Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reaching Readers: Tips for a Successful School Visit

Today we welcome middle grade and YA author Christina Farley to talk about school visits! Christina's going to share some of her best tips, so get ready to take some notes . . .


Being a middle grade author opens doors for you to do school visits. Meeting my target audience and talking to kids who have read my books is literally the most rewarding experience for me as an author. It puts everything back into perspective and reminds me why I’m writing what I write. But putting together an author visit can feel like a daunting task. Where do I begin? What do I say during that hour with the kids? How do I even find schools to go to?

These are all real and valid questions that you should consider before you begin to think about doing a school visit. Today I thought I’d share some tips and ideas with you based on my experiences visiting nearly 100 schools.

Where to Begin:
Before the Visit:
  • When a school contacts you, make sure you have a contract set up. Be clear about your expectations. Consider your costs, the length of your sessions, how many sessions you will do, teacher supervision requirements, and the size of the group you will be speaking to. 
  • Send the school any pre-visit information that you have to spark student interest. Ideas include: pre-visit video, pre-visit activities, author visit poster PDF, an activity website of your book like the Book Scavenger (I’m obsessed with this book!) or my Gilded series, and your book trailer if you have one.
The Visit:
  • You’ve got the kids all pumped up about your visit but now it’s time to BRING IT! 
  • Authors do all different types of presentations. You can use Prezi, PowerPoint, or just have a Q&A. Just make sure you have a plan. 
  • Practice beforehand. 
  • Be ready for ANYTHING to happen. Think fire drills, abruptly ending your session, no tech, you’ve lost your voice (bring water and cough drops), the kids are out of control, no teachers in sight, and (my favorite) when the kids get so excited that they literally go BANANAS and you can’t calm them down. 
  • Check out these middle grade authors’ fantastic tips: 
    • Diana Peterfreund I wow them with interesting facts and tidbits about the research for my books, along with funny/dramatic power point presentation. I have one on my unicorn books where I show them all kinds of interesting real-life lore about unicorns they probably don't know. And now I have my Omega City series which is about bunkers, buried cities, space stations, and more. 
    • Kerry O'Malley Cerra I always show my old report cards. I wasn't the best student and this really surprises kids and helps those who are also not the best see that they can still become something. 
    • Dianne Marenco Salerni When I do a writing workshop with kids, after they complete the writing activity, I have them switch with their neighbors and read each other's work. Then I tell them we're going to play a game called "Rat Out Your Friend" in which they point out peers whose work is so good, we need to hear it. This is a fun alternative to asking for volunteers. 
Thank you so much, Christina! These are fantastic tips, and I can't wait to try them myself. For more school visit fun, check out these two past Kidliterati posts: Author Visit Tips and School Visits.

More about Christina . . .

CHRISTINA FARLEY is the author of the bestselling Gilded series. Prior to that, she worked as an international teacher and at a top secret job for Disney where she was known to scatter pixie dust before the sun rose. When not traveling the world or creating imaginary ones, she spends time with her family in Clermont, Florida with her husband and two sons where they are busy preparing for the next World Cup, baking cheesecakes, and raising a pet dragon that's in disguise as a cockatiel. You can visit her online at ChristinaFarley.com. Find her online here: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

THE PRINCESS & THE PAGE
A mystical adventure about a pulls-no-punches princess and the power of her magical pen.

A dark secret lurks in Keira’s family. She comes from a long line of Word Weavers, who bring their stories to life when they use a magical pen. But for generations Word Weavers have been hunted for their power. That’s why Keira is forbidden to write. When Keira discovers her grandma’s Word Weaver pen, and writes a story for the Girls’ World fairy-tale contest, she starts to wonder if anyone ever truly lives happily ever after. Inspired by the life and times of Gabrielle d’EstrĂ©es, a real French princess who lived during the 1500s, The Princess and the Page follows the mystical journey of a modern-day “royal” who goes from having a pen in her hand to wishing for the world at her fingertips. Amazon / Barnes and Noble / IndieBound / Add it to Goodreads




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