My takeaway: You can make a living as an author if you stick with it and are resourceful.
My takeaway: It's easier to be a writer who adds humour to her writing, than a stand-up comedian.
To write for children...
-you have to connect with children. Find out what they are interested in and what books they are reading
-you have to remember the child you were, write for that child.
-you have to like children and want to be with them
-be honest about emotions
-find common ground
-share who you are
-know that you will have manuscripts that remain in the drawer and never become books
Don't start by wanting to teach your reader something -- morals, values, etc.
Storytelling is powerful. Children need it.
Why do presentations for schools and libraries?
Because you want to get your book in the hands of teachers and librarians.
To visit schools and libraries...
-prepare by learning how to tell a good story
-don't send out mass mailings. Instead, focus on the contacts you already have -- could be friends of friends of friends who are teachers or librarians
-make it as easy as possible for them to invite you.
-send them a letter of proposal for your presentation. A week before your presentation, send them a follow-up letter
-be very clear as to what you will need during your presentations. Express these needs to the teacher or librarian
-it's very helpful to know the curriculum. You are far more likely to get an invitation if your book fits into something they are currently studying.
During the presentation...
-go in prepared, but be prepared to be flexible to children's needs
-create a theme for your presentation (i.e. begin at the beginning or where ideas come from or how I grew up)
-use visual aids--but not technology, too stressful. These visual aids can serve as an anchor for presentation. They can also be conversation starts -- something to ask questions about, for you and the children
-engage the librarian or teacher
-do far more talking than reading
-talk to them about the process of writing a book. Make writing a book seem doable. Explain that it takes luck, skill, and hard work. Give them a realistic view of what it means to be an author.
-we are part of a culture, refer to other authors.
-invite them into the process by asking them 'what if...' questions
-be interested in them
-allow the children to be honest about your book. If they don't like your book explain that that's why there are so many other books.
-ask the children to sign your book
A children's fiction author doesn't make money by visiting schools and libraries. You make money by having your books nominated
-the Forest of Reading Festival
My takeaway: A children's fiction author is an advocate for reading.
And if this is true and you are a children's fiction author, you probably will be interested in this link: Reading Link Challenge
Tip: keep creating
If you keep creating you'll be able to take advantage of opportunities as they are presented.
For example, recently I received an invitation to contribute to an anthology. I dug through my files and found a few short stories. I sewed them together like a quilter assembling a quilt. The result pleased me and the editor.
Then I found this quote by Sage Cohen...
'As you develop your platform, over time one piece of writing can become a foothold for the next--until you approach vistas you never before imagined possible. Instead of starting from scratch each time you pitch an article, workshop or book concept, build on the wealth of information you've already researched and written, while finding a new dimension to explore, a new audience to educate or a new way to share what you know.'I'll tell you more about the anthology when I know more. : )