Author School Visits 101: Learn How to Create, Present & Promote Children's Books School Visits! | Donna Galanti | Skillshare

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Author School Visits 101: Learn How to Create, Present & Promote Children's Books School Visits!

teacher avatar Donna Galanti, Author, Speaker, Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (1h 15m)
    • 1. SchoolVisitsIntro

    • 2. SchoolVisitsPresentationGoals

    • 3. SchoolVisitsCommonCore

    • 4. SchoolVisitsDevelopContent

    • 5. SchoolVisitsOrganizeContent

    • 6. SchoolVisitsEngagement

    • 7. SchoolVisitsTiming

    • 8. SchoolVisitsPrepare InfoToSend&Questions

    • 9. SchoolVisitsPrepare Technology

    • 10. SchoolVisitsPrepare PreOrders

    • 11. SchoolVisitsPrepare ExtraMile

    • 12. SchoolVisitsGettingtheGigs

    • 13. SchoolVisitsFeesInsuranceContracts

    • 14. SchoolVisitProgram

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About This Class


In this course you'll learn how to create, prepare, present, and book school visits as a children's book author with confidence.

We'll cover these steps to create a children's book marketing foundation for a successful school visit event:


Engaging with your young readers through a school visit is one of the most rewarding events you can do as a children’s book author.

Your children's book is written, published, or soon-to-be released and one of the best ways to get it in the hands of your young readers (and keep your book in print!) is doing school visits. You've invested a lot of time, energy, and emotion into your book -- presenting at schools as a visiting author can ensure your book captures the spotlight.

By the end of this course you will be confident in knowing how to create, present, and book author school visits.

This course will cover everything you need to get started -- from developing content for your school visit presentation to learning how to effectively engage with young readers to partnering with schools to book the events. Also, this course will recommend resources to use for no-cost or low-cost to create and market your school visits. Students who are dedicated beginners with a commitment to learning how to create, prepare, and present author school visit presentations will benefit most from this course.

This is a beginner course on preparing to present author school visits and marketing a children's book through school visits. Students will need to be a children’s book writer for picture books, middle grade or young adult novels and have the desire to present at schools as a visiting author. Students don't need any special materials or any author or children's book marketing experience.

For the Author School Visits 101 Guide to this course visit here
For a bonus guide on how to deliver Skype author school visits visit here.

Meet Your Teacher

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Donna Galanti

Author, Speaker, Teacher


I love to help writers elevate themselves in their writing craft, embrace promotion, boost confidence, and learn how to set themselves up for lifelong author success.

I've taught hundreds of writers since 2013 at conferences, workshops, retreats, seminars, and school visits about writing craft and marketing -- and now reaching even more students with online courses.

What would you like to learn?
How to improve your writing techniques?
How to build your author platform?
How to market your books?
How to build a community of industry influencers?

If you want to do any of these things, just enroll in my courses. You have a 30-day money back guarantee if you don't like it.

I want to show you how to be a better writer, be a better promoter, be a better ... See full profile

