So I just finished a “school visit by phone.” I’ve done a lot of school visits, but I’ve never done one by phone before. I wasn’t sure how it would work, but it was great (except when my Mouse kept squeaking his kong wubba in the background…he needs to learn that when Dori is on the phone it is not playtime! Nor is it time to chase the cat!).

I don’t know if these kids were more enthusiastic than most groups are when I come to visit or if it’s just a completely different experience when you can’t see them, but I could really hear/feel the enthusiasm in that library. The kids took turns asking questions (it was like “extreme table topics” at Toastmasters…you never know what you’re going to be asked!) and they were all great questions!

They were really excited to hear about the sequel to Do You Know the Monkey Man…and really excited to hear that I just finished going over the final edits this morning (I explained that whole process). Then somebody asked if I was going to write “more books in the series.” I said I hadn’t even discussed this with my editor yet, but just between them and me (well, and now the whole world!) I was THINKING about a third book…

They cheered! I couldn’t believe it. (I’m thinking “let’s see what you think of book 2 before we start getting too excited about book 3.” After all, if book 2 doesn’t do well, there won’t be a book 3…but it’s nice to think about the possibility of book 3 anyway.)

Anyway…I’d definitely do this again! I didn’t have to get dressed up (for me, that’s the worst part of a school visit — the having to get dressed up!)…and to do it over the noon hour meant it really didn’t even interrupt my day. I worked this morning…I’ll do other work this afternoon. And I still got that little “high” I tend to get when I do a school visit!

School visit by phone

5 thoughts on “School visit by phone

  • December 10, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    Dori, that sounds like the coolest job in the world!
    And how flattering that the kids cheered about your next book.

  • December 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous experience, Dori. Would you mind sharing a bit more about it, if you have time? So there were no videocameras involved, and it wasn’t a live chat online? It was strictly an over the phone visit? Were you broadcast so everyone in the library could hear you? Or did the adult teacher/media specialist/whatever relay your answers? Could you hear the actual kids asking the questions? Or did the adult relay them to you? Was this a paid visit? I’ve been thinking about alternatives to in-person visits, as travel costs rise and as school budgets shrink. But the really high-tech ones are just too intimidating to me.

    And congrats on FINISHING-finishing your sequel. Can’t wait to read it!

    • December 16, 2008 at 9:54 pm

      Sure…no, no video cameras. Nothing online. It was just over the phone. I must’ve been on some sort of speaker phone…I could hear everything that was going on. The kids were all in the library. And yes, each kid asked me his/her question directly.

      I didn’t charge for this because 1) I’ve never done anything over the phone before and wasn’t sure how it would work and 2) it was going to be short.

      The librarian came to me…this wasn’t anything I solicited. We talked about a variety of formats from a 10-minute Q & A to an hour-long “presentation.” I decided I wouldn’t charge if they could keep it to 15 minutes, but that I would charge if it went over that. I was thinking $150/hour. Since I hadn’t done this before, I was hoping they’d choose the free route…and they did!

      It worked very well…I could hear/participate much better than I ever expected to…and like you said, it turned out to be a nice alternative to in-person visits. I need to think about what I want to say about it, but I think I will probably advertise a phone visit as an option on my website in the future.

      • December 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm

        Thanks for sharing, Dori. Sounds like it was a big success. I think $150/hr sounds really reasonable. And not having to do your hair or dress up…how great is that!


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