Last post I talked about what goes into planning for author visits; here I will take you through what I do once I’ve actually got one booked in.
Beforehand, I direct all booking inquiries to my website where they need to complete an online booking form. This captures key details like contact details, date, times, age range of children, number of children per session, and which book they’d like me to share.
I’ve found that schools usually have an idea of how they want the visit to run, but just to ensure we’re on the same page, I reconfirm everything in an email. This includes a proposed schedule, session lengths, activities, a bit about the books, book sales and donations, and my fee.
Once your visit is booked, you can get into a bit more detail with the school, including:
· Where will the visit take place? The school hall, classrooms, library? This will let you know the sort of space you are working with.
· If you need a projector for slides/videos you’ll need to let them know and make sure the facilities are available in the room you’re going to be in. If they don’t, you might need to have a backup plan in place.
· The timetable for the day. If you’re running different sessions in different classrooms, for example, you’ll need to know where you need to be and when. This will also be helpful if you are holding an book signing after school.
· Who will be there on the day to meet you and facilitate the visit? This might be the person you have organised the session through, or the teacher in charge of the session.
· How would the school like you to sell books? In-person, online, using their own payment system? The school might have something in place for this if they run sessions for author visits often. If they don’t, then giving them an idea of what you would normally do might help them to work out how they would like to facilitate your book sales.
· How will the school promote your visit? Can you provide them with any information/images to help?
· Are there any particular learning objectives they would like you to incorporate? This one might be focussed on more heavily in some schools than others and might mean you adjust your sessions a little for them to meet these objectives.
· Will there be any photography? If yes, ask if they can send you some images to use on your website social media after the event.
· Outline your cancellation policy and make your terms clear, for example, if the visit is cancelled within 4 weeks, the author must be paid in full.
On the day
Give yourself plenty of time to arrive. If you’re driving yourself there, make sure you know where to park too – I’ve been caught out not being able to find a parking space because of the morning school drop off rush.
Also, give yourself plenty of time to get set up, make sure your projector is working, your materials are there etc.
Drop off pre-ordered books and make sure everything is in place for the bookshop/signing later.
Enjoy the day and have fun inspiring lots of future creatives and book lovers!
After the visit
I usually follow up with a thank you, along with the invoice, and I always ask if they can write me a testimonial.
That’s a lot of things to consider and discuss with the school, but the more preparation you do beforehand, the smoother the visit will go. And the more visits you do, the easier it will become – promise!
If you’ve got any visits coming up, let me know! If you’re already running author visits, is there anything you’d add to my list?