Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday Musing: Blue Balliet: Author Visit Observations by Kathy Halsey

Author visits? Why, Kathy, you're a pre-pub writer, right? Yes, but  Blue Balliet visited Canal Winchester Elementary School, a 3-5 grade building from which I retired. Blue specializes in MG mysteries and infuses her art history background in her plots. I came along for the ride to learn/observe from this award-winning writer. Even if you are a pre-pub writer, I suggest you tag along on an author visit if the opportunity arises. 


Lessons Learned

1. It's an author "visit." Blue took the time between large group presentations to walk the halls, notice student work posted in anticipation of her visit, and duck into classrooms. She even signed a rocking chair after listening to odes and scripts written by 5th grade gifted students.
2. Be flexible. Blue's visit was scheduled the day before spring break so the entire school schedule flipped that day. Lots of prep and logistics go into a visit, so kids may be keyed up. Blue had extra books to sign during her "down time" and did so graciously.  Motivated students mobbed her to purchase extra books even though pre-ssale books were available. 
3. Hook your audience with your presentation. Writers hook readers with books, but make your presentation is kid-friendly, too. Blue shared her real writing life with us - writing in her laundry room, stacks of drafts piled high, pictures of herself as a kid. 
4. Visuals trump words. Presentations can happen in the gym, the auditorium, anywhere a school can pack in hundreds of students. Canal's kids sat on the floor in a darkened lunchroom. Blue's powerpoint could be seen by all because of the visuals.
5. Let the kids interact with you. Leave time for student questions. Since acoustics weren't the best, Blue repeated the questions for all to hear before answering. 

6. Interact with staff members, too. Teachers/staff help you create an avid readership. Share tidbits about the books and your writing process because teachers will include this "insider" knowledge with their classes. Blue ate lunch with the teachers and posed for pictures with our staff. 
7. Make autographing personal. Blue personalized six different books with messages that matched the theme of each book. Amazing! Why not come up with an autograph for your manuscripts now? It's a great way to distill your WIPs to their true essence. (Plus, it's fun to dream.) Here's my copy of HOLD FAST.

8. Have a memorable website for fans to extend their learning process. Blue's website blew me away. Just like her books, a strong theme appears. It features architecture, art, and discovery. Take a look at this!
9. Curriculum connections are key. Blue makes word mobiles and students did, too. Big questions motivate Blue's writing and Winchester Trail kids asked big questions on word walls.
 







21 comments:

  1. Kathy, what a smart idea to tag along on an author visit. What great advice you have given us. You're ready for your own author visit now.

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  2. I AM, Sherri. I just need to get an ms published! LOL

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  3. Super advice and great observations, Kathy! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hey, Jane, happy to share. Bleu was so gracious and I love her work.

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  4. Thanks, Kathy, this was a great idea, and a lovely post.

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    1. Fun times seeing authors at work, Christy.

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  5. Hi Kathy, I'm doing my first assemblies this month, so your observations are very timely! Thanks so much for sharing.

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  6. Thanks for sharing this, Kathy!! Very helpful!!

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    1. Maria, glad you picked up some tips.

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  7. What a great experience and day with Blue :) Thank you for sharing, Kathy.

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    1. And thank you for reading this, Charlotte.

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  8. Thank you, Kathy, for sharing your time and experience with an author visit by Blue Balliet.

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    1. Garden Girl, thank you for reading this post!

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  9. Very cool to see how/what other authors do. Thanks for sharing the wealth of info, Kathy!

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    1. Jilanne, hope you found something helpful.

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  10. It's a super idea to see other authors and their presentations. So much to learn!

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    1. Yes, how the kids, teachers and author interact or don't and what make the magic happen- all interesting. Patty, you'll be coin visits as soon as that book gets out.

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  11. Thanks for the tips! I just did my first author presentation a couple wks ago. I need more tips!

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    1. Tina, I read about your presentation. Your debut was great.

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  12. A fabulous author to follow & a fabulous day, Kathy.
    Appreciations for your generous nature in sharing this.
    So full of great eyedears!

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