We have coordinated hundreds of author visits in the US and abroad. We believe the key to successful events is planning and publicity.
Here are some suggestions to make your event a success:
Contact the Author/Illustrator
Once you decide who you would like to invite to your school, contact them via their publisher, event coordinator or through their web site. Request information on their honorarium, expenses, presentations and qualifications. Many authors schedule events six months to a year in advance.
Once you confirm an event date, get it in writing. Put a contract together outlining the honorarium, payment, date of visit, what is included in the visit and who is responsible for travel arrangements. If your District has special requirements in order to initiate payment (requiring W9 form or District contract), make the author aware as soon as possible.
Contact the publisher or a local bookstore to make arrangements for book sales on the day of the visit. It is helpful to send pre-order forms out prior to the event. Most authors and illustrators are happy to autograph books in front of students during the visit.
Publicize the Event
If students know something about the event before it happens, it really adds to the excitement of the visit. Be creative! Read the author's books to students, send out flyers, put up a bulletin board display, insert a fun fact about the author in the daily bulletin all week prior to the visit, showcase the author's books. Have teachers help students generate questions for the author. Contact local media to make them aware of the event.
Be a Good Host
Confirm the presentation schedule with the author a few weeks prior to the event. Make sure there is enough time between presentations and the author knows what grade levels and the number of students that will be included in each presentation. Confirm AV needs for the event (Mac/PC, microphone, projector, screen...) E-mail special driving and parking instructions to the author. Form a student/staff greeting committee to escort the author through the day. Create welcome displays, host a luncheon, make the author feel welcome. Have bottles of water available throughout the day. Be sure to have an adult volunteer organize the book ordering, signing and distribution.
After the Event
Send a thank you note. Give the author feedback. Provato Events sends a feedback form out after every event. The authors and illustrators we work with are always looking for ways to improve visits and ensure success, they really appreciate feedback.
Finally...start planning your next author/illustrator visit!
Most importantly, to host a successful visit, contact us today!