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1. SchoolVisitsIntro: Welcome to author school visits 101 where you'll learn how to create, present and promote Children's book author events to schools for young readers, from early childhood age to teens, I'm Gonna Go 19 Children's book author and also avid school visit presenter. Engaging with your young readers through a school visit is one of the most rewarding events that you can do as a Children's book author. Maybe you have a Children's book out now, or your Children's book is soon to be written, published or released. One of the best ways of getting your book into the hands of your young readers and also keeping it in print is doing school visits. You've invested a lot of time, energy and emotion into your book and doing school visits. It's a great opportunity to make sure it captures the spotlight. By the end of this course, you'll be confident and knowing how to create your presentation that best fits your personality, your story, educator expectations and your audience. You also have all the tools you need to present with confidence, as well as poke and promote your school visits. So let's get started 2. SchoolVisitsPresentationGoals: So let's jump into school visits a 101 and then this course will be covering three topics. First off will be discussing how to create your presentation, including coming up with content and how to organize that content. Secondly, will jump into preparing for visits with things like tips on how to engage students and also preparing for technology that you might be using in your presentation and finally will get into getting those gigs. And I'll be sharing with you two ways that you can go about getting school visits. One is free or practically free, and the other is a paid avenue. And I want to share with you a little background on how I got started with doing school visits. So I write middle grade for ages 8 to 12 and my very first school visit was actually at my son's school. And as my anxiety ramped up to present to hundreds of fifth and sixth grade students, including my son and many of his friends, I was informed of my number one goal by my son, which was, Please, Mom, whatever you do, do not be boring. Now this is a great goal toe have in doing our school visit presentations, and one you definitely want to keep in mind as you're creating your presentation and preparing for it. Now, don't worry if your first presentation or even second or third is not perfect, it won't be. You know, it's kind of like that first draft of a novel, right? We need to revise it. We need to polish it. We need to make it better. We need to practice our craft just like we need to do with our school visit presentation. So practicing your presentation in front of audiences will provide. We provide you with ideas on how to make your presentation that much better so you can connect with your young audience in a deeper way. Now I have no teaching or classroom background at all, So I felt miserably unprepared when I first started doing school visits, as you can imagine. So if some of you here do have teaching experience, you're already way ahead of so many others who were starting out doing this. But no worries if you don't, because if I can do this without any teaching experience at all, find success with it and most importantly, enjoy doing this so much, then so can you. So at this point, you might be thinking what content don't even include in my presentation? And how do I go about creating this content? So starting out with some goals is a great way to get you started with this. And I want to share with you my presentation goals that have helped me create school visit presentations over the years. One thing you definitely want to aim to do is inspire and entertain and definitely share your love storytelling with these young readers. Share your author journey because all of these are ways that you can connect deeper with the students because you might find, like I have found, that many of these young students have never met an author before. So this could be the first time that they're putting a human face to an author. And another thing that you can do is also make connections to the classroom, which will talk about a little bit further down the road. And finally, you might want to consider demystifying the writing process. Now, in the many dozens and dozens of school visits that I have done over the years, I think, countered some students who have told me outright that they just don't like writing. And as I got to know them during the school visit, I discovered it wasn't that they didn't like writing. It was that they did not understand writing, so they didn't understand the structure. They didn't understand the creative process. So these are all things that you can get across in your presentation by sharing your love of storytelling, sharing your author journey, putting that human face to an author making connections to the classroom. 3. SchoolVisitsCommonCore: I have just mentioned about ways that you can create a connection in the classroom, through your book and through writing. And one way you could look at doing this is to look at how your book can fit into the common core standards and understand what these standards are Now. The common core standards are standards for math and language arts that are being taught in the classroom in over 40 states in the United States of America. However, even if your state does not follow the common core standards or your country doesn't follow them, either. This is still really good research for you to dio to make classroom connections with educators and with students as well. Visit core standards dot org's to find out all about these common core standards and how language arts is being used in the classroom can really give you ideas on how to make your own connections in the classroom to get a little more in depth about what these common core standards are here. These are a clear set of shared goals and expectations in the classroom, giving students and knowledge and skills they need in language arts because this will help them stress critical thinking, problem solving and also analytical skills. All skills that will help them have success in college and career and a life when it comes to researching the common core standards. It's a good idea to ask yourself a couple of questions that can help drag content on how you could make those connections in the classroom. So ask yourself, How does your book align with the core and how can your book be used in class? I'll give you a couple examples of current common core standards that might give you an idea of how your book could be used in the classroom. So one standard is to recount stories including fables, folktales and myths from diverse cultures, and determining the central message, lesson or moral from these stories and explaining how it is conveyed through key details in the text. So if your book includes Babel's folk tales or myths, this might be a great standard that you can use to create a connection in the classroom. Another course, standard example, might be described characters in a story such as their traits, motivations or feelings, and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events. This is something that could be used across any sort of story. It's a pretty general standard to work on. Another standard might be, too. Refer to parts of stories, dramas and poems when writing or speaking about a text using terms such as chapter, scene and stanza and describing how each successive part builds on earlier sections again something that you could use as a connection with your book in the classroom. So again, I highly recommend reviewing the common core standards, even if your country or state does not using in the classroom. And you want to think of yourself as a partner with educators to show writing as a skill we can all use researching the common core again, we'll give you ideas and how to make those connections with your book to the classroom so educators will want to use it in their teaching, and this also inspire them toe. Want to bring you in as a visiting author 4. SchoolVisitsDevelopContent: now that you have some presentation goals and know a bit about the common core standards to do more research and make those classroom connections in your school visit, it really comes down to developing information. And when it comes to creating content for your visit, one way that you can start out with this is to focus on a struggle so this struggle can be your struggle. Perhaps your author journey your struggle to get published. It could also be about the struggle of your characters that they go through in your story. Or it could be the struggle of subjects that you write about. So, for example, I share with students and my visit how I spent two years querying agents trying to get an agent to get published. And before I did get an agent, I got so many rejection letters, and so I share with them snippets of those rejection letters that was part of my struggle in my author journey. I also share with them the struggle of being an adopted child and how that really transformed my world and my growing up and how it affected me. And then I also share the struggle of revision. This is something that I have to do with my editor in getting published, and I talk about how many revisions it takes to get a book published. This is a great way to also make connections in the classroom because older students are doing these revisions in their classes. They're writing essays. They're doing stories, and often times they might think that first draft is perfect and they don't need to make any changes. We know that's absolutely not true. So they may get there s air story back with marks on the page that says Great first draft. But you need to work a little bit on your grammar and your dialogue, and you're beginning in your middle in your end. And so I connect with them to I put that human face to an author and connect with them to show them that, Hey, you do revisions. I still have to do revisions to as a grown up author. Another way to come up with content in new presentation is to think about using humor. We all love to laugh. Kids especially love to laugh. Think about some anecdotes or funny stories that you could include maybe things along your author journey. Also think about ways that you could involve the students to engage with them, So maybe it's asking them questions during your school visit and engaging with them that way. Or perhaps you include something theatrical like a skit like I dio if the end of my presentation I, Tyus, get into things that I talked about related to writing in my presentation, and I have to Students come up. We have a really fun theatrical skit, but I also make sure to engage the audience so they don't feel left out. So perhaps I give them something they can do. They clap it a certain word or they cheer on our characters. So thinking about using humor and student involvement in your presentation can help inspire you to come up with more content. So when it comes to creating content for your presentation, a really fun way to do this is to have a brainstorm session with yourself. Ask yourself a series of questions that could inspire content. For example, how can kids qualify to be an author? This is something that I use in my presentation, and I actually tell the kids, I say, Hey, all of you are more qualified to me to be an author. Nod your heads. Yes, some of them neither heads, but they look confused because they don't believe it. But then I tell them why? Because I believe that their imagination and their creativity is all brand and sparkly. New. It's not bogged down by my old grown A brain is with things like grocery lists and paying bills and doing taxes and all that icky stuff. I tell them I have to work really hard at being creative, and they don't so they are so super lucky. That's why they're more qualified than me to be an author. Other questions you can ask yourself, How can you encourage kids to unplug and read? How did you become a better storyteller? How convey how could in real life material feed into fiction? So one example is I share with them how I took a lot of my own personal life and fictionalized it in my first middle grade novel, Joshua and the Lighting Road. In the story, Joshua is an only child like me. Joshua doesn't know who all his family is like. I didn't growing up because I was adopted. And Joshua also doesn't feel like he belongs, which I didn't growing up because nobody else in my family was adopted. None of my friends were, so I really felt like I didn't fit in sometimes. So that's an example of how real life can feed into fiction. Ask yourself what events or topics are in your book that you can discuss. For example, if your book is about friendship, ask them what makes up a good friend. What do you consider a good friend? This is a great way to engage with the students. How do you generate story ideas? How can they? I talk about generating story ideas in my school visits and how it's totally okay to mix up things from culture to borrow from history. For example, they could take a medieval knight and throw him in the Amazon rain forest and see what kind of story they come up with. I let them know it's OK to bar from history, because authors do this all the time. Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordon That's a perfect example. Using Greek mythology in story, I used Greek mythology and my story Joshua and the Lighting Road. When I do writing exercises in the classroom, I also have the students pick out a random character and it's setting. And then I give them a certain amount of time to come up with a story idea or start writing a story. And it's usually Superfund because they always get really amazing combinations like, ah, pilot in a dungeon. And so they have to think outside the box and be really creative with that. And it's a super fun way to generate story ideas. I also talk about brainstorming and the power of brainstorming to come up with story ideas . We're still focusing on content here because, as you've guessed it, this is going to be a big part of your presentation. Other ways to come up with content are to think about funny tales of your childhood that you could include, and I'll give you two examples. So I share with students how when I was young, I was afraid of my nose for very good reason, because I had thes cereal nightmares about giant rubber bands coming out of my nose, and I would pull on them and pull on them and pull on them until I realized I was unraveling my brain. So for a really long time, I was afraid of my nose, and I didn't blow my nose for many years, which I know is disgusting. But this is a story I share with students that they think it's hilarious. I also share another story with them how at the same time, when I was younger, I was afraid of my belly button for another very good reason, because I was afraid if my belly button got poked, it would come untied and all my guts would spell out, which totally makes sense. Then I share with him how I came up with a solution to that. I weren't Band Aid over my belly button for a long time, and then it was protected. So these are two examples of funny tales I share with students. You can certainly come up with your own. I'm sure you have plenty of them, hopefully from your childhood. Other content you can share. What were your early writing days like I share with students How I remember the first thing I wrote was a murder mystery screenplay, and I had the neighborhood kids acted out. That was super fun. You can also share with them what you're writing. Life is like now. For example, here are some pictures I share with the students in my presentation. I talk about having grown up in England for a few years and wearing my very posh, fancy British uniform. They're going to school. It's where I fell in love with reading the line, which in the war job was my first book that I fell in love with. And that's really what inspired me to become a writer. I share with them how I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder so much so. The little house Siris was one of my favorite Siri's to read, and my mom even sewed me a prairie outfit. Dress, as you can see here, used to weird all the time I share how the Tooth Fairy used to bring me books, especially by my favorite author at the time, rolled all and I saved all of those folks. And here my son Joshua is reading one of them Fantastic. Mr Fox, another way to drum up content is to think about what excites you about writing. What is it about being storyteller that is so amazing, how we can take something in our minds and create something creative product, create a story that affects people. Maybe you could talk about how it's so important to be a storyteller, and this is a rule that we need in our world to pass stories down and also how people and kids can read stories that help us understand ourselves better help us feel like we belong that we fit into the world. These are just some examples about what could excite you about writing things that excite me as well. Another way to come up with content ideas for your visit is to share some of your early writing. My mother certainly saved everything that I ever wrote, so I'm lucky that I have that in a box. So here are two examples that I share my school visit. I share my journal entry from English class way back in 1980 when I was 11 and I talk about how I want to learn more about punctuation and more vocabulary words and how to write with more action and thought, and I tell the students I still want to do this now as a grown up author. So even as a young author, I had a set goals in my writing. As a grown up author, I still have to set goals because if I have a book due in six months to my publisher, I know I need to write so many words a day in order to get that done. I also share with them some of my early stories. Here we have the Bucklebury, France. Apparently I thought I was an illustrator as well. So that's really something super fun to share with students and also make a connection with them because many of them might be writers now as well. And they're young authors trying to get published like I once waas So we're still brainstorming here, coming up with content for your presentation you can share with the students. How did you get started in writing? I fell in love with reading First knew that I wanted to become a writer. And the first book I remember falling in love with again was the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I. C. S Lewis and I wrote that murder mystery screenplay that I had the neighborhood kids act out , you can share what you consider the three keys to telling a story. So in my school visit, I talk about what I consider the three case telling story character, action and setting and how we can aim to get that in every scene of her story, that we right to make our story that much stronger and that much more dynamic than I read a scene for my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road and I have the students pick out the character, action and setting that's going on in that scene. And then I even tied us into a writing exercise. If I'm doing a classroom visit or also tight into the skit that I do at the end of my presentation, you always want to think visually when it comes to creating content for your presentation, for example, I share pictures of being in the Navy. I talk about that something as mundane as my research bookshelf in my office is a great picture to include in my presentation, because this is giving students and insight into my office into my writer space. I also talk about how my son Joshua was the inspiration for my first Siri's Joshua and the Lightning Road, and I share pictures of myself with him. Think for yourself about what pictures you can add into your presentation. Pull out those old tubs, those old photo albums, whatever you might have and have a lot of fun going through them and seeing what you could include in your presentation that would really connect with students and engage with them. So again, with more pictures that you can add into your presentation, here are just a couple more examples that I include in mind. I talk with students about how Anne Frank was a big inspiration for me when I was a young girl, and sometimes they might not know who in Frank is. So I talked about how she was hidden away in an attic during World War Two and tried to survive. Sadly, we know, and Frank didn't survive, but her diary did, and her her diary had this power to really affect the world, and she was an inspiration for me to find the power of my own voice through writing. And so I started writing my own diaries of my own journals and your pictures of some of them again. Easy, simple picture that I included my presentation that really appeals to the kids. And then I share a picture of the map of the world in my story, Joshua and the Lightning Road. And I drew this map in order to really be able to see my story that much more visually on the page and also to help me see work where characters are going in the story to to make sure it makes all make sense logistically. And this is something that students could do as well. That's Superfund draw a map of their story. Even if their story only happens in their house, they can draw their house. How many floors does it have? Is have an addict. Does it have a backyard? Where the windows in the house. Where does the light come in? Where does the sun set? All of these things can help us see our story that much better and enrich it on the page. 5. SchoolVisitsOrganizeContent: We just talked about developing your content. Now what to do with that content? You want to organize it. I suggest choosing 1 to 2 topics and outlining those topics. Perhaps pick one or two of your starter questions that we went over something you feel strongly about an outline what you could share with the class. This could be about the storytelling process, using the five senses in writing or maybe even your author journey. You also might want to consider some research, especially if you think you need to expand or narrow your topics. And another way to organize your content and connect with the students is to include personal anecdotes, real life examples or even personal stories. And choosing related activities is another great way to organize your content and engage with students. Think about activities you can do with the students that would relate to your subject. So, for example, in my classroom sessions, I include a brainstorm writing exercise where I have the students choose or random character and a random setting, and they have 10 minutes to generate a story idea or even start writing that story. And usually it's super fun because they always get crazy examples that they have to use, such as, ah, pilot in a dungeon. So they have to really think outside the box and use their imagination. So, in addition to brainstorming, you could also think about maybe doing an outlining exercise or reading a scene from your book, and we're leading it to the process of storytelling. Maybe have students act out a story or improvise a skit with your guidance. You could also include a question and answer session. These are all things that I use in my school visits, and this is a great way to organize your content so that you can connect with the kids and also engage with them on a deeper level. When it comes to organizing content in your school visit presentation, you want to think visually, So think about what kind of visuals you can show during your talk. This could be included in a Power Point presentation with photos or video. You could include personal pictures such as you as a kid in your writing office now places you right. Maybe your