Monday, May 7, 2012

CHILDREN'S BOOK WEEK - With GAP Author Margot Finke

I am one of the Guardian Angel Publishing Authors
( affectionately known as GAP )

We are Blogging ALL 7 days of
Children's Book Week
(See list of other GAP bloggers below)


May 7th - 13th, 2012 

Every day this week,  

7x GAP authors will BLOG about their passion:

Books for Children


GAP authors also offer 2x FREE GIFTS
you can WIN

( entry form at the end of this post )  

A cool tote bag of books by GAP authors
a FREE Picture Book Critique - by me!



So. . .  let's get to it, mates. 

 My Topic for

 Monday May 7th

Virtual School Visits – Skype Makes it Happen!
 A wake up call for authors, teachers and librarians. 

Video of me chatting about Virtual School Visits.

Come on folks, this is the 21st century: the age of awesome technology.  SKYPE and a webcam are tools authors can use to visit far flung schools, that in the past never got the whiff of an author visit.  

Teacher and Librarian Benefits:

Whether you wrangle a grade school, middle or high school class, there are REAL  LIVE authors out there who would be thrilled to offer your class a VIRTUAL VISIT.  Just sign up for a FREE Skype account, and make sure the webcam is working.

Kids today are savvy techie users.  And, your reluctant readers and bored students perk up no end when a published author visits FOR REAL.  Your virtual author will chat about the hard work and  thrill of writing their books,  problems getting them published, and how they learned to promote the hard way.  Self published authors will highlight the highs, lows, and frustrations of getting their first book on the bookstore shelves - or into Kindle or iPhone etc.  Disaster tales abound.  They will read from their latest book, happily answer student questions - and ask a few of their own!  The icing on your Virtual Visit is when the author reads a story they have written to your class - and then answers questions about it.

Most authors are more than willing to fit in with what  you, the teacher, needs from them - be it a short chat about what makes a great story, how to HOOK readers early,  writing in rhyme, or even judge a class writing competition.  Negotiate what you want from your virtual author, and they will set up their visit to fit your class needs.

Author Benefits: 

WOW! I could go of for pages. Virtual school visits are easy.  No long trips, or overnights in mangy hotels.  You do it in your own comfort zone. Wear slippers: no one will see them!  Just make sure your hair, lipstick and smile get an "A" plus from kids in the next state, or in a country on the other side of the globe.

The secret is to prepare ahead.  Chat or e-mail with the teacher or librarian, and get a clear idea of what they expect from you.   Make notes, have your props handy, and if you boo-boo, just laugh it off and go right on.  And remember, you can e-mail the teacher with file attachments that contain a short lesson on writing,  lists of great books the class might enjoy,  including yours, and any facts or details that need to be read, as well as mentioned on screen.  Send coloring sheets for younger classes.  The teacher can make copies on the spot.  Attach a nicely designed page that kids can take home to their parents.  Show book covers, links to where they can be purchased, and a short bio about yourself. Add links to your website and your e-mail address.  Parents like to be able to see your books, know something about you, and even e-mail you if they feel like it.  This page can be copied by the teacher and sent home to parents.

Think of questions to ask the class ahead of time, and be ready for the doozies they will ask you.  One child asked me if my red hair was real.  This was kinda tricky to answer, because I AM a natural red-head, but time snuck in some gray, so I "helped" keep it red. Admitting this was not fun, but the kid looked happy with my answer, and I was glad I fessed up. 

Ask them what they like to write, what their favorite books are, and if they enjoy reading.  Your enthusiasm for reading and writing will rub off on the class.  I tell kids that reading is a Magic Carpet Ride to adventure, fun and knowledge - all from the safety of your own room.

And what does all this cost the school?  Very little thank goodness.  With so many school districts today in desperate need of money for the bare bare teaching necessities, a Virtual School Visit can be negotiated to whatever is agreeable for the author and the school.  I do suggest somewhere between $25 and $100, depending on the number of classes visited, and the time the author spends in each class, and the school budget.


Here are some resources that have proved helpful to me.

*Put the word Skype into a Google search, and all sorts of pages of help and interest pop up. 

Surf on over to some of the other Guardian Angel Bloggers
and enjoy their Children's Book Week posts.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Entry during the Children's Book Week celebration by Guardian Angel Publishing does not guarantee winning the FREE tote bag of Guardian Angel Publishing books, or the FREE picture book manuscript critique by Margot Finke. Winner of the FREE picture book manuscript critique by Margot Finke shall not hold Ms. Finke liable in publication success of submitted picture book manuscript.


*Books for Kids – Manuscript Critiques 
*Virtual School Visits – SKYPE makes it happen

CLICK to Download
this fun FREE kid's book