Episode 25: Tech We Depend On

Episode 25:

(Bonnie) Welcome to the Author Visit Podcast! I’m author Bonnie Clark.

(Shanda) And I’m author-illustrator, Shanda McCloskey. 

(Bonnie) It’s August here in GA and our kiddos just started back to school, so the school visit season is upon us! Today we are talking with all about the tech we use and depend on for doing an author visit.

(Shanda) This was actually a request from a listener, and I’m so glad she wrote to us about this topic because it’s true, we haven’t gone into much detail about our tech requirements thus far!  But before we get started, let’s catch our listeners up on what we’ve been up to for the past few months. What’ve you been up to, Bon?

(Bonnie) I’m really happy to be back in the saddle with you Shanda!! I know we didn’t intend to take a break for this long but honestly I needed it. I’ve had some life things going on and honestly I have been discouraged on the book front for a while now, but things are looking up! I’m excited to announce that I have signed with a new agent: Kristin Terrette of MLM. We’ve been social media friends for years and liked each other’s posts. She’s an author turned agent and turns out we have a similar connection to the way we first met Shanda…My husband Keenan cut her and her family’s hair years ago! She lives here in north GA so it’s kind of cool to be able to meet in person and have coffee and talk about books. I had a fantastic experience with my previous agent- I adore her personally and professionally, but I really felt like it was time for a change. Already I feel re-energized, hopeful about my projects and I feel like my creative spark is back. SO yay!

(Shanda) Summer was busy with family stuff - both daughter’s birthdays, a family reunion, a family vacation, and some bigger house projects like cleaning out a big attic/closet space. I was in waiting mode as far as work stuff went, which was actually a good thing. I was waiting on the 2nd round of sketches feedback from Chronicle for the Rube Goldberg nonfiction book by Catherine Thimesh I’m illustrating, and also waiting on a contract from Disney Hyperion for an illustration project about an autistic child, called Lilibet makes a Friend by Kersten Hamilton. My agent also sent out my young graphic novel book proposal to a handful of editors, so I'm waiting on those responses too. Lots and lot’s of waiting.

(Bonnie) Let’s dive in…

Slides? Programs?

Bring a computer? Use the school’s?

How do you read your book? 

Shanda: I read the book on slides (spread by spread) so it’s easy to see. (I try to memorize the book so I don’t crink my neck or face away from the audience while reading too much) I’ve never been handed a PDF of my books with the text and all from my publishers so … To get the book into slide form I’ve done two things - 1. I took pics of the actual book pages, but the color always looks a bit off, so 2. I’ve recently discovered that if I borrow the e-book from Libby, I can flip through the book and take screenshots of each spread. The colors are perfection! And I figure it’s not stealing since it’s my book :) But I wouldn't do that with a book that isn’t mine.

What’s in your tech kit that you bring to each school? Extra Cords/adapters? Backups? 

Shanda: I bring my own my laptop computer and it’s charging block/cord, USBC adapter, HDMI cord, a 10 ft extension cord, a remote clicker with extra AAA batteries, and a jump drive just in case. PDF version of slides on jump drive, emailed slides to myself.

What’s gone wrong before? What did you do?

Shanda: Even with all my cords and dongles (I hate that word) I still ended up not being able to use my own computer at a school once. So they brought in a school computer and I used my jump drive to access the presentations, but there was not enough processing power/memory/whatever on that computer to open my presentations. Luckily, I had one saved as a flat PDF. So I used that and just flipped through the PDF for the presentation. Of course, I couldn’t play any videos on it but it was better than nothing - which is what I did for the first presentation of the day while the librarian and other education tried to troubleshoot. After that experience, I was happy as a clam to use a simple PDF with no videos. 

(Shanda) That wraps up our 25th episode all about the Tech We Depend On! You can find me at, on Twitter/X: @ShandaMcCloskey, and on Instagram/Threads: @shandamccloskeydraws

(Bonnie) This podcast is sponsored by and produced by Ben McCloskey. And if you enjoyed this episode, please rate-and-review us on Apple Podcasts! 

(Shanda) What did you think about this episode? Or maybe you have an idea for a future episode? Let us know through the contact form on 

Happy school visit season! Bye!!!