunch has passed and there’s still no mention of it, sometimes I play dumb and ask, “Did you give me the check already? Sometimes I forget where I put it!” This makes for a light moment and a memory-jog for the coordinator. If I remember to plan ahead, sometimes I carry a printed invoice in my “magic folder.” (More about my magic folder later.) With the invoice in hand, I ask, “Did you need me to give you a printed invoice for the visit? I have it here.” Usually they’ll say no, but the question also serves as a graceful reminder to retrieve the check.


PlanningYourVisit_coverSmall_byKimNormanHave you signed up for Cool School Visits updates? Sign up using the form on the upper right side of this page, and you’ll receive a free copy of my guide, PLANNING YOUR AUTHOR SCHOOL VISIT, which includes sample programs and breakdowns to target your sessions to different grade levels. (If you’re on a smart phone, keep scrolling and you’ll find the form at the very bottom of any blog post, below any comments.)