Thursday, 12 March 2015

It’s not easy for an author to go into schools, these days. However, for any author wishing to do so, here are a few suggestions, that I hope may help.

I’ve been fortunate to have the privilege of going into local schools with my children’s book, A Rat and A Ransom.

 It’s so encouraging when the future generation enjoys reading. They are a delight to be with.
In most instances, I would meet the children in their class room; but at the last school I visited, a week ago, we were in the school hall. There were children from three class rooms, averaging around sixty pupils. They filed into the hall and sat in front of me, on the floor.

I always love their excitement and enthusiasm. It can be a little daunting at first, to have so many expectant faces focused on you; but I’m used to it now, and enjoy the experience.
The children had written down the questions they wanted to ask me; and considering the average age was nine, the questions were intelligent and sometimes challenging. They wanted to know about the publishing process, even editing, which came as a surprise…until the teacher explained that the children were doing their own writing and learning to edit. 

It thrills me when I hear children love to write, as well as read…some budding authors for the future I think!

The question and answer session was great fun, but reading to them is my personal favourite. The fact that I’m reading from my own book makes it particularly special.
The children are so attentive, overawed I guess by the fact that an author is in their school and reading to them.
It’s a real privilege, to be trusted with such an amazing responsibility.

It’s not easy for an author to go into schools, these days. However, for any author wishing to do so, here are a few suggestions.

The easiest option, and the one I was able to take advantage of, is to approach a teacher’s assistant. I was fortunate to be close friends with two, both work in different schools, in my area. They each took a copy of the book and showed it to the head teacher.
The one school invited me in right away, and I spent one afternoon a week, for a month, reading to the children and answering any questions they might have. This was a particularly nice experience, as over the month I built a relationship with the children and their teacher.
At the end of my time there, I presented the school with a couple of free books for their library.

The school I visited recently, were given a copy of my book, and for quite some time, I heard nothing, until my friend reminded the teacher.
We have to remember, teachers are extremely busy! She had no spare time to read the book, so gave it to one of her pupils to read.

He really enjoyed it, and to everyone’s surprise, he wrote a review, and a few days later I was invited to attend an afternoon session with the children.
I was so impressed with the pupils review; I presented him with a mug, bearing the image of the book cover.
A photographer from the local paper came and took photos.
A child, who excels in reading and writing, is definitely news worthy.

 It’s a good thing if local authors can go into schools. It encourages the children. They love to meet and talk to a real author, and I know from what the teachers have said…children are inspired to read more and try their hand at writing. So it’s a win, win situation.

 I would encourage all authors to go into schools if they can.
Find someone who has contact with the school.
Give the school a copy of the book to look through. They will want to check it is suitable for their children to read.
Don’t harass them, but if you don’t hear anything for a while. Get in touch through your contact working at the school, or if you don’t have one, pop in. Schools are busy places and they may well have forgotten.
Most times a personal approach works well.

 Also, if you have a friend, whose children attend the school, you would like to visit. Give them a copy of the book. The parent’s recommendation can open the door for you.

 Then there are the school governors. If you know such a person, give them a copy and ask if they would read it, and if they think it is suitable…recommend it to the school.

 And always offer some free copies of your book for the school library.

 I hope what I’ve suggested is helpful. Getting authors into schools can only be a positive thing!

A nine year old pupils review of A Rat and A Ransom.

No comments:

Post a Comment