|Me at the Bella Arts Festival|
Personally, I have done an author visit with children or teens, as my main audience (as opposed to teachers, parents, other writers), in these places:
- Elementary schools
- Junior high schools
- Gifted classrooms
- Summer camps
- After-school programs
- Boys and Girls Club programs
- Reading nights
Many people think of an author visit only as the author going to a school, speaking in front of an auditorium full of kids, and then selling books afterwards. But there are many more opportunities to get yourself in front of your target audience than school assemblies, as you can see from my list above.
Let's take a closer look at a couple of those. One time a small library in Rolla, MO, with a smaller budget booked me for a Skype author talk for teens about writing. They had a few interested teens who had some questions about being an author and the writing process, and I had a young adult book I was marketing. So, we did a Skype visit since they didn't have a budget to pay mileage, etc. The teens sat in a room together at the library, and I appeared on the screen (hopefully my head wasn't too big on the TV!) and we had a discussion. I was nervous! I wasn't sure how it would go, but it worked out fine. So libraries are a place for collaboration; and sometimes, these places have budgets for author presentations--even the virtual kind.
The Boys and Girls Club program was an unsual speaking event, but so much fun; and it happened because I had a friend who worked there. After school, the Club had a program for kids to attend; and that day, I was their entertainment. I talked to the kids about my middle-grade historical fiction book and did my usual presentation. In this case, I received a small stipend to speak; but better yet, the club bought several books for their library and for kids to check out from them.
Think outside the box. Sometimes, it's hard to get into the schools for an assembly, and sometimes budgets and time are limited. But most schools have reading nights, summer school, and after-school programs that may need a speaker; and they can work out some kind of payment for you by buying your books. Besides schools, you will find audiences of kids at Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, summer camps, libraries, homeschool networks, and churches. These places are often looking for programs! You can be the answer to their problems.
This post may make you have a million more questions--I'm sorry! Some that may pop up are: how do I contact these places? How do I know what program to do? What is a fair agreement? How do I sell my books to kids when they are at school without any money? We'll be tacking these quesitons and more in the new class I'm teaching for WOW!--School Visits and Author Talks for Children's and YA Writers and Illustrators, which starts on August 6. You can find out more and register here.
www.margoldill.com or www.editor-911.com. When she is not writing or editing, Margo loves to spend time with her daughter. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri; and if she could eat out every day, she would!