I’ve spent most of the day creating materials for my author packets…well, that and writing out the Toastmasters speech I came up with on my bike ride this morning. So far, I’ve written every one of my Toastmasters speeches on my bike. What am I going to do when it’s too cold/snowy/icy to bike??? I don’t know if I can write a Toastmasters speech anywhere other than on my bike! This one is Project 5: “Your Body Speaks,” which, as I’ve blogged about before, is something I struggle with in Toastmasters. So…my speech is on how to make better use of movement during a speech. Maybe I’ll actually learn something from myself?

But anyway…back to the author packet. I don’t know why I never made up author packets before. Probably the most useful page in there is the one that lists the contact info for the school visit person at each of my publishers. I tell you, tracking down that info at six different publishing house is a real PAIN. No wonder I’ve had a couple schools lately that didn’t want to deal with book sales. If it’s a pain for ME, I can only imagine what it must be like for the schools. Perhaps having a sheet of paper that lists all this info (assuming I’m good about keeping it updated) will help?

I’m also struggling with my “Tips for a Successful School Visit” sheet. I’ve seen these in other people’s author packets, but I didn’t pay close enough attention to the WORDING of these tips. I know other authors borrowed their “tips” from Toni Buzzeo and Jane Kurtz’s Terrific Connections with Authors, Illustrators and Storytellers (which is a great book for both schools AND authors!). But it’s one thing for Toni and Jane (Toni is a media specialist!) to say it in a book; it’s quite another thing for ME to say it in something I’m specifically sending to a school that has already invited me. (How do you politely tell a school to pay you the day you’re there or don’t make you stay in a stranger’s home or don’t forget to give you time for lunch?)

I am having fun with some of the activities and “curriculum connections” I’m trying to draw to all my books. It is entirely possible I’m getting a little carried away with STUFF to put in my author packet…tonight my husband and I are going to make bookmarks! I’ve never had bookmarks of any of my books…that’s why I was so excited when that school in Cedar Rapids had a contest last spring and asked the kids to design bookmarks to go with my books. I still have most of those bookmarks! I’m afraid to use them too much because I don’t want to damage any of them. I really should go laminate them or something.


Author Packets

13 thoughts on “Author Packets

  • October 2, 2007 at 8:04 pm
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    Dori,

    If it’s a local school, one you’re driving to, with six publishers, maybe you want to become a bookseller and provide the books yourself? You can set up a Baker & Taylor account and become a one-woman bookstore, just for your own books and just for school visits. I’ve done this, and besides having to file a sales tax form, it’s not too difficult. And since I started doing it, there is less of a chance that a school will choose not to sell my books.

    I’m still not using contracts myself (well, I sign one if the school provides one), but contracts can spell out things like being paid on the day of the visit, etc.

    I find if you remind people of the importance of lunch in a humorous way, it sticks in your craw less.

    Good luck!
    Jennifer J.

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    • October 2, 2007 at 8:23 pm
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      Hey, I was just thinking about you yesterday! I was wondering how you were…it’s been a while since we’ve chatted.

      I used to provide the books myself, but that was when I had fewer books and fewer publishers. One of my publishers doesn’t allow me to sell books. At all. But still, I will sell the books I can when a school requests it…but I prefer they PRE-ORDER (which was another issue I had with a school this fall…they were happy to do book sales, but they wanted me to bring/sell them and they didn’t want to do any pre-orders. I will be visiting with kids from 10 or 11 different schools over 3 days…I have probably 8 different titles that would interest them. Seemed like a nightmare waiting to happen.

      I do use a letter of agreement that spells out when payment should occur, so maybe that doesn’t need to be in my “tip” sheet. But yes…HUMOR! I could write the tip sheet in a humorous tone of voice…(why didn’t I think of that?)

      Reply
  • October 2, 2007 at 8:32 pm
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    When it gets too cold and snowy…cross-country skiing!