messy desk rejection letters, your research book shells you're editing process, travel research or stages of book production. In addition, you could also use a whiteboard or flip pad activity to have some kind of visual element. You could even include props in your school visit. Thes could be objects that inspired you to write, or maybe real life objects that have become part of your story when it comes to organizing your content. Visually, you might want to consider using animated GIFs enemy that gives could be super fun to add into your talk. They could be a supplement to the content that you're talking about, while also adding a humorous element. Here are examples of gifts that I have created. I simply went to giffey dot com, create a free account that uploaded photos and created my own animated GIFs, adding in text, I highly recommend using photos or video that don't have any licensing restrictions meeting you can use them for commercial use. Modify them anyway that you want, and you also don't have to give credit to the creator of the photos or the video. So adding enemy gifts to your school visit presentation are certainly not necessary. But they really do at a fun element to your talk, and I can tell you from experience that they really help you engage with students 6. SchoolVisitsEngagement: Let's talk about going the extra mile when it comes to engaging with your young audience. Presenting two kids you will find out is very much like stage performing beef. Theatrical BB tried taking an acting or improvisational class to help you out. Do you know an actor or presenter who could also help you out with this? They might be a great person to go to, to get tips on how to be more engaging with your audience. Also, try using the power three to tell a story or create a story. For example, in my school visits, I talk about the three nuggets of storytelling, character setting in action and how we can aim to use those in every scene. Our story. And then I read a scene for my book, Joshua in the Lightning Road, and we talk about the character setting an action in that scene, and then I have them act out of skit with a character setting and action. So it's all blended together. Think of activities in your presentation I had mentioned earlier where I do a brainstorm activity where I have the students choose a random setting and a random character and they generate a story idea. This is a perfect example of providing activities to continue in the classroom, because in your visit they can generate that story idea. Then go back to class or go home and write that story. When it comes to engaging with your students, think about injecting your talk with questions for the kids to engage with as you go along . For example, if your book is about running away, ask the kids. What would you pack if you plan to run away? Or maybe who has lived in war the one place like me or who likes to re read their favorite books? And then you can share your favorite books, too. Another fun way that you can engage with the students right from the start is to greet them at the door when they come into the classroom or the auditorium, and I highly recommend when you do your visit to be on floor level with them, this will create a deeper connection with you and the audience versus being up on a stage, and it also mentions earlier. But another way to engage with your students on a deeper level is to use those personal stories from your own childhood to connect. Find what is universal in your book to connect with these kids. It could be about family or friendship or grief or loss because, guaranteed, these young students are going through some part of this and their life right now. And if you have volunteers that come up on the stage, be sure to also engage the audience. Let the audience know that they are just as important as the actors. Maybe they can cheer or direct the actors. Maybe have a kid shot out of fun or engaging expression during the show at certain points. Another way to be engaging with your young audience is to dress in colorful clothes where your school visit. Maybe you have a favorite scarf that has books all over it. This is a great talking point and can open up a discussion with students. And finally, when it comes to going the extra mile to engaging with your young audience, here is what I have learned. You can expect just about anything because kids really can ask about darndest things. They can even do the darndest thing. So I recommend writing up a list of anticipated questions and create stock answers to those questions. If you aren't sure what students might ask, maybe reach out to a teacher, friend or librarian friends, because guarantee they will have had author visits come in and know the questions that those students may ask. If you engage the students in a skit or exercise in your visit, be sure to give them simple and clear instructions. This is very important, especially if you have younger students. Maybe you have them get up and jump up and say some words. Shout out some phrases. Maybe you could give them some simple instructions, like Be sure to respect everyone's space. Don't bump into anyone else. So giving a student's clear in simple instructions will help you guide them and how they can act appropriately and also have fun during your school visit. 7. SchoolVisitsTiming: when it comes to creating your school visit presentation. Timing is going to be very important, especially based on grade level. Now, if you're talking to kindergartners, you want to keep your school visit to 30 minutes and definitely get them moving because these young readers have wiggly little bodies, so be sure to get them moving and give them those clear instructions, such as respecting each other space. Maybe you could ask them how to writers get ideas and talk about how writers use their eyes and ears, Brain and imagination, maybe even use body language to get this point across. With first and second grade, you can go a little bit longer up to 45 minutes. Include a Q and A session. Maybe talk about your childhood. Some stories there. Read a scene from your book. In my school visits, I asked the students, What do you think writers are? And then I talk about how I think writers are so many things where readers, observers, listeners, Mr Solvers, answer seekers and were very curious. Maybe you could ask them, Could you be a writer, too? When you start getting up into the higher grades like third to fifth grade. You can definitely go up to an hour. Talk about those revisions. Maybe ask them. Has your teacher ever Canady back a story or an essay? That was your first draft with lots of corrections on the page. And you thought, Oh, no, my story is perfect. Well, as a grown up author, I tell them I have to do revisions as well, and I work with my editor to do that to make the story that much better. You could maybe share how you tackle your revisions, how it could be a challenge for you. Share some of your early writing with these students were getting a little more serious topics, such as your failures along the publishing path. Maybe talk about some really tough revisions that you've had and definitely share those photos of you as a kid and early childhood stories for sixth grade and up. You can definitely go up to an hour, and if you're going to include a serious topics in your visit, trying to add a humorous element to it, look at those universal topics in your book that you could talk about, such as friendship, parents, family, maybe not fitting in. This is a great way to engage with the familiar with the students a good tip, no matter what grade level you're talking. Teoh, is it? Do some research on childhood development to understand what the students are going through at this time in their life. When it comes to timing your school visit presentation, keeping on target is going to be very important. So you want to practice your timing beforehand and include 5 to 10 minutes of time for Q and A at the end. A good tip is to find out the classroom or the schools. Quiet sign. Because if those students start getting rowdy and rambunctious and noisy, it's a good time for you to stop talking and use that quiet sign to calm them down. Whatever you dio, be patient. Listen to the students, but move along so that your timing stays on target. A good way to do this is to use those stock answers that we talked about earlier to deflect students questions and keep yourself moving along. For example, one question that I often get in my visits is how much money do you make? Isn't author, so I have my stock. Answer ready, I say, Here, see my book? It costs $15. But then a portion has to go to the illustrator and the publisher and my agent and then also me. So it all depends. You might get asked, what was your inspiration for writing your book? Or how long did it take you to write your book? Another question I often get is, How old are you? So my stock answer that I had waas four decades and 3/4 and then the students really had to think about that. And by the time they figure it out, I've already moved on to another question. Whatever you're sharing with the students, be sure to put a positive spin on your word choice. So, for example, if you're referencing something in your school visit, don't reference it as stupid, but used the word silly instead. So these tips should help you stay on target when it comes to interacting in the best way you can, based on grade level and also keeping within the time frame of your school visit 8. SchoolVisitsPrepare InfoToSend&Questions: Once you coordinate a school visit, there is information that you will want to send over to the librarian or teacher who is coordinating the visit. This could include your book information, pre order forms, your biography and your school program, and in the next section will get a little more into book information and pre border forms that you can send over as well. You'll want to share how the students and the school can also benefit from your visit. Maybe they'll learn a new writing technique. Or perhaps you'll connect your visit to part of the common core curriculum that we talked about earlier. If you're considering doing a letter of agreement or contract for your school visit, you can check out school. Visit experts dot com. They have free templates there. If you're a member of SCB W I. