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Episode 20: The Visit Planning Workflow Episode (for kidlit authors)

Episode 20: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/the-visit-planning-workflow-episode

 

Children's authors, critique partners, and friends (Bonnie Clark and Shanda McCloskey) talk about their (detailed) workflow processes from the moment a school reaches out with interest in having them present to students to the day of the event.

The last episode was about reaching out and hopefully getting a few “bites” from schools wanting to schedule an author visit with you. And let’s say it worked! A school has contacted you saying they’d love you to come speak to their students. Super! ... Now what? What exactly should you do next? 

For this episode, Shanda and Bonnie share their different workflow processes they have put in place starting from the first inquiry email from a school. Hopefully, you authors can take some of what you hear today on this episode and use it to build/tweak your own unique visit planning workflow process. There’s probably a thousand different ways you can handle this stuff. This is just what is working for them… for now. We hope you enjoy the listen!

 

Kid book review by Amera Clark.
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

Where to find us:

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too! And if our podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a donation to help keep us going!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening to the 20th episode of the Author Visit Podcast!

Episode 19: HOW, WHEN, and WHO to Reach Out To (for kidlit authors)

 

Episode 18: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/the-how-when-and-who-to-reach-out-to-episode-for-kidlit-authors

Children's authors, critique partners, and friends (Bonnie Clark and Shanda McCloskey) talk about their various personal experiences with drumming up school visit bookings. We hope you enjoy the listen!
 

Kid book review by ________.
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

Where to find us:

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too! And if our podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a one-time or reoccurring donation to help keep us going!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening to the 19th episode of the Author Visit Podcast!

Episode 18: All About the School Visit Section On Your Author Website

Episode 18: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/18-all-about-the-school-visit-page-on-your-author-website

Children's authors, critique partners, and friends (Bonnie Clark and Shanda McCloskey) talk about how to structure and organize the school visit section of your author website in order to book more visits! 

 

A note from Ben (web developer and producer of this podcast) on websites:

You don’t have to hire anyone to build you a website nowadays, but if do it yourself, you need to think about the structure of the site. It’s pretty easy to get a WordPress or SquareSpace or other site up and running quickly, but you really need to think through the structure of pages in general. Don’t make people think too hard about what information is where. Don’t try to be avant-garde or unique with regard to menus, navigation, and layout. Make sure the wording is clear and succinct throughout the site, especially on the author visit page. Like, put all your information out there, but try not to repeat yourself, and don’t ramble. As for SEO, make sure to title the pages with what you want to come up as in a Google search (example, mention your town or area somewhere if you want to appear in searches for author visits in that area). Most modern systems like WordPress come with themes that are already mobile friendly, but be sure to test it out and try a few different themes to get the look you’re going for. Worst case-scenario, if you break something, WordPress developers are pretty easy to come by on sites like Upwork, and there’s probably one in your area if you search for it specifically.

 

Now, let's talk about the school visit section of your site...

 

Bonnie, what’s your philosophy on this subject?

  1. Easy to read/ follow

  2. Everything you need to know about me/ my presentations 

  3. Author visits in action (me & students)

  4. Should get a good “vibe”and snapshot of my personality

  5. Testimonials (new this year!) 

  6. Accessible contact information for further questions
     

Shanda: ​​I believe that a good author-visit web page does 3 jobs:

  1. Gains trust

  2. Informs

  3. Calls to action

My author visit page is first a place to show that I welcome visit opportunities AND I have experience speaking to kids. I show this through my words, photos, and testimonials. This is the gaining trust part. 

Once the school sees evidence that I can provide an engaging program, then they will start looking for more detailed information. This is the inform part. There are links to my IN-PERSON visit packet pdf and my VIRTUAL visit packet pdf. These pdfs list my presentation menu, pricing, book sale info, and tips for a great visit. 

I update these pdfs every summer before the new school year begins. Sometimes I might remove a presentation that I’m not crazy about anymore, add a new presentation to the menu, or adjust my pricing. 

*Notes on pricing: I choose to have a price that I show plainly. It’s the same for all schools and it’s all-inclusive with travel expenses as well. I do this because I got burned before. A school had a per night hotel price cap that was outdated. So I lost hundreds of dollars by letting them “pay for my travel”. I just did a little research and built that into my price. It’s served me well so far. And schools like it because they know exactly how much my visit will cost with one simple price. I saw author Stacy MacUnulty do this on her author visit webpage. And it made so much sense to me. She actually uses a booking service now, but when she booked all her own visits like I do, she used this method. A simple, all-inclusive price for various distances- Local, Semi-local, and Beyond. I do the same.