    Good luck with those author packets. My editor put a good fright into me because she wants to talk on the phone next week about school visits. What do I know about school visits? Nothing, that’s what. I assume all the teaching I’ve done will help, but my students have been college students, not grade school kids. Eek!

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    • October 2, 2007 at 8:42 pm
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      My neighbor keeps telling me I should try cross-country skiing, too! And I probably would like it…I power walk a lot, too. I just love being outside…anytime of year. But would you believe I grew up in Minnesota (and am half Norwegian), but have never been on any kind of skis ever?

      As for college students vs. grade school kids, from where I’m sitting, there’s not a whole lot of difference! šŸ™‚ Seriously, given your book/series, you will probably be invited to talk to middle school and high school kids most often. And you HAVE kids. You know what younger kids are like. If you can go in and lecture to college students every day…and go in with a DIFFERENT lecture every day (my mind boggles at that idea!), I KNOW you can come up with a couple of school visit presentations!

      You probably already have material you can use when you’re invited to talk to teachers/librarians.

      Reply
  • October 3, 2007 at 2:21 am
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    I have a contract template that spells out at least the paying part.

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    • October 3, 2007 at 6:48 pm
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      I do, too. Maybe I should just skip the “tips for a successful school visit” sheet altogether? Everything that’s really important is in my contract. I can ask them in my letter to please prepare the kids ahead of time. Anything else is probably going to sound condescending and/or make me look like a difficult author.

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      • October 3, 2007 at 7:05 pm
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        I don’t know – what else is in your sheet that isn’t covered in the contract?

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        • October 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm
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          It’s stuff I’m adapting from the Buzzeo and Kurtz book…stuff like don’t forget to confirm with the author (I usually remind them I’m coming myself about a week before the visit), allow time for bathroom/lunch breaks (automatic since I don’t speak more than 4 times), allow time to get from one place to another (hey, THEY know their building/facility better than I do), plan for a real lunch rather than a cafeteria lunch (I’m really not that picky), stuff on selling books (which is the whole reason I decided to do author packets in the first place — to try and spell things out ahead of time as to where/when they can get books, who to contact etc.), tell students not to ask the author to sign scraps of paper or body parts (that might be nice…I tell kids I don’t sign body parts…but I’m a wimp when a kid asks me to do something. I do sign all those scraps of paper.), don’t ask the author to stay in private homes (while I’ve been asked whether I’d prefer a hotel or home, this has never been a problem for me), don’t make the author ask to be paid (it IS clear in my contract that I expect to be paid the day of…and I remind them of that when I confirm the visit)…

          Yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think this really isn’t necessary.

          Reply
  • October 3, 2007 at 11:48 am
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    Laminating is the easy part. But if you cut them yourself–JEEZ! Watch the fingers!

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    • October 3, 2007 at 6:49 pm
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      Oh, I’m not planning on cutting them! It’s a sheet of bookmarks that I’m going to include in my author packet so the school can photocopy (AND CUT!) bookmarks for all the kids if they’d like to do that.

      I want to laminate some for myself! šŸ™‚

      Reply
      • October 3, 2007 at 9:42 pm
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        book mark masters

        I definitely do book mark masters and ask schools to photocopy them on card stock. And I usually sign them, too. One of the things I dislike is when a kid tears out a sheet of notebook paper and comes up and asks for your signature. Of course, once you start, every kids wants your signature. But if you do the signature on the bookmark–then every kid gets one.

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        • October 3, 2007 at 9:47 pm
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          Re: book mark masters

          EXACTLY! Every kid wants one. And then your hand gets tired while you’re signing actual books. And the school is littered with all these scraps of paper with YOUR name on them because the kids have lost/dropped them. But at least I made a kid happy for two seconds.

          I wondered if the bookmark would satisfy kids or not since it’ll be a PHOTOCOPY of my signature rather than the real thing. But isn’t a bookmark way cooler than a scrap of paper? And by including a sheet of bookmarks in my author packet, I have an excuse to tell the teacher/media specialist to please USE THESE rather than have kids ask me to sign a bunch of scraps of paper.

          Reply

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