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, you can also access free templates through their website. Having a letter of agreement or contract for your school visit is not a necessity. Some schools may require it, and you might want to do this yourself. But honestly, nine times out of 10 I have not done a letter of agreement or contract. It's just been a mutual agreement through email before your school visit day. There are definitely a lot of questions that you want to ask the librarian or teacher who is coordinating your visit. If you have any special equipment or items that you need, this is a good time to ask. Do you need a microphone? Do you need a certain compatible connection with a computer? Perhaps you need a table to put your props on. Also, it's a good idea to ask if they have a technology representative to help you. When you arrive at this school in case you have any technical difficulties, it's also a good idea to know how early you could arrive to set up. I like to arrive an hour before my school visit. This gives me plenty of time to set up with my props and also test out my technology. Really good question is to ask that librarian or teacher how they could extend your book in the school, perhaps the read part of your book before the school visit and create discussion questions , or maybe even write down questions for you, The author ahead of time Many Liberians know how to prepare kids for an author visit, but it's always a good idea to ask. Okay, this may be a really simple question, but knowing where to park will definitely help alleviate your anxiety going to the school visit, especially with the school that you have not been to before. If you're thinking about taking photos during your school visit, you'll definitely want to ask about photo permissions. Some schools have a contract where the family sign allowing photos to be taken, other students for promotional purposes and some families sign off that they don't want photos taken. This is something you'll want to check into with the school ahead of time. It's always a good idea to try to get photos of your school visit, because you can use these for promotional purposes on your website or in your program. One way around. This is to offer to take pictures, but also blew up the faces of the students. I have done this several times, and I was allowed to take pictures and use them for promotional purposes. A really important question is to ask about selling your book through pre orders or on site when you're there. The date of the school visit now. So schools I have found are not allowed to sell books on property. So you want to make sure that you have a bookseller who could do pre orders for you. Or make sure that you have your own inventory of books that you can sell to the school through pre orders. Ask the teacher or librarian if they can also help out with a presentation. This is a good way to ensure that an adult will be staying in the room or auditory with you during your school visit. Unfortunately, I've had several school visits where teachers think that this is their own hour of free time and they disappear, leaving me in charge of the students. You definitely do not want this to happen. It's always a good idea to have an adult representative from the school in the classroom or auditorium with you. And finally ask if you need any clearances to come to the school to do a school visit. Some schools don't require it as long as you are not alone with the Children during your visit, and others might need clearances, so this is something that you'll need to research according to the state or country that you live in. And here's a hot tip. I want you to keep in mind before you book the date of your school visit. Asked that school if it's the same day or week as a Scholastic book fair because you definitely do not want to schedule your school. Visit Doria Scholastic Book Fair. This will be a huge competition for you and could really, really reduce the sales of your books. 9. SchoolVisitsPrepare Technology: We've talked about developing and organizing content for your school visit as well as the timing of your presentation. Melons talk about preparing for your visits because there are so many components to this and I want to jump into technology here. It's the one thing that could give authors the most anxiety about preparing for school visits. So if you're using any kind of technology in your program, for example, a Power Point presentation, it's a good idea to confirm with the school what technology they have available. Do they have their own laptop? Do they have a smart board or screen? If you have audio, do they have speakers? And I highly suggest having a backup of your presentation online, maybe on Google docks or another platform. I'm telling you from experience. I have had to access this online in order to do my school visit when other things were not working in the classroom or the auditorium. And if you're doing a Skype visit, it's a really good idea to contact that librarian or teacher and do a pre visit run through before the day of your visit. This will smooth out any technical difficulties before your visit. I highly recommend also bringing multiple files of your presentation on a flash drive. Bring your own laptop as well and again from experience. I have had to access my presentation. All of these ways I'm sharing with you online, using a flash drive and also using my own laptop and finally have a backup talk or exercise . You never know if technology will fail you and you will not be able to use that component of your school visit. I've been in school visits where we could not get my power point presentation to work right away. I always have other exercises or talks that I do in my visit that I could jump Teoh. I have a writing exercise. I have a brainstorm exercise that I could do in an auditorium visit. I also do a reading and a skit. There have been many times where I've had to jump around to different parts of my program, such as going to the reading or this skit, or even doing the brainstorm or writing session. Luckily, we were always able to get the power point to work, so I came back to that. In the end, it's just a really good idea to have back up talks and exercises as well as being flexible in your program 10. SchoolVisitsPrepare PreOrders: when it comes to preparing for your school visit, One of the most important things you will dio is coordinate pre order sales of your books so you can establish a partnership with a local bookstore to coordinate the pre orders. Or you can also sell from your own inventory. I know some authors who also worked directly with their publisher to coordinate pre order sales of books for school visits. You'll want to give a discount on your book to the students as well. This will make them feel special about you coming to visit with them and also inspire them to order your book. And you want to create a book tip sheet or one page brochure about your book and a pre order form, and I recommend sending the school your pre order form and brochure eight weeks prior to your school visit. This is a good idea because the school will need time to likely print out that mortar form and brochure and send it home with the students six weeks prior to your school visit, and then you want that order form returned from the student 2 to 3 weeks prior to your visit so you can see you need to pad in some time here with preorders before your school visit. Because if you are ordering books, if you need inventory or if the bookstore needs to order books for your visit, they need a good two weeks in order to get those books in. Here are examples of my pre order form and one of my book tip sheets or brochure. So in my pre order form here, I have thumbnails of my books in my middle grade. Siri's and I also offer a 20% discount to the students. As you can see here at the bottom, I have a form where the students can order one or multiple copies of the books, and if they also want those books signed to someone, they can include a name here and finally the bottom I include to date sections. One would be a date for the student to return the form to the school, and the other day it would be a date for the school to collect all the forms and the money and send a check to the bookstore that I coordinate my school visits with and with my book tip sheet or brochure. It's really a very simple one page brochure. I include a summary of the book, the biography of me to introduce myself to the students. I also include a couple of blurbs about the book and then some more of the book information . So this pre order form and your book brochure these are the two sales tools that would be going home with students to inspire them to want to buy your book. 11. SchoolVisitsPrepare ExtraMile: Let's talk about some extra mile tips that you can use to help you have a successful presentation. First off, before you even have your first school visit, I highly recommend attending other author visits, if you can. If you know any other authors who are doing presentations, see if you can get permission from them and from the school to attend. This will give you a great idea about how authors can engage and interact with young readers. You could attend author festivals. This is another place where authors could be doing presentations to young readers or parents or teachers or librarians as well. And finally, attending local bookstore events with Children's authors in your area is another good way to see how authors are engaging with their young readers because oftentimes they might do a presentation or a reading or even some kind of activity with the kids. So all of these events are good opportunities for you to observe authors and pick up tips that you might want to use in your own presentation. After your school visit. Be sure to send a thank you to that librarian or teacher who helped you coordinate the visit and in that thank you email. Be sure also to ask for a testimonial. Ask them. Would you mind providing a few brief words about what you enjoyed about my school visit? These are great testimonials that you can compile to include on your website or in your program. Pro. Sure, Also in the email, asked that librarian or teacher to subscribe to your author news. This is a great opportunity to keep in contact with them. For when you have future books out, here are some more extra mile tips You might be considering creating a teacher guide for your book. And if you're not sure what a teacher guide is, this is really just a guide that teachers and librarians can download that will give them discussion questions about your book that they could use in the classroom, or even writing exercises that they could use in the classroom related to your book. If you're not sure how to create a teacher guide, there are some ways that you can go about doing this. First off, some publishers do actually create a teacher guide for their authors, but if you don't have that, you could look to outsources there are companies that you can pay to create a teacher guide on your book. They can be quite pricey, though another avenue is. If you know any early childhood graduate students, you could ask them to create a teacher guide for you from your book and pay them a small fee. Having a teacher guide is another good sales tool for you to have. You could include it on your website in your school visit section, and the teacher or librarian could download it and use it as a discussion for your book before your school visit. This guide will also be an inspiration for them to teach your book in the classroom. Are you multi talented? Then you are super lucky. If you can sing, play music or do magic tricks or make balloon animals, you definitely need to add this into your presentation. I wish I could do any of those because this will really help you engage with the students more. It can add a humorous elements. Ah, much more dynamic element to your presentation. And be sure to do research on child development for the age groups that you'll be presenting to again. I mentioned this earlier. But this will give you a really good idea about how to guide your school visit presentation , how to interact with these young students on their level. It will also help you guide the content for your school, visit presentation and create interactive exercises. 