My author visit page also has an availability calendar.  It’s a little fancy and I may have seen one other author use one, so it’s definitely NOT a must-have, but I love it.. It’s useless though if you don’t keep it up, but so awesome that schools can see immediately if a date they have in mind is clear for me or not. My husband (Ben) made this possible. I wouldn’t have done it on my own but it’s linked to a Google calendar that I solely use for this purpose by blocking off dates that are unavailable (like my kids spring break and dr appt etc.) and adding school visits as they are booked. 

Last, you need a call to action! Something that tells the school if you like what you see, do THIS to start the process. I have a contact form with the words “Let’s Plan A Visit” above it. One of the fields in my form is “how did you hear about me?” This is so interesting. I’ve learned that most schools find me through personal recommendations and plain ol Google searches.

Conclusion - Your website is a key tool to getting more school visits! If you simply and clearly put most of your info right there on your website, it’ll cut out a bunch of time-wasting back and forth emails for both parties. Just put the info schools will need to know on your website and that alone will make it that much easier to get bookings. A school who is looking at a few authors at once may choose the author that makes the process easiest to access. It’s a no brainer. Everyone is busy. Especially educators. So try to avoid sounding cryptic and secretive on your school visit webpage. You don’t want your vibe to be … I really don’t have a school visit plan or pricing in place but I’ll throw something together if you want me bad enough to jump through my hoops. 

No matter what I ‘m shopping for, if the price is hidden then that tells me - it’s probably overpriced and will be work because I’m going to need to haggle or something. 

“If you want to make school visits a larger part of your work and income, your author-visit webpage should sing that song!”    -Shanda

 

That wraps up our 18th episode!

Quote: (Bonnie) “Be the energy you want to attract.” - Buddha 
Let your website, social media, posts etc. reflect what you want to attract.
 

Kid book review by Beni.
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

Where to find us:

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too! And if our podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a one-time or reoccurring donation to help keep us going!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening!

Episode 17: What To Do In 2022

Episode 17: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/17-what-to-do-in-2022

 

Children's authors, critique partners, and friends (Bonnie Clark and Shanda McCloskey) look back at what worked and what didn't (school-visit wise) in 2021 in order to set new goals and improve in 2022.


Kid book review by Amera.
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

 

Where to find us:

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too! And if our podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a one-time or reoccurring donation to help keep us going!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening! Happy 2022!

Episode 16: Creative Add-Ons for School Visits

Episode 16: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/16-creative-add-ons-for-school-visits

 

Bonnie and Shanda interview award-winning Children's book author and national speaker, Shannon Anderson, about her experience offering creative add-ons for school visits. 

SHANNON ANDERSON IS AN AWARD-WINNING CHILDREN'S BOOK AUTHOR AND NATIONAL SPEAKER. SHE TAUGHT FOR 25 YEARS, FROM FIRST GRADE THROUGH COLLEGE LEVEL AND WAS NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 10 TEACHERS WHO INSPIRED THE TODAY SHOW. SHANNON LOVES DOING AUTHOR VISITS, PROVIDING PD FOR TEACHERS, MENTORING ASPIRING WRITERS, AND KEYNOTING AT EVENTS.


Let’s get to it! … Questions we asked Shannon:
 

  • Shannon, when we first started chatting about you joining us on the podcast, you mentioned that you had been binge listening to it. So, then I asked you what is a topic we haven’t yet discussed or discussed well on the podcast that you could help shed some light on for us, and you suggested this episode: Creative Add-ons for School Visits. So here we are! Can you give us an overview of what you mean by creative add-ons and why  are you interested in the topic ?

  • How can this benefit schools? And authors?

  • How can this help with funding?

  • You were a teacher, so what do schools need and what can they really use?

  • Are these ideas things that can be carried to the virtual realm as well?

  • Speaking of which, if you could look into your crystal ball, how do you see this school year panning out as far as authors visiting in-person again?

  • And wherever else we go with this conversation...

 

Thank you SO much for chatting with us, Shannon!


