Tips on Author School Visits

A buddy of mine who is just venturing out after the release of his first book recently asked me if I had any advice as it pertains to author school visits. He was a tad bit nervous never having done one before which is completely understandable if you don’t know what to expect. These are by far my absolute favorite type of events to do because quite frankly, adults can be harder to entertain than kids (at least for me). Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting folks in general but let’s face it; expectations are much higher for adults.

Here’s what I told him:

First and foremost, be yourself. Kids are by nature intuitive and can spot a phony a mile away while hardships in life that accumulate in our lifetimes can sometimes skew our perceptions as adults. As a side note we really should be ourselves in any setting be it an author event or talking a stroll. I’m simply stressing that we should not try to be someone we’re not when we’re around kids.

Don’t be afraid to be silly. Kids love a good laugh and so should we as adults. For a reading I did for Dr. Seuss’ birthday I wore a Seuss hat and we posed for pictures making goofy faces. I read “Leonardo the Terrible Monster,” and in the part of the book that called for it I pretended to quietly sneak up on the class and speak softly but when it came time to scare the tuna salad out of the little boy I gave it all I had. The class roared in laughter and I had a blast.

  • Thanks for posting Lisa. I think it's a great idea to video yourself as well so that we can improve on our presentation. Great job.

  • http://youtu.be/Eh30jlsSkkQHere's some scenes from my author visits. I concur with what's above. Some other things I find helpful in engaging kids: 1) have a formal presentation (engage them visually) 2) ask lots of questions (i.e. what is editing?) (engage them verbally) 3) include an exercise (engage their minds and offer something of value to them) and lastly 4) roll with the punches (you never know what kind of questions you might get). Have Fun!

  • That's a great idea Suzie. I'll be sure to remember that!

  • Thanks so much Sandra! Much appreciated!

  • I love this and will share it with my networks. Thanks!Sandra Beckwithhttp://buildbookbuzz.com

  • Leonardo, you are right on target. As a newly-retired El. teacher and author/illustrator, I have read my books to my school district and will venture out soon to other locales. Yes, be natural, don't speak down to them, and be entertaining. If you have time after reading and answering questions, delve into a few aspects of the writing process. If affordable,I try to give a small token to the kids to help them remember my book: a coloring page from my book, a bookmark, etc. I wish you luck and fun. Suzie