Having only published my first book in January 2012, I’m still a very new at this author thing. This is especially true in terms of establishing myself as a speaker available for school and library events. I have, though, had a number of opportunities locally and several out of state (thanks to my sister, who arranged two visits for me while I visited her in Atlanta last year).
Here are some things I’ve learned from my experience:
If You Build It, They Will Come
It’s not exactly like Field of Dreams, but kind of. Teachers and librarians first need to know you exist. The most helpful, easiest way for them to learn about you is through some sort of permanent web presence online — that’s your field. It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog or official website, but you do need to include some key things:
- contact information
- an overview of presentations
- (optional): speaking fees*
Reach Out to Your Community
Beyond establishing a web presence, it’s wise to actively seek out opportunities in the connections you’ve already formed.
- Get to know your local independent bookseller(s), who often have connections with local schools
- Introduce yourself to the children’s librarian at your local library branch
- Tell friends, family members, and those you know in your general community that you’re interested in setting up visits, and ask them to spread the word (contacts from your church, your daughter’s soccer team, your son’s scout troop, your husband’s office — anywhere)
Resources for School Visits
- The ABC’s of a Successful School Visit (available to SCBWI members only)
- Children’s Authors Network Hosting An Author page
- Finding School Funding for Author Visits
- Grants for School Visits
Any questions, comments, or things that have worked for you? Share below!