This week I had my first author presentation at a school! It was my own school, of course 🙂
I wasn’t sure what I would talk about when I first discussed the possibility with our school librarian. She suggested discussing the writing process and how I wrote my book, so that is what I initially sought out to do. However, when I was finished planning that out, it all seemed disappointingly dry. I wanted to make sure to engage kids and get them psyched about writing and possibly peek their interest in my book. It was starting to stress me out, so I decided to pretend it wasn’t happening, since I hadn’t yet gotten a go-ahead from the principal.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the go-ahead until two days before… I had two days to throw together a presentation for the fifth and sixth graders! Eek! (My experience is with first and third graders, so a whole library full of the “big kids” was a little terrifying, oddly enough…) I still felt like the presentation I had planed was very dry, so I went online to see what other authors had done, and one bit of advice really stood out to me. An author mentioned “telling your story”. My immediate thought was, “I don’t have a story. I’m boring.” But the author seemed to anticipate my response, because in the next paragraph she discussed how everyone has a story, even if they feel like theirs isn’t as interesting as someone else’s. So I attempted to put a little more of myself into my presentation by explaining a little bit about me and my history and how those things really affected my story. I still kept a few slides on The Writing Process, but I changed the format to focus more on lessons I have learned, then steps in the writing process.
I was incredibly anxious about the presentation, but I did try to throw in a few fun things for the kids to get excited about. I asked for questions after my presentation, and then I read a portion of the book. I was happy that more than a few kids were laughing at all the right parts as I read, so it must have been somewhat enjoyable to them! Last, I had the teachers write down their students’ names on pieces of paper, so at the end I could raffle off a signed copy of my book. Again, more than a few kids groaned when I called someone who was not them, so I suppose that was also positive, since that meant that they were hoping to get it!
All in all, I think it was a positive experience! We will see how next week goes when I sell my book at the bookstore. I’m interested to see how many copies will be sold, since most kids’ parents only give them about 10 dollars and if they buy my book (which I’ll be selling for 7 dollars) that will take up most of their money, which means they will have to sacrifice buying other books to buy mine… I guess we will see if it will be worth it to them!
I’m going to attach a copy of my power point below if anyone is interested in seeing the sort of things I shared. I did not put everything I said on each slide, so you have to sort of piece parts of it together, but I hope it’s helpful to any fellow aspiring authors like myself. Some of the animations did not come across below, so if you follow the “Author Presentation” link, you can download the original file.