12. SchoolVisitsGettingtheGigs: At this point, we spent a lot of time talking about how to prepare for your school visit. Now it's time to actually go and get those gigs. Book those school visit. First thing you want to do is start to do some research, and I'm going to talk about two ways that you can build lists that you can do promotion to for your school visits, regarding setting them to librarians or principles, or even teachers and also media specialists at different schools. So one way we'll talk about is a freeway that you can build that list and do a promotional campaign. And then the second we will talk about is a paid avenue and the point of building a list of contacts of school librarians and media specialists for schools that you would like to do school visits at so that you can do promotional email or a promotional direct mail campaign to them. So the first away for free that you can create your school library list or media specialist . Sometimes they're not called librarians. They might be called Media Specialist is to decide how far you want to travel to do your school visits so look at that radius and then look up schools online that are within that radius. Then drill down through the website through the staff to find that school librarian or immediate specialist and create a spreadsheet with the school. Name the library in our media specialist name, their email, their phone number, their address. And then you can choose if you want to do an email campaign, which would be for free or a direct mail campaign with a postcard, which will talk about a little bit later. And here's a hot tip. If you do an email promotional campaign, you'll want to send your school visit program to that library in our media specialist so they can see what kind of program that you can do in the classroom or the auditorium. However, you don't want to include it as an attachment, like a word document or a Pdf. Be sure that you add this program to your website under your school visit tab and just include the link to it in your email so they can easily click on that and then download it from your website. Of course, one of the best ways to create your list is to start with who you know. Do you know any school Liberians, or do you know people who know those school librarians starting with who you know is a great spot Now, if you have Children that are in elementary, middle or high school, where you would like to do your school visits? This is also a good place to start to reach out to those librarians and media specialists. It's also a good opportunity for you to try out you work school, visit presentations and perhaps offer them for free so that you can get some practice. I also recommend creating a public library lift. So look at the libraries in your area and create a spreadsheet of contacts for them as well . They always love to have visiting authors come in now. They might not pay you for your program that you dio. However, They usually let you sell books, so that's always a plus, and you're making a great connection with libraries in your area, and they might actually buy your book and place it in their library. Another opportunity to research is to contact schools to see if they have any young writer programs in the area on what I mean by this is there might be a program where a coordinator invites local authors to come into schools and do presentations. I was part of one of these programs for quite some time, and they coordinated 12 school visits a year. Each year we would go back to the same 12 schools and we would rotate around different classroom so we would go in the morning. They would give us breakfast, which was nice, and then we would do to three classroom visits back to back, and then they would also give us lunch afterwards. And we would also get paid for presenting our program with the program I was in. We were not allowed to sell books of the schools, but it was still nice to get paid and also network with other local authors. So it's a good idea to check with local schools in your area to see if they have such a program in place. Now, I have just talked about the freeway that she could build an email list or direct mail campaign to librarians and media specialists at schools in your area. Let's talk about the paid way that you could do this. You can purchase a list of names of librarians and media specialists along with their address is so that you can do a direct mail campaign to them. This takes off a lot of time from your plate without doing all that legwork for looking up schools. When you can purchase a list when you purchase a list is generally a one time use list, so you are allowed to do one mailing to that list. And they do have parameters, a place that they can source out people who are using the list. Multiple times I purchase a list, and it was approximately $150 for 800 names. The great thing was that I got to search the list with my own parameter so I could search by grade by title by topics being taught by ZIP, code state and etcetera. It really took off hours of time from building my own list. As you can see, while buying a list and doing a direct mail campaign can be expensive, it could also pay for itself with booking just to school visits from it, and in doing a direct mail campaign to a list like this. You'll want to design, print and mail postcards, and I'll share more information on how to do this in just a moment. Here's a hot tip for when you do a direct mail campaign. You want to make sure the postcards get delivered on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday because, generally speaking, teachers can take Fridays off, and then when they come in on the Monday, they might have a lot of mail that they have to go through. And your postcard just might get lost in that shuffle. I also recommend doing to mailings a year if you do this. So, for example, I got my list of 800 names and I did a mailing to 400 people in October and another mailing to the other 400 in January because September's air really busy month schools or just going back in session, and then January's a nice time after the holidays. Oftentimes, thes teachers and librarians have budgets that they need to use up for the rest of the year , so it's a good time to get in there to do a school visit. So if you're looking to purchase a list, such as I did when I first started out doing school visits. You can go to school data list dot com, and that's where you can purchase one of these market data retrieval lists. There may be other school data list that you can purchase from different platforms, so feel free to search for them as well. We just talked about how to create a list of Liberians in media specialist to do a direct mail campaign or email campaign to now. If you do decide to do a direct mail campaign, you'll want to create a postcard design. And here's the front of my postcard. Make sure that it's big and visually appealing. My postcard is a five by seven, and as you can see, it's pretty colorful here, so the colors pop and hopefully it won't get lost in that mail shuffle. You want to meal it first class, so that gets delivered on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday and looked to create a tagline for your postcard so you can see here I have below inspire their imagination with an author visit, motivate, educate, captivate, so create your own tagline that will really pop out to Liberians Immediate specialists, if you have any awards, definitely include those or any blurbs on the card. I have blurbs on the back of my postcard, so there's many places online where you can get a postcard designed. I did mine at print place dot com. He could also go to this to print or research other areas on your own, so this would be another expense when you're doing a direct mailing, if you would also to purchase a list and this cost me a couple $100 so definitely source it out and see where the best place is to get the best value for your money. We're still talking about how to get those gigs, and one way to do this is to look at different associations. I recommend attending author Alley events. These could be with state or national school library associations. I have been to both Feet New Jersey and Pennsylvania School Library Association author Alley events, and they were really wonderful events at the time. They did not cost anything for me to attend. I was able to sell my books. I was able to network with librarians and other teachers. It was really a wonderful experience. You can also submit to present at thes association conferences as well. So again, do your research and look up those state and national school library associations to see if they're having annual conferences and if they have author alleys. In addition to selling books and networking at these events, I recommend also giving away a school visit at your booth. Librarians Love Author Visit So it was a huge draw for me to do a giveaway of a school visit at my booth. They had to enter their email address and name in order to enter, and often times they also bought one of my books. And here's a tip if you're going to give away a school visit, especially if you're just starting out with your school visits and this is exactly what I did. I actually gave away quite a few school visits that were local to my area, where I didn't have to travel too far and the other schools that were a little bit further away, I actually offered them a free Skype visit. This worked out really well because I did Skype visits with these other schools, and we also coordinated book orders so that I was able to make some book sales from those visits. Plus, it was a good opportunity to get librarians on my email list. When it comes to getting those school visit gigs, I want to talk about some extra ways that you can go about two. You promote them. Some schools are really great promoting their author visits to parents and the students, but it can't hurt to ask them if they can promote your school visit in their newsletter. They often have a newsletter, or they could promote it on their school website. This will definitely get you more attention. So the students will be more excited about your visit and ask their parents if they could order your book. And now is that you do school visits on social media. You never know when somebody you're connected with might be a librarian or know somebody who's a librarian. And definitely contact your teacher friends because hopefully they'll have connections with the Liberians in their schools. Another great way to pick up additional school visits is to get references when you're at a school visit. Asked that librarian or that media specialist, Do you have any other referrals that you could give to me so that I could reach out to about doing a school visit. If you do design a postcard, a great tip is to add that postcard two books that you might sell it. Educator events such as those library in association events with the author alleys that I just mentioned. This will be a good reminder for them that you do school visits when they get back home, stop in your local bookstore and see if they have a school visit program in place. They already have relationships with schools in the area that you could network with, and be sure to talk with your local library about doing a school visit program. This is another avenue that I have not pursued, but I know many office who have research speaker bureaus. Many of them work with authors to do author visit programmes. And, of course, we just talked about designing a postcard in doing a postcard mailing. And this is something you definitely can do even if you do not purchase a list. If you build a list on your own. And here's a really hot tip. If you're doing a book launch for your book in the area at a local bookstore or maybe another venue. Invite local librarians to that book lot and let them know that you're doing a school visit giveaway. You can go even further and see if you can get your book launch promoted in local schools. Many schools have an E newsletter that goes out once a week so you can go on the school's website. Look at the staff. Often this might be actually under the parent teacher organization. There might be somebody who's in charge of the E newsletter that goes out, So email them with your book launch information, let them know why it might be a value for the students to attend or the librarians at the school and see if you can get it posted in that school newsletter. 