"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Success Strategies For School Visits For Authors

 For children’s authors, a school visit is a great way to make a direct connection with your young readers and boost your personal brand, and theres often a modest fee too. Children in turn get a thrill in meeting a real author, especially one whose books they may have read. Here are some tips on how to get the most out the experience…

Be realistic about money

School visits rarely attract a big fee, so its best to accept that fact up front and find other ways to make the best of the opportunity. Schools can help you promote your books ahead of the visit and organize sales on the day for children and parents too.

Plan ahead

Check with the school beforehand that they have any kit you will need for you workshop or talk, such as projector and PowerPoint. If you want a classroom or hall organized in a certain way, be very specific about what you want and who will be doing it. Do you want children to work in groups or pairs? Will they need pens and paper? The more detail, the better.

Get ahead with your books

To make the most of the selling opportunity on the day, let the school know well in advance a fortnight beforehand, at least about the titles that youll have to sell, along with details of reading age, price and so on. Confirm that the school will send out advance information to parents, so that children are more likely to bring money to buy your books on the day.

See to the basics

When you arrive, find out where the staff toilets are. Check where you get some refreshments too. Teachers are not always used to hosting visitors and youll need a drink at least to get you through the visit.

Do an early technical check
On the day, check that all the equipment is as you need it, and that chairs and tables are arranged right. Lighting and sound need to be checked too, as well as clickers and screen resolution. Make sure you arrive in good time to check all these things.

Tailor your talk to your audience

Make your talk interactive, snappy and attention-grabbing. Half an hour is usually as long as childrens attention will last, often shorter. Leave lots of time for questions, of which there will be many. Talking about ideas and inspiration and a few relevant details of your life is fine, but be selective. Keep it light and fun, and avoiding running through your whole CV.

Get teachers to help with discipline in workshops
Teachers are the experts when it comes to keeping a class under control so that you can get on with running your workshop. Dont be shy about asking a teacher to help if theres an issue with maintaining discipline in the classroom.

Make time for every child

While its tempting to focus on a handful of children who are the keenest and speak the loudest, do your best to include as many children as possible in conversation and activities. Walk around, take an interest, gently encourage shyer children to take part. Often children are under-confident, but they only need a little nudge to get involved.

Come up with new answers to old questions

Children love to ask questions, and this is often the most fun part of a school visit, so always leave lots of time for them as part of your talk or workshop. Inevitably you will get a lot of the same questions coming up, so to keep things fresh try to think of something different to say each time. You dont have to give a straight answer, and you can always a question with a question…

Finish well
Even if youve had a tough day, with dodgy tech, few sales and unruly classes, always make a point of finishing well. Thank everyone, praise the school and leave with a smile. As with any networking opportunity, you just never know what else might come of your visit.

Dan Brotzel (@brotzel_fiction) is co-author of a new comic novel,

Kitten on a Fatberg (Unbound). As a reader of this newsletter, you can pre-order Kitten on a Fatberg for a 10% discount simply quote promo code KITTEN10

Agree or disagree, readers? Anything you'd like to add here?

Image credit: Pixabay.com


  1. These are great guidelines, Dan. You've covered everything! I'm thinking they'd easily adapt to a children's library event or for a homeschool group too. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Jen, appreciate you hosting and introducing us to Dan. Hope your birthday month has been grand! :)

    1. Thanks so kindly, Karen. Looking forward to my birthday month in June. 😁

    2. Thanks very much Karen - and thanks for reading!


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