Many authors I know have lovely brochures produced for schools, glossy, full color, and it lists their prices per hour, or per session. I don’t have a brochure, though I do have a nice looking catalogue from my local printer. When I’m somewhere talking to a lot of kids and I get one that’s really into reading and books, I ask that child to take a card and catalogue to her school librarian and tell the librarian we met, and that I do school visits; show her your new book! The messenger is happy to do that. Sometimes I pass a library in a town and I stop, meet the librarian, tell her why I’m in town, give her the catalogue and my card, and ask her to tell the teachers about me. A library sale frequently follows, or an inquiry from a school. It helps that I have a wide audience, Pre K to adult. I email school librarians with information about my books and visits. Sometimes an invitation comes following a presentation I’ve given to a group or an appearance at a conference. I give out my expensive cards like penny candy!
I don’t charge schools. If they have a budget for it, then I’m happy to accept whatever they offer. But, if there isn’t a budget, I only ask to be able to send a pre order form home with the students so they are prepared if they wish to purchase books the day of my visit. The school often purchases books as well; I usually sell and sign a bunch of books.
I’m not making a lot of money. But, my books are making it out to the kids I write for. That’s the important part of what I do. And school audiences are so appreciative and gracious. I’ve never left a school wishing I hadn’t gone. I’m always glad I was there, whether it was a Title I or a private academy, public or private, charter or parochial, suburban or rural, inner city or in a prosperous town. Kids are kids, and I try to inspire them all to read and write. It’s what I do. And I love it when a little one slips his hand in mine, and says he likes my books.
I’ve eaten some really awful cafeteria lunches, (worse with each passing year), and I’ve learned a lot about generalized education and the kids our system serves. Seeing all grade levels, in all kinds of schools and neighborhoods, in different regions of the country, has given me a wide-angle lens on our educational systems. I’ve met some wonderfully professional educators, and some who should have chosen a different line of work. It’s been interesting. It’s been a privilege.