13. SchoolVisitsFeesInsuranceContracts: We've talked about preparing for your school visits and also how to go about getting those gigs. Now let's talk a little bit about fees, insurance and contracts. When you're first starting out getting school visits, I do recommend giving some away for free. This is a great opportunity for you to get practice with your program. Also polish it and feel more confident about presenting it. Once you do start charging for your school visits, I recommend not charging less than $200 for one session. There's a saying that I've heard from other authors who do visits. The more you charge, the better you'll be treated so you don't want to underprice yourself. You can have different fees for the number of sessions that you offer, so you could have a single session fee than 1/2 day fee. Were you D two sessions and a full day fee where you offer for sessions? I recommend not doing more than four sessions today because, frankly, that's exhausting. And be sure to offer discounts when you do multiple sessions and be negotiable with the schools. Ask them what their budget is if they say they can't afford it, let them know. Please come to me with a budget in mind. You can't give free visits away every year, and I do especially to schools in need. Now. If a school can't afford your program fee, then you could offer that they purchase a minimum amount of books to help cover the cost of your program. Whatever you charge, always say you're negotiable. So when you come down in price, then you look like a hero. I suggest charging a flat fee with no extra expenses. This way, the school won't be surprised with any additional costs. And so if you know that you're traveling and you're going to need to stay overnight for school, visit, then add that into the school visit fee when you offered up front. Generally you get paid on the day of event by a check, and sometimes you might have to submit a W nine for tax purposes. That is, if you live in the United States, you can check out my school visit program at donna go auntie dot com. Just go to my school visit tab. You can see what I offer in my program, as well as photos and testimonials We had talked about doing a contract for your school visits a little bit earlier, so let's dive into that just a little bit more again. You can search online for a standard contract that this is something you want to offer with your school visit program. I had mentioned it before, and also, if you're an SCB W. I remember the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. You can also get free templates for your school visit contract. And here are some items that you might want to think about, including in your contract. The event date the fear. Charging the number of sessions you're doing, your grades and audience sizes. Adding an a cancellation and reschedule clause is also a good idea and equipment required. Also information on book orders and sales of your books. And then I highly recommend adding, in a non recording agreement, you don't want schools recording your school visit and putting it up on YouTube or on their school website, because this is your intellectual property that you don't want to give away for free. An extra tip is that you can add in a performance agreement that puts in the contract where teachers must be active participants in your program. This is a good thing to add in so they don't leave you alone with the students. Your contract. It also include photo permissions that we had talked about earlier. And just as an aside, when it comes to your book, pre orders and book sales, you'll want to mention who the bookseller will be, whether that will be through you with your own inventory or with a local bookstore. And finally, let's talk a little bit about insurance and clearances. So when you're doing school visit programs, you can purchase specialty or liability insurance. This is in case you get hurt on site during the program. And, yes, I have seen this happen when I've been other school visit. The cost can really vary with these kinds of insurances, and it's certainly not a necessity. But it's something you might want to look into when it comes to clearances to going into schools of doing school visits. In my experience, many schools don't requested clearance if you're not alone with students, but you will want to check this out for the area that you live in the state or country to see what is standard in your area. If you live in the United States, you can go to fingerprinting dot com and find a site near you where you can get your fingerprinting done and clearance. And if you're in United States as well, I recommend getting the FBI clearance because this pretty much covers everything. So there you have it. You know everything there is to know now about going out and doing school. Visit programs from preparing for those visits to getting the gigs and also all the technical details that are involved now. I had mentioned in the beginning the one goal that my son had for me at my first school visit at his school. He said, Mom, whatever you do, do not be boring. Lovely. According to him, it was the best school visit presentation ever, and I was like, You write My fears had been phased and I conquered them. Most importantly, I survived that for school visit, and I had a blast, and so did the kids, and I got very positive feedback and testimonials from the school staff and the library in about my visit. But I also knew at that time I could improve on my presentation, and I did. I actually signed up for a theater class to become worse feel down it. And I looked to one of my actor friends to help with my presentation skills so that I could ease into stage performing and feel more comfortable with it. This is something you might also want to look into. A swell. Even with that first visit, the one thing that call me down was the realization that thes kids wanted me to succeed. They were there to be entertained. I could do this and you can, too. 14. SchoolVisitProgram: Welcome to my school visit program. This program is approximately 50 to 60 minutes long, but I'm going to be whizzing through it for you in about 10 minutes. But it should give you a snapshot of the kind of program that I do, the content that you can include and how you could engage with students. I hope it gives you some inspiration for your own school visit program. I start out by greeting the students when they come in the classroom or the auditorium. Then generally the librarian or the teacher doesn't introduction of me, and I jump right into my visit, and I share with the students how I'm so excited to be there at their school that day. However, I let them know that it's been a really long time since I was in school and I went to many schools because my parents moved around all the time. Then I asked them, Raise your hand if you've moved around many times like I have, and usually many of them do, so it's a nice way to start engaging with them right from the start, and then I talk about how it could be scary to leave your home and your friends behind, but it could be super fun. And you can have new, exciting adventures when you move. And then I share with them some of the adventures that I've had during all of my moves as a young child and as a teenager. So we talk about the things that I've done in my life. However, at the end, I then share with them. There's one thing on this list that is not true about me. Raise your hand if you can guess what it is. Usually 99% of the time, they never guess what the one thing about me is not true. So we have a really fun discussion, and then I let them know if I couldn't write, I would become a mat teacher. That is so not true. I never liked math. Math wasn't my thing. And I tell them about this and I say to them, Hey, maybe writing isn't your thing. Maybe you just don't know what to write about. Well, guess what I share with them? All the things I just told him about myself that are true. They're all material for writing, whether it's being in the Navy or being adopted or hot air ballooning. I let them know how you can fictionalize your real life and turn it into a story. So we talk about that for a little bit, and then I also share how once I come up with its hop it to talk about, the next thing I like to do is to brainstorm, and we talk about brainstorming and we talk about techniques and how fun it could be and how wacky you could be in brainstorming. And that's OK. It's great to use your imagination and be as inventive as you like. And then I share some of my brainstorms with them that I wrote when I was a kid on a typewriter. That's how old I am. I read a little bit about it and we talk about it, how wacky who we can be as kids and how we can have wacky brainstorms. And then I also share some stories with them of my own childhood, how he used to have wacky dreams and wacky ideas such as I was afraid of my belly button because I thought if I got poked, it would come undone and all my guts would spell out well, they just love that story and that I share how I fix that problem by wearing a Band Aid over my belly button for quite some time. I also share another story how I was afraid of my nose when I was a young trial, because I had crazy dreams that giant rubber bands would be coming out of my nose and I would be pulling on them a polling on them, until I realized I was unraveling my brain. So for many years I did not blow my nose. They think this is hilarious. It's also pretty disgusting. So these are just some ideas of your own personal stories of childhood that you could share to engage with the students. Then I talk about all things that I think writers are, how we're answer seekers and problem solvers, and we're observers and watchers and listeners and so many things. But the most important thing we have to be is a writer is a reader because as readers, we need to understand how story works the beginning, the middle of the ends and all of that. And then I asked them, Raise your hand, if you like to read, and so many of them dio and then I say, Raise your hand if you like to re read your favorite books and that I share with them some of my favorite books from when I was a child and how I passed them on to my son. So we have a whole discussion about that. And then I talk about the inspiration for my middle rate. Siri's Joshua in the Lightning Road, my own son, Joshua. And how is a young child? We would sit out on the front stoop in the summer, time at night and he would say, Mommy, Mommy, tell me a story. So night after night I spun the story about this boy named Joshua, who has all these adventurers in this fantastic forest and eventually became my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road. So it's really fun to share with them. My inspiration for my book so is writers. I tell them we have to read. But of course, most importantly, we have to write, but sometimes we get something called writer's block, and then I talk about what writer's block is and how maybe they could get it and how I get it as well and what it actually means, how we can get stuck in her story in the beginning, the middle or the end. And then I share with them what I do when I get writer's block. Well, the first thing I do is I totally procrastinate. I do everything but right I bike. I hang out with my friends. I read books, I go to the movies. And so we all have a little giggle about this because they procrastinate to when it comes to their homework, maybe their chores. But we all have to stop procrastinating. At some point, we have to get her homework done or chores done. I have to get my writing done, just like they may do. So. It's really important to set aside time to write. And so I share with them how I had two books due on the same day, and my publisher and I didn't think I was going to be able to get it done, so I ran away to this lodge in the woods with the Highlights Foundation for an entire week . I worked on both manuscripts and I got it done so it's really important to set aside time to do it. And I also share with um how it's important to have your own bright ing space, just like I do, and I share pictures of my office. There's my messy test, my cat star, who likes to write with me and not books off my desk so they all get a laugh about that. But I let them know it's important they find their own writing space, whether it's in their room or a screened in porch or maybe at the library. It's important to have that space to write in. And if they write, I tell them they already aren't