My panic got off to a mild start. The first thing I thought about was the launch party, which was fun to consider - after all, it's a PARTY!
But more recently, I've been thinking about school programs. YIKES! What the heck do I have to offer???
Luckily, I spent a few years working for a literary events company that placed authors in schools for visits. I've seen some of the best in action - Brain Selznick, Jack Gantos, Megan McDonald, Carolyn Crimi, Kristy Dempsey.
I also peeked at my fellow authors' websites - critique buddies like Eileen Meyer, Heidi Bee Roemer, Darcy Day Zoells, Nancy J Cavanaugh, and Ruth Vanderzee, and authors whose dynamite presentations I have seen or heard about, like Aaron Reynolds and Miranda Paul.
|Nancy J Cavanaugh at a school presentation.
Even more research helped. In my notes, I compiled a general list of topics for authors:
• THE publishing journey,
or how a book gets published
• Your OWN journey,
or the specifics of
your path to publication
• THE process of writing
a picture book or novel,
fiction or nonfiction
• Your OWN process,
or the unique way that you work
• A specific area of CRAFT
(voice, character, world-building, etc.)
|Image by www.GotCredit.com.
• Your WRITING AREA of expertise
(poetry, humor, etc.)
• Your SUBJECT AREA of expertise
(animals, medieval times, etc.)
• BOOK-SPECIFIC topics
A book about bugs? The presentation
can be all about creepy crawly things.
• INSPIRING KIDS' WRITING,
which often focuses on where ideas
come from or revisions.
Of course, choosing a topic depends quite a bit on the age level of the group you will be seeing, so it's best to have more than one presentation in your repertoire.
What makes for a good presentation? Tips are multitudinous! I love this collection of advice from Book Moot, including:
* Stick to 30 minutes for younger kids, and 45 minutes for older.
* Have water on hand to refresh your throat.
* Know where the toilets are (and turn off your microphone while you're using them!)
* Make eye contact. Acknowledge and involve your audience. See Janie Reinart's recent post about ways to make your school visit interactive.
* To maintain order, YOU, the author, can tell kids to sit, ask them to quiet down, etc.
* Do NOT start signing autographs at the end of the session or you will be mobbed. Arrange for book signing time and supply a signed bookmark to be copied for all.
I urge you to visit Book Moot and read all of the wonderful tips.
Now, wonderful GROG readers, you help educate me, too.
What presentation topics have worked for you?
What tips do you have to pass along?
I'm always thankful for your advice!
** Thanks to GROG fans chiming in, I have two dynamite websites for school program advice -- Alexis O'Neill and Kim Norman.
(And a shout out to Tammi Sauer, a school program dazzler!)