Kid book review by Laney Jones (11).
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

 

Where to find us:

 

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too! And if our podcast is helpful to you, please consider making a one-time or reoccurring donation to help keep us going!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening!

Episode 15: Artist In Residence Programs, A Conversation With Joyce Hesselberth

Episode 15: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/15-artist-in-residence-programs-a-conversation-with-joyce-hesselberth

 

Bonnie and Shanda interview author-illustrator, Joyce Hesselberth, about her experience doing an artist in residence program in collaboration with a school.

Joyce Hesselberth is the author-illustrator of several artful educational books including:  Mapping Sam, Pitter Pattern, and Shape Shift. Joyce also has a brand new beautiful book out called Beatrice Was A Tree.

Fun fact: Joyce is another agency sister of mine!


Let’s get to it! … Questions we asked Joyce:

  • To start, we’d love to hear about your new book, Beatrice Was A Tree, and the inspiration behind it!
     
  • So I was super intrigued when you told me you were doing an artist-in-residency with a school… What exactly is that? And can you tell us about your recent experience doing it in partnership with a school?
     
  • What (in your opinion) does the school/students benefit from a program like this vs. a one day school visit?
  • How should artists go about pricing something like this? And who sets it up … librarian, art teacher, principal, PTA? 
     
  • Have you ever heard of an “author in residence” program? And what could that look like for non-artist writers?
     
  • Joyce, do you also offer single day visits and virtual visits? And which is your favorite?
     
  • Do you have any other advice for authors, illustrators, or educators about trying an artist in residence program?
     

Thank you SO much for chatting with us, Joyce!


Kid book review by Harvey McCloskey (11).
 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):

 

Where to find us:

 

This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, we would surely appreciate it if you would rate and review us and please share with others who might like it too!


If you have comments or even ideas for future topics to cover on an episode let us know on the contact form at AuthorVisitPodcast.com. With your help, kids can record a book review there too and it might get used as the Kid Book Review on one of our future episodes! There’s even a printable book review template there to help guide you if needed.


Thanks for listening!

Episode 14: Talking to Students about Social Emotional Learning (SEL) with Susan Verde

Episode 14: https://authorvisitpodcast.com/14-talking-to-students-about-social-emotional-learning-with-susan-verde

Bonnie and Shanda interview New York Times Best Selling Author of the I Am Series, Susan Verde, about her author visit philosophy surrounding social emotional learning (SEL).

Susan Verde, is the New York Times Best Selling Author of the “I Am” series (which were illustrated by Peter Reynolds): I Am Human, I Am Yoga, I Am Peace, I Am Love and I Am One, along with many other books and a brand new book called THE TOSSY-TURNY PRINCESS AND THE PESKY PEA! A fairy tale to help you fall asleep! (illustrated by Jay Fleck).

Fun fact: Susan and Shanda happen to have the same literary agent!

 

Let’s get to it! … Questions we asked Susan:
 

  • To start, tell us about your new book and how you came up with the topic of sleep for this one?
     

  • Ok Susan, can you give us an overview of what you typically do during a school visit and what about it is uniquely you?
     

  • Similar to Bonnie, many of your books fall in the social emotional learning (SEL) category which is a hot topic these days! What’s your SEL philosophy when presenting to kid readers?
     

  • Has your visit schedule been pretty busy this year in light of the pandemic? Did you offer virtual visits? How did that go for you?
     

  • Has a student ever brought up something uncomfortable? How did you / would you handle that?
     

  • As an educator, mother, and school presenter, what do you see as the biggest SEL need/gap right now? Any thoughts on how to bridge that gap?
     

  • Did I just imagine this or did you once tell me you used to be a kindergarten teacher?! How has that experience affected you as a presenter?
     

  • Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or an extrovert? How does that play into your visits?
     

  • How many school visits do you typically like to do a year?
     

  • Before we wrap up, do you have any last tips for our listeners (authors, educators) about school visits or SEL?


    We now know there are these social emotional pieces that are necessary for learning. - Susan Verde


This podcast is sponsored by AuthorVisitCentral.com and produced by Ben McCloskey of EngineIndustries.com. And if you enjoyed this episode, please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and share it with others who might enjoy it too! Thanks for listening to this episode of the Author Visit Podcast! 

 

Kid book review by Beni McCloskey (6).

 

Resources and books mentioned in this episode (with affiliate links that help support this podcast):


Thanks for listening to this episode of the Author Visit Podcast!