My First Author Visit (with pics and special added cat and dog gifs).

My first school visit was to the Crain’s Creek Middle School through The Country Bookshop. (The Country Bookshop is a wonderful sixty-plus-year-old independent bookstore. I wrote a little about them here at author Shannon Roat’s blog for her ‘Bookstore love’ series.) Of course, I was nervous. I’d never presented to students about my book before.

My first group was around a hundred – maybe more – sixth graders. When I saw the crowd, I felt a bit like this:


But it’s not that I’ve never spoken in front of students. I taught high school and college biology for ten years. I usually do pretty good in front of a crowd. Usually.

One thing I’ve learned teaching, however, is I can never predict how well a presentation, workshop, or lesson will go. Even when everything should go right, I can have a bad day, the class can be grumpy, the great techno gods can smite the computer game I worked for hours to make. All I can do is prepare, take a deep breath, and not take myself too seriously.

It can be a bit tricky. (This sentence is here just so I can add a cat in a box.)

giphy (1)

Actually, I have three basic rules for presenting things:

1. Have a good detailed plan but not a script. It’s easier to tweak a plan halfway through than change a script if things go wonky. And wonky happens.

2. Entertain myself. That way, at least one person in the room is having a good time. Me. Besides, if I’m bored, I can’t expect everyone else to be interested.

3. And of course, I make sure they the students learn something. Hmm. Maybe this should be number one?

I always hope for this type of audience:

Kittens paying attention

As opposed to this falling-over, can’t stay awake, need some excitement version:

Sleepy Cat

I tried to apply those same teaching skills to my author visit. I guess once a teacher, always a teacher. Although, I also talked about my book. It’s an author visit so that seemed necessary. And I made a game with a horse and dragon, and a ‘can you spot the differences’ cover activity thing. I thought there was like a 60% chance it would work well.

Here I am, foam sword in hand, starting my visit:


The question, of course, is how did it go?

It went great! I was lucky enough to have a good day and a wonderful crowd of students. Seriously, I was so impressed with the students at Crain’s Creek. I spoke to sixth graders first, then seventh and eighth graders next.


Afterwards, I met with the Battle of the Books group.


They really made my day. (<–My type keeps turning blue here. This is not planned.)

It never hurts to wave your foam swords, either.


I just hope all my school visits are as great as the first.

2 Comments on “My First Author Visit (with pics and special added cat and dog gifs).

  1. This is so awesome! Thanks for sharing! I can only hope that one day I’ll be able to do the same!

    • Thanks for the comment! I hope my next visits go also go great. I’ll update on them afterwards 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: