Author visits to schools are one of the most rewarding aspects of being an author. This month I have had the opportunity to share my book, Gertie Saves the Day with a virtual school visit.
This was my first experience with a virtual school visit. I was to read the book aloud using book slides. I was prepared and practiced several times before the big day. The presentation was fun and energizing. After reading the story aloud I answered questions from the students. Student questions are the best. Children are curious about the process of becoming a picture book author, where we get our ideas and how many revisions were needed. Some students were inspired and are considering becoming writers. You know how much I value writing and my mission to inspire children to write, this was the icing on the cake for me!
I have learned that the key to a successful author visit to schools is to do your homework and be prepared. Here are some tips for those authors thinking about author visits.
Information for your author visit to schools
Collecting information is key to a successful author visit. The teacher or coordinator should be able to provide the answers to these questions:
What day and time are you considering?
Where are you located? Please indicate city and time zone
What grade or grades are participating?
How many students will be participating?
Will the students be on camera or off?
Who will be the contact person and their phone number?
Zoom or Google Meet
Two of the most popular virtual author platforms are Zoom or Google Meet. I have found that Google Meet, at least in my area, is preferred by most classroom teachers. It is important that you discuss this with the teacher or coordinator in advance. I ask that the school set up the meeting and send me the link to join. This process is seamless and quick.
I often see authors reading hard or soft covered books to classes. While this is perfectly fine, I prefer to put the book on either Google Slides or PowerPoint. By taking this extra step the screen is filled with the beautiful illustrations and the read aloud progresses smoothly as you move each slide along.
Some basics for an author visit to schools:
Laptop with mic and video
Light on your face – natural light from a window works well
A stack of books or a shelf to get your laptop camera to eye level or above
Funding an Author Visit
Many schools do not have the budget to invite authors to their classrooms. J Anderson Coats had some great ideas you are looking for funding ideas.
One of the goals of an author visit is to sell books. You will need to set this up in advance. Since my book is available on Amazon, students who wanted to purchase a copy could do so with the link. Once in person visits open up again, I will need to make arrangements with the school to order copies in advance of my visit. I am looking forward to book signing again.
I hope you find these tips helpful and if you have any questions about author visits, please feel free to contact me.