Speaking to School and Library Audiences and Storytelling
Free book publicity is about storytelling to library and school audiences, giving interviews to the media, speaking about what’s in your book, and reading in public and on CDs or DVDs, broadcasting on Web sites, and doing book store appearances, and book tours, if you are able to travel.
Virtual book tours are helpful if the stress of travel is too much. You can publicize your book in food court malls and shopping centers or in libraries, university auditoriums, or even teacher’s lounges and at national and local associations, clubs, or houses of worship.
If you are writing children’s books, purchase your state’s public school directory. Contact schools and school librarians. Charge a fee from $400 to $1,000 to visit schools. Select the appropriate age group to speak to assemblies about your book(s) if they are suitable for that age group.
Talk to the coordinator or librarian to set up your speaking engagement to talk about your children’s book. The books will be pre-ordered for each student by the school.
Also look at parochial and Montessori schools. Visit some of their Web sites. Contact your state’s School Library Association. Look for Career Days at schools and Authors’ Day at schools to make your appearance with information about your book and some copies of your book.
After you have spoken, ask for a letter of recommendation from each school. Use these letters to obtain assignments to speak to another school. You also can apply for the poet-in-the-schools or poet-in-residence scholarships to appear for a semester or year in various elementary, middle, or high schools.
When you speak at a school, ask to be paid. You can also volunteer without pay at a school, but generally, authors are paid expenses, usually around $400 or more for each day you appear in the school and speak to children, usually at assemblies. If you stay overnight, your hotel and food expenses would be covered if you ask for payment to cover these expenses.
The pay could be for one day $400 or $500 if you are not staying overnight. Some speakers ask for $1,000 and do get it if their books are well known by teachers or librarians. For a beginner, $400 or $500 per day is appropriate.
Before you contact any school you’ll need to make an information and contact sheet. Here’s the template for such a sheet. This would be one page in length. Fill in your personal information:
Contact Sheet for School Coordinators and Librarians:
Contact by: Phone, Fax, or Email
Age, grade, or level of school audience:
Type of Presentation:
Length: (usually 45 minutes for elementary, middle, and high school, less for kindergarten)
Display for Illustrations:
Storytelling for each age group:
Overlays and color, stamps, graphics
Question and Answer time
Honorarium: $ per day, $ with overnight
Number of Presentations: (How many presentations per day—one, two, three four?)
Usually four presentations per school day are appropriate.
Size of audience desired: Are classes to be combined? Will you go into classrooms or work with assemblies in an auditorium?
Equipment: (Microphone, video equipment, table, or other presentation machinery).
Books: (Name your published books and have the book covers printed on your contact sheet. Include a small photo of yourself.)
Enclose the Second Page with Your Contact Sheet:
List your books by title. Show book covers on this sheet. Include a one-paragraph summary of your book’s story or plot. At the bottom of this second page include a student order form and a presentation date that can be filled in by those who hire you to speak in public and private schools.
Have an order form at the bottom that teachers, librarians, parents, or students can fill out and return to the teacher. Include sales tax. Sign the books that are pre-ordered for the class. Include an inscription if requested. Make checks payable to you. If you have published your book print-on-demand, you can buy them at a discount from your publisher after the books are pre-sold or pre-ordered by the school.
Usually print on demand books will be sent within ten days of orders received. Teachers and librarians or students can order the book directly from your publisher. Or you can purchase the books and sell them directly to the school. At the bottom of your order sheet, include a space for the student’s name, teacher’s name, the total amount being paid for the books, and your address or your publisher’s mailing address, Web site, email address, and telephone number.
Author in the Schools Presentation Check List
Before you appear at any school to speak to an assembly or do storytelling in classrooms, create a presentation check list. It should look like this template:
Date Sent Date Received
(Include all check numbers
Date of Presentation
Lesson Plan for Day of Presentation
Letters of Recommendation
Query Letters to each school
Telephone numbers, addresses of each contact
Thank you follow-up letter to contacts and students
How to Use Social Intelligence to Earn Free Book Publicity
How many copies of your book will sell is often tied to social intelligence. To sell your book, your first tool is a social radar detector. Your book needs to understand what it will do to readers and also what it will do to attract readers. What type of reputation of credibility and excellence does your book have before anyone will read it or even be told the title?
How many other areas are influenced by emotional or social intelligence? You have a variety of high IQ societies for those passing a test of intelligence. But how many associations do you have for those who score high on emotional intelligence, regardless of IQ? Who would join, and what would their purpose be?
Could your book use social intelligence, emotional intelligence, or behavioral intelligence to improve its promotional and marketing ratings and sales figures? Can social intelligence aimed at booksellers, review publications, or consumers increase your book publicity and sales?
Let’s compare free book publicity in the media to self-awareness. If social awareness is all about how people start and keep relationships, then emotional intelligence when applied to book publicity is about showing people how to be more self-aware. When pitching your book, you need to help others understand how their feelings influence their behavior (including book buying behavior).
Most of all, to sell your book, your high social intelligence score will underscore interpersonal relationships. And most community colleges offer classes on interpersonal relationships in the public speaking and in the psychology departments. Perhaps it’s time you offered a course for book authors, publishers, or editors on interpersonal relationships.
What if your book has nothing to do with this subject? For example, if your book is a how-to build some project, your own interpersonal relationships with the media and editors of newsletters, magazines, and newspapers is important.
You need to get on the right side of the media by using emotional or social intelligence skills. Just be polite. You learn this in preschool. Work on external relationships to publicize your book at no cost to you.
What’s social intelligence all about without psycho-jargon? It’s simply connecting to people. If you can connect to people, your book will sell more copies. If you don’t connect to editors and consumers, you will remain hidden. It’s all about getting charisma from your book publicity.
If people describe you as charismatic, and your book also is charismatic, you get free publicity. What gets you free book publicity is working with small groups of people who work together for a common goal that also includes your book in that common goal as a main tool of information and resources.
You can’t sell your book if you remain in a vacuum. The only way to sell your book is to connect to people who will most likely buy what you have to say. The same goes for any article you write, a video, audio, or documentary. Empathy is the one behavioral tool that connects you with those who would promote or buy your book.
Photo credits: Anne Hart photography