Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Secrets of Kidlit: Why Skype?

Used under a Creative Commons license.
Attribution: Kathy Cassidy
Skype is one of my favorite "events." Okay, so it isn't really an event, in that I don't have to pack up and go somewhere -- but that's the best part!

Skype visits with classrooms are the perfect option for authors who work day jobs or who are stay-at-home parents with young kids at home, are unable to travel, or just feel more comfortable being in a familiar setting

Today, I thought I'd share some tips to make sure your author Skype visit goes well!

1) Work out all of your tech issues ahead of time. Set up your laptop/computer/whatever in the place where you'll be doing the visit. Double check internet connection, test out the video and audio, make sure the camera is at a good angle, and -- most importantly -- be sure you have the teacher or librarian's Skype handle! (Or you may find yourself scrambling to get in touch with the teacher two minutes after the visit was supposed to start. Not that this has ever happened to me . . . ;)

2) Be prepared for anything. This includes poor lighting in the classroom, pixelated video, video that doesn't work, delayed audio, and, well, just about anything.

3) Set up parameters for the visit ahead of time. How long will the visit last? What will it include? Are the students familiar with your books? How many kids will be in the classroom? Will you be paid, or is this a free visit?

4) Ask the teacher or librarian to send you the students' questions ahead of time. Not only will this help you prepare, but it can be a lifesaver if the kids are hard to hear on Skype.

5) Relax and have fun! Skype visits are especially great because they're informal and usually short.

Do you have any additional tips for Skyping with a classroom? If so, drop them in the comments below!

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