One of my favourite parts of being an author is getting to meet my readers. I enjoy going in to schools to run book sessions or workshops all based around game playing or coming down the front to put on costumes or take part in quizzes.
I normally charge for my visits (apply to me for current rates) but if you can lure me there with a massive book selling opportunity I'm open to negotiation!
With me, your young people can
- go time travelling!
- write a joint story together on my special story board
- find out about the 'monstrous' Victorians with Mel Foster
- join King Arthur's Round Table,
- find out about life two hundred years ago,
- become a pirate!
In action at Twickenham Prep - February 2014
The Society of Authors has some good advice for schools here about what to do when inviting an author to your school.
I liked the ideas that she came up with. I liked being the pirate.
I really enjoyed her coming in, and it was interesting how she started her books and the stages that go into a book.
The way she thought about explaining books to children was amazing.
It gave me an idea for how to write a story.
Schools - what to do when you have an author visiting...Dear organiser
Just a little checklist for you when you've taken the plunge and decided to invite me to your school or festival. I don't need much looking after but experience has taught that the best visits cover these points in advance.
The big things
- I love being with your children but please realize you are responsible for discipline and for legal reasons I must not be left on my own with them.
- Before you invite me in, please check you have appropriate staff covering my activities.
- Make sure reception knows to expect me.
- Please contact me for specifics about payment so that these can be agreed by both sides in advance.
Getting to you
- I usually travel by train. Where is your nearest station and can I get to you? I'm happy to walk a short distance but consider if you need to fetch me or book a taxi.
- If you book the train tickets that avoids me having to charge you VAT as part of the invoice.
- I travel from Oxford. A later start may avoid the need to add overnight accommodation in to the mix.
Getting the most from the visit
- Vast preparation is not required but if the children/young people have had a chance to read (or hear) a section of one of my books in advance that helps everyone.
- Tell me if you have a particular topic/set of books you want covered, otherwise I will come with my own ideas.
- Technical requirements - I sometimes use powerpoint and video. Let me know if you can't provide a room for this and I will adapt what I do accordingly.
- Please send me a schedule in advance bearing in mind I will need the occasional break to catch my breath. Advance warning of age and class size is really important.
- Let me know if there are any special needs I should be aware of in the class before I start talking.
- Bookselling - I value the opportunity to sign copies of my books in person and some children love the chance to buy on the day. You can often get a local bookseller to make the ordering arrangements for you.
- Let me know if you need any help setting this up and I can ask my publisher to suggest a local retailer.