Author visits can be a great way to get students excited about writing, illustrating, and reading. School visits are an opportunity for me to introduce my books to young people. The best school visits are well organized and well promoted by the school PTA or sponsoring organization. Students who anticipate an author visit with excitement will get more out of the visit. Here's how some of my best school visits have gone:
1. The school representative contacts me and we set a date for the author visit.
2. I send copies of my books to the school for placement in the school library.
3. I provide the school teachers with order sheets to send home with the students, announcing my visit and encouraging the students to order book copies ahead of the visit.
4. Students bring the order sheet with payment back to their teachers. The school representative gathers order information and sends it back to me. I sign and personalize each copy before the school visit.
5. Teachers and/or the school librarian may read my books with the students before the school visit. Or they might want to give an art or writing assignment based on my books to encourage their interest.
6. The day of the visit arrives. I meet with one or two classes at a time. We talk about creativity, writing, making pictures, and making books. We talk about revising and editing. I show them the steps of making an illustration, from sketch to painting to printed proof. I read a book, or two if there's time. I meet with younger classes typically for a shorter amount of time: 15-20 minutes. The older classes typically meet with me longer: 20-30 minutes.
7. The teacher hands out personalized books to each of the students who ordered them.
8. My fee is somewhat negotiable. One way to make it work is to charge a fee to the school or parent association to cover my time and library book copies, and then donate a percentage of book sales back to the school/parent association. For example, we might settle on $500 for a full day visit at the school. Then, let's say sixty books are sold to students at a discounted school rate of fifteen dollars each, and I donate two dollars per book back to the school or parent association. At the end of the visit, then, I would receive a check from the school or organization for the visit fee plus book sales minus my donation, or $500+60($15-$2)=$1280 and the school or organization would keep two dollars per book $2x60=$120. The visit ends up costing the school or organization the visit fee minus the per-book-donations back to the school, or $500-$120=$380. Please feel encouraged to negotiate a fee that makes sense for your school or class.
If you have additional questions, or if you'd like to inquire about scheduling an author visit, please email me at jkirk(at)jkirkrichards.com.