Saturday, June 8, 2013
THE TRUTH ABOUT SCHOOL VISITS
I love school visits! I didn't used to. They used to terrify me. What? Speak in front of 100 kids? But then I found out how much kids LOVE author visits. And for a writer, it's a built-in audience, unlike bookstore events, where you might sometimes get 5 people to show up and half of them are bookstore employees. Someone posted this on Facebook once.
I love the "What Kids Think I do". It's true. It doesn't matter if only your mother has heard of you and your books, if your name is on a book they've read or their teacher has read to them, they think you're a star. School visits are a writer's 30 mins. of fame. At my last school visit at Potter Valley Elementary School, the kids lined up to have me sign Cixi, The Dragon Empress bookmarks. All 60 of them!
School visits aren't what they used to be—the bread and butter of a writer's income. With budget cuts to schools and kids who sometimes can't even afford shoes, books are a luxury. If I sell a handful of books at a school visit, I consider that an amazing success. But I've learned that school visits are not about selling books—or selling yourself as a writer—it's about connecting with kids. It's about sharing the stories you wrote, or how you came to write them, and it's about inspiring them to write and read. My biggest joy comes from kids (or parents or teachers) who tell me that after my presentation, they want to be a writer like me.
Like most writers, I have an author visit fee, but for the schools in my local school district, I do school visits for free. It's my way of giving back to the community in which I live. But what I get back is so much more. And here's one of the reasons why:
If you're interested in an author visit at your school, check out my Press Kit or Author Visit info. You can email me or go to Book an Event in the sidebar.