How to Organize Your Classroom Visit
For Children’s Authors looking to spread the word on their books.
by Helen Laycock and Dan Buri
If you missed Part 1 of 10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors, you should read it. In Part 2, Helen Laycock explores Tip Number 1–Visit Schools and Libraries–a little further.
In Part 1, we explored 10 Tips for marketing your children’s books. For any of you that are children’s authors, you know that spreading the word about your book is much different than marketing a book for adults, and arguably it is much harder. Children don’t do book reviews or spread the word to their peers. Often times, children’s authors are highly dependent upon the parents.
Our number one tip, the tip that for Helen has yielded probably the most success, is to visit schools and libraries. Sitting in front of the children and sharing your book with them in person goes a long way in spreading the word about your book.
So how do you plan for a school or a library visit? Here are some organizational tips for you to consider that will make your life easier when planning a visit:
- Have an idea of how you might organise a session (time spent talking/reading/writing) with the children and decide on the age-range and numbers – a class of around thirty is the maximum I would choose. Any more, and it can be difficult to engage, see faces, remember names, limit noise levels, etc.
- If you only have kindle books, then consider getting paperbacks published. This will have to happen well before your visit. CreateSpace is one easy option.
- You will have to take a gamble on how many to order, and bear in mind that to sell any left will require a second event.
- Inform the school that on the day children will need to arrive with money (tell them how much a book is – you can order in bulk at a cheaper price). Keep the price a simple round number so that you are not dealing with lots of small change. They will send out letter to parents about this, although you could formulate your own with a little bit about yourself (including website details, book titles, etc).
- Remember to take change. You might have a deal of two for a reduced price.
- On the day, relax and smile; first impressions are important. Wear a name badge. Obviously, make sure you have practised your talk several times, bearing in mind that you will need to speak more slowly than usual and at an appropriate volume.
- At the outset, make it clear that there will be time at the end for questions. You don’t want interruptions.
- Don’t read the ‘chatty’ bit, but make bullet points, and mark passages in your books so that you can locate them easily.
- Think, too, about what is behind or beside you. If you have an illustrated book, you could display a picture from it. If you have many books, arrange them along a bookcase with covers out. Write your name on the whiteboard.
- Have a pile on the table beside you for signing (and have decided beforehand what your message will be. They will want a signed copy, however little known you may be. In the children’s world, you are a famous author and they have met you!).
- Try to schedule your visit so that it fits in with something literary, World Book Day, for example. You will probably get a mention in the school newsletter.
We had a tremendous response to Part 1. We want to hear your thoughts again. What do you think works well? What do you recommend?
Read Part 1 of 10 Marketing Tips for Children’s Authors.
Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.
Despite what you might think, having a loud voice is not the number one requisite for promoting yourself as a children’s writer as M.G. author and short story writer, Helen Laycock, quietly points out.
Helen’s books and musings can be found on her Children’s Authorwebsite or her Fiction in a Flash website. You can follow Helen on Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, or her personal blog. Her book, The Secret of Pooks Wood, can be found at major book retailers.
SOMETIMES MISTAKES CAN BE PUT RIGHT. SOMETIMES THEY CAN’T… When twins, Lily and Ollie, are stranded over Christmas at Great Hawkesden Manor with their mother, Stella, they have no idea what will happen when they find an old glass snow globe. Inside it, not only is there a miniature model of the manor house… there is magic. This is a time-shift adventure to be enjoyed by readers from 9—12, or beyond… who knows?