Recently I had my first-ever author school visit.
It. Was. Amazing.
And that’s me downplaying it. Talking to the kids, even via the Interwebs, about my book, my publishing journey, and what drives me as a writer, was an experience I’ll never forget. Because, really, I think that’s every kid-lit author’s dream. Being able to share our story and our writing with our readers, and seeing that enthusiasm first hand, validates everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve.
But you may be asking, “But, Lindsey, your book isn’t even out yet. How were you able to do an author school visit?”
Why, that’s an excellent question, random-blog-post-reader.
I’ve talked before about the benefits of attending writers’ conferences. Besides connecting with agents and editors who could get you a possible book deal (which is the whole dream anyway), you can also network with other writers. That’s how I connected with my critique partner, Katie Drake. We had exchanged manuscripts a couple years ago and reconnected with each other at the Writers’ League of Texas Agents and Editors’ Conference just this past summer. When I told her that I was getting published, not only was she amazingly supportive and happy for me, but she asked if I’d be willing to talk to her students about my publishing experience.
I almost swooned right then and there.
Fast forward to five months later, she emails me and we begin the plans for my author “visit.” Now, being in Louisiana, and her in Texas, I couldn’t actually visit but it was fairly easy to coordinate a Google Hangouts session.
Katie also did me the favor of generating a list of questions based off topics like the writing craft, editing, and publishing from the kids and sent them to me. (Side note: I teared up reading these questions because I could see how excited these kids were…for me. So crazy!) Using their questions as a guide I was able to generate a presentation that I thought would help them understand the fantastical world of being a writer and some hard truths about the publishing industry.
Shout Out to the 7th graders at STEM Academy at Roy J Smith middle school in Killeen, TX for being an awesome audience with wonderful questions!
For all those authors getting ready to do an author visit, here is the outline I followed. If you guys have other ideas or suggestions, I’d love to hear them because I hope this won’t be my last! Contact Me.