1) Start planning well in advance.
Many authors book school visits between six months and a year in advance. You will increase your options of finding an author that will meet all of your needs if you schedule ahead.
2) You will need to decide what specifically you hope to get from an author visit.
Would you like for the author/illustrator to speak to all of your students or just a segment? Do you want for the author to discuss their books and career in a general way or would you like for them to do a writer’s workshop with the students? Be sure to find out how many presentations an author is willing to do during the school day.
3) In what part of the school will you hold the author talks?
If you want to have a more intimate session, the library or an individual classroom works well. If your goal is to have as many students as possible participate, then you will want to consider the cafeteria or an auditorium as the appropriate setting. If you use a larger setting, it will be necessary to provide a microphone for the author.
4) Make sure that you know what the author’s audio-visual requirements are.
Many authors use either a slide projector, an overhead projector or need equipment for a
power-point presentation. Always inquire in advance so that you can get access to the
necessary equipment. Be sure to test the equipment prior to the first session.
5) Prepare the students for an author visit by reading and discussing one or more of the author’s books as part of classroom work.
Encourage your students to think of questions to ask the author. Many times an author’s book can be used not just in English class, but in history or social studies as well. Enlist the assistance of the art department to work with the students on illustrations and alternate book jackets.
6) Order books for your author event approximately eight weeks prior to the event.
There are a number of ways to order books for your author visit. You can work with a local bookstore, order the books directly from the publisher, or work with an agency that specializes in providing books for author events. Please feel free to call Dayton Bookings with any questions at all about book-ordering as you prepare for your event.
7) Arrange for a convenient location for the author to sign books for the students.
You can have a book-signing for 10-15 minutes following each author session or you can have students who wish to have their books signed come to the library at a designated time to meet and greet the author. It can be a very special time for the student to meet the author one-on-one as they have their book signed. For those students who want to have their book personalized, be sure to have the student’s name written neatly on a post-it note and affix the note to the title page of the book. That enables the author to have more time to talk with the student and alleviates spelling issues.
8) Plan a careful itinerary for the day well ahead of time.
You will need to think of transportation issues. Who will pick up the author from the airport? At what time of the morning will someone pick up the author at the hotel and transport them to the school? Please be sure to plan breaks in between the sessions and allow plenty of time for book-signing.
Careful planning can assure that both you, your students and the visiting author will enjoy
a productive and rewarding day.