How to ensure a GREAT author visit

How to ensure a sparkling author visitThis is the true story of a pair of author visits I did in the same week. The schools were very similar:
• Rural K-12 shared campus
• Elementary borrowed the high school auditorium for my assemblies.
• Both schools included 6th graders in the program for older elementary students.

My days in these schools should have been very similar, right? [Read more…]

Three ways to build word-of-mouth for your author visits

3WaysWordofMouth_150You can build a jazzy website, pay for expensive brochures, spend tons of time networking online and in person, but nothing will ever be as powerful as one librarian telling another librarian about how great your author visit was. Marketers know: word-of-mouth is king.

But librarians and reading specialists are busy people. The minute you’re out the door, your host is onto the next item on her looooong to-do list. So how can you keep yourself in her mind long enough to make it into a conversation with her colleagues? Here are three things you can do near the end of your visit, or afterwards, that may impress her enough to recommend you. [Read more…]

Four website MUST-HAVES to win more author visit invitations

MustHaves_150I’ve had a few friends ask, “How do you get so many author visits?” While I have quite a few colleagues who do a far greater number of visits than I do, I did manage, sometime around my third year of doing school visits, to triple the number of events on my calendar, (from 12 to 36) and that number has stayed fairly consistent since then. I think this jump was mainly due to some key changes I made to my website. [Read more…]

Lunch with the author

Delightful crocodile and monkey cookies served during a festive Lunch with the Author at Hudson Maxim School in Hopatcong, NJ.
Delightful crocodile and monkey cookies served during a festive “Lunch with the Author” at Hudson Maxim School when children’s book author Kim Norman visited Hopatcong, NJ, in the spring of 2014.

Some schools like to schedule a special “lunch with the author” event. Usually this means inviting a few students (selected by the school) to share lunch with the author. Or it may be a larger luncheon with balloons and pizza with a few students from each grade collected at tables, and the author is asked to drop into each one for a few minutes. (This was the case at Hudson Maxim School, pictured above. Luckily, I was supplied with plenty of croco-cookies to fortify myself.) Students are chosen to attend the lunch in a variety of ways, from attendance records to number of books read to essay contests to simple lotteries. How they’re chosen will be up to your host. [Read more…]

Siri! Follow that bus!

FollowThatBus_150Whenever I’ve got the luxury of time, I try to scope out a school’s location ahead of time. I don’t do this for nearby schools (within 90 minutes) even if I’ve never been to that school before. But if it’s far enough away that I’ll be staying the night before in a hotel, if I get into town early enough, I’ll sometimes swing by the school the night before, just to get the lay of the land. What the heck. I’m there with not much else on my dance card for the evening, right?

Most of the time, the early foray hasn’t turned out to be necessary. Most schools have typically sufficient parking, and my smart phone would have gotten me there with no problems. But occasionally I’ve run into confusing locations that made me glad I checked them out in advance. Even when I HAVE pre-checked the location, the scene will be very different in the morning if I’ve been asked to arrive during that crazy student drop-off time.

Some obstacles to watch for: [Read more…]