Friday, November 21, 2008

Author Visits

Sunday night I spoke about Julia's Kitchen at a mother-daughter book club. I loved meeting these smart, cute sixth graders and their moms. It was such an intimate setting, especially compared to the 450 kids I spoke to in a gymnasium on Friday! To be honest, I enjoyed both speaking engagements. I guess I don't care how many people are in the audience. It is truly such an honor to be able to do these kinds of appearances. I'd love to do more of them, but I wonder what the perfect balance is.

When I talk to my author friends, they all confess that they spend at least a day worrying about the visit beforehand, even if they're doing a presentation they've already done dozens of times before. I confess that's true for me, too. I am always tinkering with my presentations because a) I'm trying to make them better, and b) I don't want to bore myself by saying the same things over and over!

So if you lose a day of writing by preparing, and you lose another day of writing with the actual presentation, how many presentations should you plan to do in a year? Maybe 2-3 per month is just right.

I recently hired a booking agent to try to drum up more school visits for me (Hi Mick!), because I would really lose writing days if I spent them calling schools! It will be interesting to see if she's able to make a difference. Whatever the case, I'm glad to have her try. That frees me up to do the important work of writing my next book.

What do you all think? If you could design your perfect calendar, how many school visits would you do in a year?


Karen said...

I'm not an author, but I want to thank you for taking time to do school visits. It's great for encouraging reading and writing and is a lot of fun.

I still remember an artist in residence (folk musician) that spent some time at my school when I was in 5th grade. If your schedule can manage it, I'd suggest trying something like that too.

Brenda Ferber said...

Thanks Karen. I would have loved if an author had come to my school when I was growing up. That would have made a serious impact on me!