Tuesday, October 13, 2009

School Visits and other Quests

It is nearly two weeks into October, and I am finally climbing onto the saddle.

One of the things I've been looking forward to the most since publishing Alvor is doing school visits. Ironic, in many ways because I'VE NEVER SEEN ONE DONE.

Ever. Not once.

I figured this could be a good thing. I mean, I can't copy everyone else even if I wanted to. And, I do have some plans in mind.

What brought on this conversation? Here's the scoop. I admit, I'm so excited about the possibilities.

Laura Jonio, the CRM at the Boise Barnes & Noble has organized an educators event for this afternoon at 4:30. The plan is for me to do a fifteen minute presentation followed by a book signing. Hopefully I'll have the chance to meet some teachers, librarians and other staff members of schools in this area.

One thing I've learned the hard way- if you're easily accessible and don't cost a fortune, nobody's intersted.

What does that mean? Let's say I'm a big time author. I call a handful of schools in the Boise area and tell them I'm planning on being in Boise for these two dates. Here is the cost of the visit- are you in or out? Pressure! Schools love pressure.

On the other hand, if you happen to live in Boise and you offer school visits for practically nothing, almost no one's interested. I say almost because there are a few that are willing to have me come even though I'm nearly always available and promise not to blow their budget.

Here's the other kicker. If Barnes & Noble sets the school visit up for me- it's free. Free.

I guess it's time I told you why I'm so excited about all of this. Besides the fact that I used to be a science teacher and I LOVE talking to kids, Laura Jonio has her mind made up that things are going to work out.

What she said was, "Let's sell a million books."
I said, "That's setting your sights pretty high."
She said, "Do you know book 4 of Fablehaven?"
Me, "Yes."
Her, "My name is in the back of the book. Do you know why?"
Me, "Uhhh."
Her, "Because I helped him sell a lot of books! We can do that with your's. Let's get you out there into the schools."
Me, "Okay. I'm game."
Her, "Good."

Then I got off the phone and went to my bookshelf. Sure enough. Her name is on page 541 of Fablehaven Book 4 by Brandon Mull.

That's when my week started looking a lot better. If she's as determined as she sounded on the phone, she's going to get me into a bunch of schools, and I'm going to have a blast visiting them.

If you came to this post to find out how to do a school visit, or to find out what my game plan is, I won't disappoint. Here's a brief outline that I'll be working with.

Why Follow your dreams?
*How reading can help you get to anywhere you want to be
*Practice your talents and let them grow
*Try new things
*If you never have a dream, your dreams can never come true.

What does an author look like as a kid?
*Good reading a writing habits
*Anyone can be good at reading, just start
*Even if you don't want to write books, reading teaches you, inspires, improves
problem solving skills and increases memory retention

Where do stories come from?
*Building a story using students' ideas

Pictures in your mind
*Read parts of the book out loud and talk about what students' see in their head.
*Show pictures of what some artists saw in their minds.

What if you fail?
*A discussion about the power of never giving up and the strength of persistence.
*True failure is never trying.


Synergy Girl said...

These school visits sound more fun than a bunch of assemblies that I can remember! I think you will be amazing!!

A. Grey said...

You want to know something? My schools NEVER had authors visit. Now that I'm where I am and I'm aware that authors like you and Kristin Cashore and others actually take time to go to schools and talk with the kids, I FEEL ROBBED.

I didn't even start writing until I was fourteen because it had always been presented (by teachers, not my parents) as this thing that you couldn't do if you DIDN'T already do it.

I think it's AWESOME that you're doing this!

L.T. Elliot said...

Wow. Way to go, Laura! That's a list to love!
I'm so excited for you. Can't wait to hear all about the success!

Melissa said...

I really really want you to come to my kids school. Really Really.

I also am glad that Laura found Laura because getting Alvor out there is an important thing!

Laura said...

Ha ha... thanks you guys. I wish I could go to Maryland. It would mean that I could visit some of my favorite people.

A. Grey- imagine a mom being jealous of her own kid who got to have an author school visit. I didn't even hear about it until after the visit!

L.T.- a list to love. Thanks. I hope it comes out that way. If nothing else, I'm planning on having lots of pictures to laugh at.

When Laura met Laura. ha ha..Do you know how many Lauras there are???? I've met a lot, and, of course, all of them are very cool.

So, um, Tamra... which school do your kids go to? I don't see why I couldn't go there for a visit. Then you'll find out first hand if I can really be amazing.