Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Art of the Author Visit: Connecting Teens with their Favorite Authors

Sunday was a good day for sessions.  I went to another great one called "The Art of the Author Visit: Connecting Teens with their Favorite Authors."  It was presented by Allison Tran, teen services librarian and Courtney Saldana from Ontario City Library, California.  They were also joined by Jessica Brody, author of the Unremembered series to get an author prospective of what makes things good or bad for the author.

First they talked about building partnerships.  Get to know the people who work at your local independent bookstore, if you're lucky enough to have one.  Network at conferences.  Talk to people, meet authors, get your face known.  Make use of bloggers in your community!  There are book bloggers who have a lot of clout in the field.  Connect with them.  Get to know your local book community - know what people are interested in.

In terms of contacting people, most authors would prefer to be emailed directly rather than going through a publicist.  Second best way is contacting the author's publicist, third is making a pitch personally, fourth is reaching out on social media.  If you do ask an author personally, make sure you follow up by email the next day.  And go ahead and ask!  The worst that can happen is they'll say no.

Make use of social media.  Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr are all great places to find authors.  Friend the authors, their publicist and their publishing houses.  Let authors know when you've read and enjoyed their books, or when your kids love their books.  It gets your name know and builds some good will.  Keep in mind Skype can be a great way to bring an author into your library when they can't make an in-person trip.

After laying the ground work, Allison and Courtney talked about holding individual events, individual authors, and hosting a festival.  Some tips: Crowd control!  If it's going to be big, have tickets so you know how many people are coming.  Make sure you have a room that can accommodate your numbers, even if that means moving out of the library.  Plan for preshow entertainment!  Author's schedules are often tight, and they could be late.  Don't let a huge crowd just sit there.  For any event, more sure to promote it!  Make displays with books, bios of the authors and other information.  Take lots of pictures at your events!  And always expect the unexpected.

Courtney talked about starting the Ontario Teen Book Fest which started quite small with just a couple authors, and is now a huge, yearly, day-long event with panels of authors.  Very cool.

After the talk, Jessica Brody did an abridge version of the author presentation she give to high school students, which was excellent.  Charming and engaging.

Meet Any Good Authors Lately?
Skype an Author Network

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