Updated: May 25
So you’ve published your children's book, marketed it successfully, and BAM you have an author visit scheduled and on your calendar. Instantly your palms become sweaty, and you’re having palpitations…did it just get warmer in here?
You start asking yourself all the wrong questions: What do I do? What if I don't do a good job? All because you have that fear of public speaking.
Trust me, I get it.
The first time I ever stood in front of the room with 20 pairs of beady eyes looking at me, hanging on my every word, I panicked too!
But I’m here to say, you can do this. You just need to remember these 5 things.
My Top 5 Tips for Author Visits:
Tip #1 - Do NOT pretend everyone’s in their underwear
Please don’t do it. Seriously, it’s weird. No.
The true tip is to mentally divide the room into three visual “slices” and find three inanimate objects in each: in the middle of the classroom, to the right of the classroom, and to the left of the classroom. Make sure all three of these objects need to be in the MIDDLE of the kids in each section or ”slice.”
Choose a desk, pencil, paper, piece of snack that somehow made its way to the floor...anything inanimate. And this way as you’re “scanning” the room reading, you don’t need to make eye contact BUT you give the impression that you are.
Tip #2 - Visualize your hand held in front of your mouth
When you're practicing, place your hand about a good 5 inches from your face and use it as a physical goal. Push your voice level so that it projects around that barrier. Using this trick will prevent you from yelling, blowing out your voice, or being too quiet. You’ll end up with the perfect volume level every time.
Tip #3 - Read your book at least 5 times before the visit
Practice. Makes. Permanent.
Even though it's your book, chances are you haven't read it aloud often. Pretend you have an audience, project your voice, and find the opportunities to make it fun. Whatever you do, do NOT read monotone or you just sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher. (Wah wah woh wah wah…)
You need to give it emphasis. Change the way your voice sounds for different characters. Emphasize questions and statements. Rise and drop your voice. Make it interesting!
But make sure that you practice all these things so that even when your nerves kick in, your captivating performance comes second nature.
Tip #4 - Know your audience
Tailor your presentation and language to suit the age group you'll be in front of. Consider their interests, reading levels, and attention spans when crafting your content. By connecting with your young readers, you'll capture their attention and create a memorable experience.
So get back to their level! If you’re reading to 7 year olds, you get to be 7 again. Think about what YOU enjoyed at that age. What bored you? Let those thoughts guide and inspire you.
But the final tip—and the most important—is to have fun
You’re about to be in a room where those children filling the seats think you’re someone absolutely incredible, and who knows! You might inspire a new generation of authors all because you replied to that email “I’d love to.”
Author visits present a unique opportunity to engage and inspire young minds, sparking their love for reading and storytelling. By following these five tips you can make your author visits truly memorable.
Remember, as a children's book author, you have the power to ignite imaginations, foster a lifelong love for literature, and shape the future of young readers. Embrace the magic of author visits and embark on a journey of inspiration, creativity, and storytelling!
Want more tips? Check out this video:
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