A follower of the Buzz Girls asked me to give some tips on author visits and speaking to school groups and libraries. I'll throw in some things that I think work for writers and I'd love for my fellow Buzz Girls to chime in in the comment section:
1. Know your audience. Get as much information going into your talk as you can. Know the ages of the crowd, if there will be teachers or parents there. Try to gear portions of your talk to them, as well.
2. Don't be nervous. Okay...easier said than done, but try to just be yourself. Relax and have fun. Be natural to your audience. Believe it or not, they're just as nervous meeting a "famous" author. LOL!
3. Send books ahead of time. If the school or library isn't familiar with your work, donate a set of books to their library for the kids to read ahead of time. That way you'll get some interesting questions because they're familiar with you.
4. Dress casually. Especially if you're writing for teens, dress down. Jeans, pants, casual Friday look. This actually puts them at ease because they can identify with you more because you have a casual "feel" to your presentation.
5. Get the audience talking. How boring is it for someone to stand in front of you for an hour going on and on and on? Yep...you've been there! Keep your talk to maybe 20 minutes of highlights of whatever you want to talk about...your career, how you started writing, what your favorite books are, whatever specialty you bring with you (for me, it's ghost hunting), and then open it up to questions. This makes the talk much more interactive and the time just flies!
6. Do a book sale/signing. After you talk, the kids will want to read what you're writing, Always try to have a book sale and signing following your speech. Also, have some giveaways they can take away in case they don't have money for books - pens, bookmarks, anything relating to your book (I have temporary ghost tattoos) is great. Use your imagination!
7. Have fun! Take lots of picture, send a thank you not to the librarian or media specialist that sets up your event, and put pics up on your blog.
Hope this helps any writers out there wanting to get out and meet their audience. As I said, I'd love the Buzz Girls to chime in with any additional advice!
And finally....our winner of the FIVE for FIVE GHOST HUNTRESS: THE GUIDANCE contest is.....(drum roll).....
rainesire111 - and friends Julia, Cecily, Tia, and BrynPlease email me at marley_gibson AT yahoo DOT com with your mailing address and I'll sign the books to all five of you and mail them to you. CONGRATS!!!
Marley = )