Words & Thoughts From the Desk of Your Favorite Authoress

Tips for a successful author school visit

Involve EVERYONE POSSIBLE in the upcoming author visit!

Author visits are a terrific way to energize your school’s reading and writing programs, from staff to students to parents. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of this year’s author visit:

Utilize the downloadable teachers guide available herein advance of the visit, so students will be familiar with my book(s)  (and excited about it!) before the event.

As much as possible, Involve the WHOLE staff. My author friends and I are all agreed: events tend to go well in schools where the principal takes the time to stop in and meet us — even if only momentarily. It seems that when the principal is onboard, so is everyone else.

Resource teachers, (reading, art, music, library, etc.), I’ve seen you all do AMAZING things to help build excitement for the visit.

School-wide activities

  • Create a bulletin board to build excitement about the visit.
  • Have a school-wide art contest based on my book(s). Perhaps the winner’s artwork could even be printed on t-shirts worn by staff on the day of the visit. Display all the art throughout the school in advance of the visit. Ideas for uses of the art would be posters, bookmarks, drawings, cutouts and crafts themed around the subject of my book(s).
  • If you do a morning TV program (or similar) in your school, you may my author school visits video.
  • If students have done a book report on one of my particular book(s), they can read them as guest presenters on your morning show.

Get parents involved!!

If the event will involve an evening parent program, it’s even more important to promote the visit to parents.

• Be CERTAIN to put an article about the event in the school newsletter.

• Promote the event on your school’s website.

  1. As the day draws near, announce the upcoming visit on the school’s outdoor road sign.

  2. If you have the resources, send home a flier about the event with the students.

I know it’s hard to get the attention of local media these days, but do send a press release about the event to your local newspaper and TV stations. You never know when they’ll decide to send out a reporter who will do an enthusiastic story featuring your wonderful school! (Even daily newspapers print event sections far in advance, so they’ll likely want the press release at least 2 weeks in advance of your event.)

Hold a book sale! Many authors (including me) have an already-composed book order form you can print up and send home with the students. Allow plenty of lead-time for this. It’s best if book orders are placed with the Amazon.com at least 2 weeks before the event. This means order forms should be sent home 3 to 4 weeks in advance of the visit.

Even if you’re not holding a book sale, it’s great if parents are clued in about the upcoming visit. Send home a flier. I have a downloadable 8.5 x 11 poster on my media page which could also be used as a take-home flier. I also have printable bookmarks. Many authors do the same.

Some of the best-attended parent programs have offered food — even whole dinners — to attending families. In today’s rush-rush world, some parents are too tired to even THINK about taking their kids back to school after dinner. With dinner provided, giving tired parents a break, the turnout is phenomenal. I’ve seen food come from a variety of creative resources: One school enlisted a staff member’s church to provide meals. Another got their local Chic-fil-A to donate the food. Or simply ask folks (perhaps a committee) to bring snacks & drinks to share.

The more you spread the word, the more successful your event will be… so SAY IT LOUD AND SAY IT PROUD!

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