Monday, July 30, 2012

School Visits: What I've Learned So Far

At this point in my career, I've written twelve books for the nonfiction school library market. Makes me an ideal candidate for school visits, right? Except that I don't consider myself an expert in any of the topics about which I've written.

So? I talk about writing. Research. How a book Gets Published. And I've just added some creative writing topics to my repertoire. Up until now, I've done all my school visits for free. What? Yes, Free.

I've wanted to get it right. Make sure I feel like I'm worth the money that someone is going to pay me.

Things I've learned:

1. Expect any question. How old are you? How much do you get paid? Things like that. Be prepared to answer what you want to answer or defer what you don't.

2. Be prepared with writing exercises if there are NO questions. Probably won't happen, cause the kids LOVE asking questions, but just in case.

3. Come w/ props. Visual aids, etc.

4. Be self deprecating. This works for me--I'm not a natural comedian, but if I use myself as an example of something, it's almost always worth a laugh. For example, when talking about the definition of constructive criticism, I'll sometimes say "it wouldn't be constructive for you to tell me that my shoes are ugly." Or something like that.

5. Go see the experts at School Visit Experts--they are a great resource and I can't give you better advice than they can.

6. Lastly, if you're familiar with school looking for inexpensive author visits, send them my way! I've recently updated my school visits information page --

Good luck!


Sarah said...

Very helpful, Kristine! I was thinking of starting to do some of these, so this is a useful guide, and I appreciate the link to the School Visit Experts site!

Laura Pauling said...

It's so true with kids. They will say absolutely anything and it might not have anything to do with the actual topic! So are you starting to charge? :)

Anna Staniszewski said...

I've realized that "bajillion" is my best friend during school visits:

"How old are you?"
"A bajillion years old."

"How much money do you make?"
"A bajillion dollars."

Kids are so much fun. :-)

Kristine Carlson Asselin said...

So glad it was helpful, Sarah!

Laura--I haven't decided what to charge, yet. I'm feeling like I'm ready charge though!

Anna--bajillion is a great word. :)