author. They're not a published one, but there's still an author, and I tell them something very important that a published author is a writer who didn't give up. I didn't give up so they shouldn't give up on their writing as well, and I also talked with them about how they're even more qualified to me to be an author because their imagination is all brand sparkling new. It's not all bought down like my old grown up rain is with things like paying bills doing grocery lists and all that icky stuff, so they're super lucky that they have this all brand sparkly new creativity and imagination . Then I share with them some of my first stories I wrote when I was their age, and apparently I thought it was an illustrator to, So that's really fun. And then the back one of the stories I share with, um, the biography of the author of me, How I wrote Donna has never been published. When she grows up, she might be an author. They love this because many of them are thinking the same thing. I want to be an author when I grow up in here. I put it in writing when I was their age, so it's an inspiration for them. I also share with them how he had set goals as a young author, and I share a portion of my English journal way back in 1980 when I was their age. I talk about how I want to learn more about punctuation, vocabulary and right with more action and thought, and I still do today is a grown up author, and it's a grown up off their I still have to set goals. If I have ah, book due to my publisher, I know I have to write so many words a day in order to get that done. So we all have to set goals no matter where we are in our career as an author, I talk a little bit more about why I wrote Joshua in the Lightning road and how Joshua, the character is an only child like me, and how he also doesn't know who all of his family is like. I didn't growing up because I'm adopted. I also talk about how Joshua often feels like he doesn't belong, like I didn't growing up because nobody else I knew was adopted. So then I tie that all back into how your life can become writing material, and I talk about how I wanted to write a story about kids being their own heroes. And then we have a discussion about what heroes are, and I asked them, Raise your hand. Who do you think is a hero? And so we have a whole top about superheroes and policemen and firefighters and moms and dads, and I share with them. My hero growing up, who was Anne Frank. She really inspired me to find the power of my own voice through writing, and we actually share the same birthday June 12th. Then I share some of my journals and diaries that I wrote growing up a swell finding again that power through my voice and how she was an inspiration to me. So at this point, I shared with the kids about how writers need to be readers and, of course, writers. But also, writers need to do research often, and I talk about how fund research could be. It's like homework for authors. And then I share some of my bookshelves, my research bookshelves and the books that I have on them, like Greek mythology, which plays into my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road. And how research could be a big component of your writing and how it's also okay to bar from history. Authors do this all the time, like Rick Reardon does this with the Percy Jackson series. He also uses Greek mythology in his story, and it's OK to look to history and borrow from that to make up your own story. So then I share with them some of the characters and creatures and settings that I've created through my research with Greek mythology for Joshua and the Lighting Road, and how these characters came to be and how it was super fun to be inspired by Greek mythology to come up with my own characters. Also some of my own creatures from Greek mythology that feature into the book and the setting as well. Like this lightning gate here that I created from Zeus is lighting boat. It's a portal between worlds that was really super fun to create. And again we're beasties, foxes that are in Greek mythology that like to chase after Children. But I also made them breathe fire because that was just super fund that they share with, um, the map that I drew off the lost realm in the book Joshua and the Lightning Road and how this really helps guide my story because there's a lot of action in it, and I could see all the places in the story on the map and make sure that things in the story were working correctly. I talk about how they can draw a map of their world to so they can visualize it. Even better. And then I share how that map help the illustrator draw much better map that's in the book and then make sure the poster as well. And sometimes I even give this away at a school visit to a classroom or to the library. It's just really fun, and the kids love it as well, and usually I sign it for them as well. So by now we talked about how writers need to read and write and often do research. The next big important thing, of course, is revision and how. At first the students might think of story I wrote in my classes so amazing, a wonderful and my teacher's gonna turn it back into me with a plus plus and no marks on the page, and then maybe they get it back, and it says this is a good first draft, but you need to work on your grammar and you're setting and you're beginning in your middle in your end. And then you think, Oh, no, this revision totally stays right. And I relate to them like, Hey, I still have to go through this with my editor and my publisher is, well, how I have to make changes to that I might not want to make. But how? Their teacher and my editor, they want to help us make the story that much better. And everybody has to revise their first draft no matter if they're JK Rowling or me. And then I share with them some rejection letters I got when I was trying to find my first agent. And I actually share snippets of these rejection letters how I also tried for two years to get my first agent. And then I say, Hey, raise your hand if you can guess how many times I got rejected. So that's another fun discussion as well, and I tell them it was very, very frustrating. But I remind them of what I said earlier about how a published author is writer who didn't give up. And I love my story so much that I didn't want to give up, and I kept persisting and it took me two years of clearing agents. But I finally got my first agent, and if they don't give up either they will survive rejection, and they too, could become a published author like I did. However, once they get an editor and they get a publisher, they're going to feel like they get rejection all over again when they start getting an editorial letter like I caught from my editor. In this first letter, she wrote my character, Joshua, she thought was whiny and not at all capable. And I was like, Oh, no, but he's the hero of the story I had so much more work to do on my character, and you better believe that I did. But then guess what more changes come that I tell them. I also share with them how I revised my story seven times before I got an agent and a publisher. And then once I got the publisher, I had an editor and we did five more rounds of revisions, and I tell them this book, it's 300 pages. I had a revised every word and every page of that. They're like, Oh, my gosh, right, I share more changes. All these notes on the page, all the things I worked on, like Rammer in dialogue and setting in the beginning, in the middle of the end of the characters and all of that, and then more changes were coming. My editor sent me another editorial letter she wrote, Oh my gosh, there's so much telling this story and not enough showing. You need to go through the whole manuscript and change it. And I was like, No, it's too much. It's too hard. I can't do it But I didn't want to give up because I wanted to become a published author. So I share this with them and then I also talk with them about that whole show versus Tell that we as writers, can hear a lot. We went to aimed for more showing in her story and not so much telling. And then I give them an example. I read a scene for my book. Josh won the lighting Road and show them how we can have more show versus tell in our story . And then I share with them how, finally, after all this reading and writing and research and rejection and revision, that finally my book was good enough, my editor and publisher said, You be, it's ready to be published and I was so excited. Finally, the rewards of all of this hard work was coming my way, and I was able to party with all my friends. We were like, Who? Your book is getting published. It's so exciting. And then I share more fun things. How? Like when your book it's published? Often you can get author copies from your publisher, which are free copies they send to you for your own use to sell or to hand out. And I share with them. The day that my author copies came in and I told my son about it and how he ran downstairs and was so excited that I actually had to have him reenact this moment. So I got this on video and I shared this with them. And they love seeing the real Joshua come to life from the character in the book keeping today my book Just the way it looks like that. Yeah. Hey, Facebook. People hope you hope you like it. I'm acting for her drama. Okay, Goodbye. Yeah, OK. So as you can see, the real Joshua is quite a real character in life. He was 12 then. He's now 16. Driving has a girlfriend looking at colleges so completely not that young little boy anymore, But he's still a lot of fun. I keep sharing with them or three words that come once your book is going to be published like you. Finally, you see your book in the bookstores and again you're able to celebrate with your friends and then other fun things. Promotion, book reviews, but also book trailers. And I asked them to. You know what a book trailer is? Some of them don't. So I see it's like a little movie about your book so that I always show my book trailer at the end. And here we go. So that's super exciting. And if I have more time, I also show them the book trailer for book to Joshua and the Arrow Realm. They're both up on YouTube now. I scripted these videos on my own, and I got all the elements together, the video, the photos I purchased online, and they actually hired an editor to put it all together. I even purchased the music as well, so that really saved me a lot of money, something something to think about if you're looking to do book trailers, so this is generally the end of my Power point presentation. However, my school visit is not over. I then talk about the three nuggets of storytelling, and I share how I think that's character action setting. I read a scene from my book, Joshua and the Lightning Road, and I talk about how we can aim to get character action, setting every scene, me right, to make our story that much more active and that much more dynamic. Then, to reinforce this point, even war, I do a skit where we have two of the students come up. They do address up. We act out this whole skit with the character in the action in the setting, and I always engage the audience and have them cheer them on as well. And then I follow up my school visit presentation with a Q and A with the kids. Now, if I'm doing an auditorium visit, generally, this goes an hour. However, if I'm doing a classroom visit, I shorten the amount of time that I talk about with my power point. So maybe I tell a little bit less stories. I move a little more quickly, and I also include a writing exercise in that classroom. So he hoping sharing my own school visit program that I've given you some ideas that you could do for your own, with developing content and ways to engage with Children. Doing school visits is so rewarding. Getting in front of your young readers will really help motivate you and inspire you to keep writing Children's books. So I'm wishing you all well with your school visit programs. Oh!