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Seeking Guidance: School Visits – Steps and Logistics?

Started by HuiLi, August 23, 2023, 09:37 AM

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HuiLi

Hey everyone,

I'm gearing up to reach out to local schools for potential visits and events tied to my upcoming book. I'd love some insights on the process. Is it generally a good idea to start by contacting the school with a basic proposal outlining the event? Then, if there's interest from the school librarian or administration, they'll likely reach out for more specifics and pricing, right?

Also, I'm curious about the logistics of book orders. Do schools typically order books in advance of the event, or is there a different approach? Any advice or shared experiences would be really appreciated!

Another question is whether to include private/independent schools in my contact list.

Thanks in advance!

PS: If anyone is familiar with the cost range, or cost of new authors for school visits in the tri-state area (NJ/NY/Connecticut, and close to the metropolitan area), could you kindly share some information? Thank you! 

Debbie Vilardi

I'm out on Long Island and not doing school visits myself, but I'm part of an organization that does events.

As a new author, the first step is to make sure you have a really solid presentation that meets the curriculum. Knowing how you're helping the school teach material students need is big. If you're still working on the presentation, you may want to offer very inexpensive or free programs to help you iron out the kinks. Then word of mouth will help and hurt you. (People will expect free but they'll know you're good.) Also, be clear about the grade levels you can reach.

Then you also need to consider what the schools or their PTAs can afford. There's also a difference between whole class workshops and whole school programs in the auditorium. Value your time carefully. Determine if you want the school to provide lunch for the whole day programs and if they'll pay transportation as mileage or train fare, etc. In other words, consider all of your possible expenses.

If you know local authors, check out their websites and see if they have fees and program listed. Here are examples: http://www.sustrinbooks.com/presentation.html (Note this is outdated, they haven't done visits since COVID), http://www.cindysommer.com/cindy-sommer-author-brochure.html. Your local SCBWI chapter may have a better idea of the going rate in your area. Consider whether an author shows events on their social media (if not,they may be pricing too high or simply prefer not to do so) and whether they have a lot of events or just a few. With one book and no experience, you don't want to price the same as authors who've been presenting for years.

I hope this helps you get started on figuring this all out.
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
Twitter: @dvilardi1

HuiLi

Quote from: Debbie Vilardi on August 23, 2023, 06:38 PMI'm out on Long Island and not doing school visits myself, but I'm part of an organization that does events.

As a new author, the first step is to make sure you have a really solid presentation that meets the curriculum. Knowing how you're helping the school teach material students need is big. If you're still working on the presentation, you may want to offer very inexpensive or free programs to help you iron out the kinks. Then word of mouth will help and hurt you. (People will expect free but they'll know you're good.) Also, be clear about the grade levels you can reach.

Then you also need to consider what the schools or their PTAs can afford. There's also a difference between whole class workshops and whole school programs in the auditorium. Value your time carefully. Determine if you want the school to provide lunch for the whole day programs and if they'll pay transportation as mileage or train fare, etc. In other words, consider all of your possible expenses.

If you know local authors, check out their websites and see if they have fees and program listed. Here are examples: http://www.sustrinbooks.com/presentation.html (Note this is outdated, they haven't done visits since COVID), http://www.cindysommer.com/cindy-sommer-author-brochure.html. Your local SCBWI chapter may have a better idea of the going rate in your area. Consider whether an author shows events on their social media (if not,they may be pricing too high or simply prefer not to do so) and whether they have a lot of events or just a few. With one book and no experience, you don't want to price the same as authors who've been presenting for years.

I hope this helps you get started on figuring this all out.

Thank you, Debbie! For your detailed response! Your advice is super helpful as I figure out how to approach author school visits. I'll definitely make sure my presentation fits with what schools are teaching. Offering some low-cost or free programs to practice is a smart idea too.

Your point about word of mouth makes sense—I'll aim for a balance between showing my value and setting realistic expectations. I really appreciate your help and sharing your experience. Thanks again!

RebeccaL-G

Check out Alexis O'Neill's site http://schoolvisitexperts.com/about/
Also, Kim Norman has a book on Amazon titled Sell Books and Get Paid Doing Author School Visits. The Kindle version is quite affordable.
Rebecca Langston-George
www.rebeccalangston-george.com

Ree

Thank you all for sharing. I'm looking to set up a presentation and am at a loss as to how to make a nice one.

Ree
www.reeaugustine.com
HANGABOUT, FAR FROM HOME, Orange Blossom Publishing, August 2023.

andracill

Robin
Unspun: A Collection of Tattered Fairy Tales: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BSR6CPJ/

dkshumaker

So I live in Northern VA and actually have prices on my website: https://debrashumaker.com/author_visits/

My books came out during the pandemic so I spent a lot of time devouring Kim Norman's book that Rebecca mentioned and going to many different websites to see what other authors have done on their websites. Kate Messner also had an amazing series of webinars on creating Virtual Author Visits when the pandemic hit. I have no idea if those are available to purchase somehow but they were so well done and helped me so much. Like Debbie mentioned, I did do a few free visits virtually to classrooms where friends/cousins teach then one or two to local schools I had connections to in order to get some practice and see what works and didn't. Last school year was my first "real" year and I ended up doing 5 or 6 paid visits. I decided to raise my prices a bit for this year so we'll see how that goes. I'm actually in the middle of addressing postcards to reach out to schools in my surrounding counties. I had so much fun doing visits that I'm hoping to do more this year.

If you are on Facebook, there is an amazing group called "Create Amazing School Visits" that you should check out. I've learned so much from that group. Nearly any question you have has likely been answered. I think you have to ask to join the group. If you do, I recommend doing some "search" on topics you have questions on before posting a question because seriously, I think every question has been asked more than once and people love to help each other out! :-)

As Debbie said, teachers are looking for much more than a storytime. They want presentations to connect to the curriculum. Best of luck!
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, October 2022)

HuiLi

Thanks a bunch for sharing this valuable information, Dkshumaker!

I took a look at your website and must say, I'm impressed with the school visit brochure you created. It's not only informative but also impeccably organized.
What a brilliant concept!

Your advice on linking it to the curriculum is also incredibly useful. Thanks again for being so generous with your insights!

dkshumaker

Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, May 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, October 2021)
Peculiar Primates (Running Press Kids, October 2022)

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