Hello everyone! Welcome back to my blog! Today I’m going to be talking about my experiences with author visits and my advice if you happen to be doing one! So if your curious about what an author visit entails or what it feels like, then read on!
My first young adult novel, The Crystal Chronicles was published in February of 2016. Since I am a junior in high school, I found myself in a very unique situation. I was the perfect person to visit local schools and talk to kids around my age about writing books. So that’s initially what I started off doing. I contacted local schools in my area and arranged to come in and talk to the kids about what I love most! The first school I visited was Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Elementary School in Vaughan. It was the most incredible thing ever. I talked to so many great kids that day and the support and love I received was mind blowing. I went to Our Lady of Fatima to do book signings during the book fair and things just went uphill from there. If any of you Fatima kids are reading this, I love each and every one of you!
After my first school I slowly got more comfortable talking in front of people. I am naturally a shy person and I’ve always had stage fright for as long as I can remember. But talking about writing and books shattered my stage fright into pieces. Talking to so many different people on the fly coached me into answering unexpected questions and taught me to always be ready. I changed from the person I was, into the person I always wanted to be. And that change alone was amazing for me, but things didn’t stop there.
The next school I visited was Saint Joan of Arc Catholic high school in Vaughan. This was a big day for me, and I remember feeling excited, but also nervous for weeks beforehand. I had to give four presentations back to back, to four grades of high school kids. It was a bit nerve-wracking because some of the kids were older than me! But I found everyone no matter what grade, to be extremely receptive! Every time I give presentations I split it into four parts and talk about myself, my writing, publishing, and The Crystal Chronicles. I always end with reading an excerpt from my book. This is extremely important if you are an author and doing anything similar to this! It’s really crucial, as a writer to identify parts of your book that you know will capture people’s attention.
Always think about your audience’s demographics, and how to best cater to them. For example, I read elementary school kids a different excerpt than the high school kids. Understanding your audience and connecting with them, has made me very comfortable in front of any crowd. But even so, standing up in front of a room full of kids and teachers can be daunting at times. And every presentation I give is slightly different. But standing up there kind of puts everything in perspective. I impacted people’s opinions about reading and writing. I remember one boy in particular, told me I taught him how to write. The way that feels is completely indescribable. Here I am, helping real people my age, just by talking about something I love. It’s the best job in the world because it doesn’t feel like working. And if you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life. And inspiring kids is the best thing I would ever want to be doing.
The third school I visited was Holy Spirit Catholic School in Brampton. By the time that day rolled around, I felt very comfortable with everything. The kids were so excited and as a presenter you have to carry that excitement. You have to project good energy and your audience will give it back. If you are a new author my advice is prepare yourself before going into any presentation. Know yourself, and know what to talk about. Know how to engage the audience and bring lots of books! I also always make sure to bring my stand up poster of my book cover, and a really good pen! It all helps to make a good impression! And take opportunities no matter what shape or form they come in! There’s so much opportunity for authors out there, if you’re willing to look for it.
When I am called in as a student author I always enjoy myself. I get the funniest questions and the best responses from the kids and the teachers. Some of my readers really like the Aqurian Haven Reeves. Others love Alyssa Brooks, and some kids love how scary Kurt Bell is, and others want to see him dead. I always find it so funny to hear all different opinions from people! It makes the long process of writing a book so worth it. I’ve had nothing but good memories at all the schools I visited! Due to my age I mostly tour local schools in my area but I have many more author visits in other places lined up! I’ll be sure to upload some pictures under my news page so you guys can see what I’m up to and where you can find me next! I love talking to my readers, writers, dreamers, or anyone else who might have questions! I’m always around guys! Just send me an email!
Thanks for reading! My life has been a rollercoaster since February and I thought it would be nice to share all my experiences with my author visits and how wonderful all of these schools are! Thank you so much everyone and a special thanks to these three schools!
Until next time,
About the Author
Alessia Dickson is the author of The Crystal Chronicles series. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she is hard at work on her next book.