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twnkltoz
01-02-2008, 05:40 AM
Has anyone tried giving talks at your local schools and doing signings there? How'd it go?

Toothpaste
01-02-2008, 05:47 AM
Yes. Yes I have.

In fact I find schools to be the best location to do a reading and give a talk because you are guaranteed an audience. Besides kids are awesome.

Now I don't know what age range your book is, mine is middle grade so I have read/talked to grades 3 - 7, but if you have any specific questions, I could do my best to answer them!

Strongbear
01-02-2008, 07:55 AM
I'm not too sure I would want to give a talk at a school. Some kids can be very disruptive and might not want to hear about your book or even hear you read. Sometimes they have their own little world that they're solely interested in. Of course it depends on the school and even the class as well as if they are kids who actually like reading.

twnkltoz
01-02-2008, 08:16 AM
My book is aimed at 10-14 year-olds and is about horses. So...I'm not sure if it would be a good candidate. I'm chewing on it.

Toothpaste
01-02-2008, 10:08 AM
I really disagree Strongbear. Even in the most "energetic" groups, the kids have been nothing but positive. Maybe it's because I have a background in performance, I don't know. But I have now been to seven different schools, all from different social economic backgrounds. I have talked to audiences of anywhere from 30 - 200. Each time the kids are really thrilled to be there, enjoy simply getting out of class, and afterwards line up for autographs (I have had to sign backpacks, shoes and hands - oh and also books!).

Granted I think the higher up you go in ages, the more tricky it becomes, but if your book is for 10 - 14 yearolds, you could at least talk to grades 5 - 7 before things get too obnoxious.

Like I already said, I have some experience now in the area. I am also an actress so if you want any performance tips and I could help with that as well. Only of course if you are interested.

twnkltoz
01-02-2008, 10:36 AM
Thanks! I do have a background in performance and public speaking, so I think I'll do ok.

Another question: did you sell some books? How? Did you send order forms ahead of time so they could bring money, or what?

Strongbear
01-02-2008, 06:00 PM
I really disagree Strongbear. Even in the most "energetic" groups, the kids have been nothing but positive. Maybe it's because I have a background in performance, I don't know. But I have now been to seven different schools, all from different social economic backgrounds. I have talked to audiences of anywhere from 30 - 200. Each time the kids are really thrilled to be there, enjoy simply getting out of class, and afterwards line up for autographs (I have had to sign backpacks, shoes and hands - oh and also books!).

Granted I think the higher up you go in ages, the more tricky it becomes, but if your book is for 10 - 14 yearolds, you could at least talk to grades 5 - 7 before things get too obnoxious.

Like I already said, I have some experience now in the area. I am also an actress so if you want any performance tips and I could help with that as well. Only of course if you are interested.

I also have a background in public speaking, as well as some teaching (secondary school - 11-18 year olds). Maybe our experience differs because in your case, you were an excuse for them to get out of class, as you mentioned, whereas for me, I was the class. As far as my experience goes, many weren't interested even to be in school or any class that they took (not simply mine). I'm not saying all, but a large number, who of course would then spoil it for those who did want to be there. Many were already closed to even hearing any kind of learning because, before I had even taught a lesson or opened my mouth at the start of a particular school year, you could already hear the racist jibes from the kids as soon as I had walked into a class, so of course they were prejudiced against actually being receptive to anything.

And my book isn't really for 10-14 year olds anyway but more an older age group.

bethany
01-02-2008, 06:18 PM
I can't really do school visits cause I'm an English teacher, so it's hard to do two things at once, and I'm already going to be out speaking at some conferences.... but most of the YA or MG authors I know who do them, love them. We had an author come and do a visit last year and it was very successful.

At any time if we feel like getting off topic (but still talking about writing) they ask me or I tell them about whatever step my book is in right now, they LOVE to hear about it.

Toothpaste
01-02-2008, 08:20 PM
Yes Strongbear, there is a huge difference between being a teacher and a guest speaker. That much I know (my entire family are teachers). Being a guest speaker isn't about trying to "teach" the kids anything. I mean the hope is that they learn something, but really it's just about connecting with the kids for an hour (half an hour). So you are an excuse to get out of class. Also, even though I don't really see myself as anything special, kids do look at authors as celebrities. Even if you are not quite as cool as Paris Hilton (!), they still look at you as if you are famous. And fame gets a great deal of respect.

Inky
01-03-2008, 01:03 AM
My daughter's Language Arts teacher has asked me to come speak to the class after Winter Break. I'm looking forward to it. Kids are great, inquisitive, and very, very smart. Plus, my daughter was elated that her mom was going to be a guest speaker.

You never know when you might have ingited something in a young person...and they grow up to be the next Hemmingway.

As for book sales....several of the teachers purchased my book, and had me sign them before everyone broke for Christmas. Doesn't get any better than that. Oh, sure, it's not the sales numbers that will make me a Rowling, but it's flattering, and all those potatoes begin to add up; furthermore, this provides me with the experience of speaking to a group regarding my work, and writing techniques. Trust me, kids are a hard audience; they see through faking it, and have no qualms shooting questions up at you, making sure you're the for real deal.

Toothpaste
01-03-2008, 05:56 AM
I have sold several books. It sort of depends on the situation. Usually I tell the teacher that I'll be bringing some along and to pass on the info to their students. Sometimes the teacher collects money ahead of time, sometimes the students bring money with them to school that day. Usually the kids are very keen because they've just met me and stuff.

I really love going to the schools (though it does take a lot out of me, I don't know how teachers do it all day every day - I'm in serious awe!)

twnkltoz
01-03-2008, 08:42 PM
Thanks so much for your replies! I think I'm going to give it a shot! I'm going to offer myself to the high school, too...not that I expect to sell any, but to talk to kids who want to be authors.

kimmer
01-04-2008, 07:38 AM
I've been in urban public and private schools for over eight years and have always been in a guest speaker/special trainer role. I love it (most times, except when fights break out).

Two weeks ago I volunteered to help out at a scholarship clinic at a high school (I'm a scholarship expert) and while it would be inappropriate for me to sell books directly to the kids during the school day, I do ask them to sign up for my blog by writing down their email address.

I don't know of any guidance counselors or teachers who would let me bring books to sell during the instructional day. Maybe at a special event. I'm there to help students go to college and, of course, if the goodwill rubs off and they want to visit my website, etc. that's icing on the cake.

I do have a small roster of community organizations who pay me to come as an instructor. They have openly and willingly promoted my website, upcoming events and my soon-to-be-published book.

Think carefully about "guest speaker" vs. "paid trainer" because if you are good at presenting, and free, you might wear yourself out.

Good luck! If you love kids, you'll love doing it.

P.S. I've seen adults who should have been better behaved, not just students.


Thanks so much for your replies! I think I'm going to give it a shot! I'm going to offer myself to the high school, too...not that I expect to sell any, but to talk to kids who want to be authors.

twnkltoz
01-10-2008, 10:04 AM
Well, my daughter brought home a paper today saying that she gets 50 extra credit points if she brings in a speaker to talk about their career. They even give a bunch of points to talk about for ideas! I told her I'd do it, although I'm going to wait until my book comes out, I think. She's a sophomore in high school if I didn't mention that already.