Monday, August 22, 2016

$$ alterNATIVE #marketingstrategy 3 $$

Do a SCHOOL TOUR

This is on my agenda to work on... I've done small talks at schools in classrooms and when I sub, I tell the kids I'm an author and I always have a copy for them to borrow - some do, it's great!

But a guest speaker, that's big. I'm psyching myself up for it. I'm dreaming big, so I have to go for it. I know other authors who have done it and gotten great results. Word of mouth starts with kids telling their parents, because they HAVE to read in school.

So here's my advice, even though I'm still in the process of setting up talks. This is how I'm going about it...
  1. Put together a presentation
    • I'm a plotter, planner, put-it-down-on-paper person. I highly advise against sending anything to schools without knowing what you're going to say. And having a plan will give you more confidence to present it.
    • In the presentation, you must inspire or teach the kids. You have to relate to them, whether through personal experience or future goals.
    • It doesn't have to be long, but at least 20-30 min.
    • And make sure you make them laugh! Bring on the emotion - don't be a snoozer. They also love to volunteer to come up on stage!
    • Practice it!
  2. Make a list of schools - Being the ultra-organized person I am (though if you came to my house, you'd have serious doubts about that claim) I put together a spreadsheet of schools, addresses, principals, etc, and a column for "sent" and "response." Keep track of who you've already asked or gone to because you're going to be a big hit!
  3. Write a good letter - Introduce yourself, then tell them the gist of your presentation and how it relates to the kids. How will you inspire or encourage them? Why should they let you talk to their captive audience? Don't make it all about your books. (I also include a copy for their library)
  4. Mail them - They won't ask if you don't offer. Keep in mind, schools are busy, busy, busy. They plan way ahead, but sometimes need someone in a pinch. And just like a query letter, you may hear crickets, so don't feel bad if no one calls right away.
Some of you know I put together a SURVEY to find out what beast you are - that was always a big hit in the classrooms. For the bigger stage, I've put together a short talk and a skit for volunteers to help with. I'm excited and scared to go forth and do my first school-wide presentation in front of hundreds of sarcastic, judgy teens. Yikes! And yet, I will try. Why not? If I fall on my face, it will be memorable to them...

I've also done a few on-stage performances. So here's my last piece of advice...

On stage, the lights in your eyes dim the audience. Don't worry about them. Remember, you ARE one of the lights! Shine on!

I'll let you know how it works out!
PS - CRADLE ROCK info coming this week!

9 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've done school visits through email - does that count?

Christine Rains said...

Great advice. And good luck! Your books are awesome, and I think kids would get totally excited about them.

Carrie-Anne said...

Schools tours seem really fun. I've thought about doing something with the local dayschool, though since the school is Orthodox, I'd need approval. They can be very particular about what kinds of books they accept, though some of the books they use for the upper grades aren't exactly religious or even Jewish-themed.

cleemckenzie said...

I always enjoy school visits. They are a way to really connect with your readers. Thanks for the post today.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What terrific advice. Some people are even more nervous around young audiences than they are adults.

Heather R. Holden said...

Lots of great advice! Including a copy of your book for their library is a very nice touch. And best of luck with that school-wide presentation! Talking to hundreds of teens sounds very nerve-wracking, for sure...

Juneta Key said...

Great advice. Wow, nice plan.
Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Nice advice. Cool that you share these ideas.

Crystal Collier said...

Awesome! I keep saying I'm going to hit the speech ring once my kids are out of the house...but we'll see. Awesome advice and I'm hoping your presentations kick trash!