Elle Cosimano

PLANNING SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR EVENTS

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 

With the new year upon me, I’m reflecting back on 2017’s successes as well as lessons learned. I’m also looking ahead, revisiting my goals, marketing plans, and my policies with regard to author events.

If you are interested in scheduling an author event, I am available for conferences panels, writing workshops, speaking engagements, and school visits. You can learn more about that here.

But before you do, I want to share a few of my lessons learned, as well as some online resources I’ve found for making the most of your author events.

 

LESSON #1

Legal Requirements of the School District

Some school districts have adopted firm background check policies with regard to school visits in order to meet state laws or jurisdictional rules. Schools may require visitors to be fingerprinted by local law enforcement offices, have a liability insurance policy, or to submit to background checks before the event. Fees are usually associated with these processes, and also time commitments. School representatives should be aware of their jurisdictional requirements and plan accordingly. Authors should be informed in advance if they will be required to visit the district ahead of time to complete any necessary fingerprinting or paperwork, especially for those flying in from out of state (or country). I recommend authors include provisions for this in their contracts, and ask educators to confirm with their administrators before scheduling.

 

LESSON #2:

Event Contracts

A contract is just a written agreement between the author and the host of the event (usually a school or library). A well-executed agreement is a great way to protect everyone involved in the event of an unforeseen cancellation. It’s also the best way to make certain everyone, including the author, the publisher, booksellers, administrators, educators, and students, are all on the same page regarding expectations for the event.

Authors (especially debut authors): If you schedule your own author events, I strongly recommend having an Author Event Contract in your tool kit. Planning events is time-consuming, and often requires a lot of pre-paid expenses on the author’s part. A contract will protect you from financial loss in the event of an unforeseen cancellation by your host. As a general rule, I do not book any non-refundable travel arrangements or hold a date without a signed agreement. If you do not have a template for a clear, concise, comprehensive event contract, ask around within the author community, or drop me a line. I’m happy to share a copy of mine.

Educators/Hosts: Check with your administrators before scheduling an event, and definitely before suggesting the author pack bags and book flights. Does your school district require W9s, a written agreement generated by the school district office, a copy of the invoice, or anything else prior to budget approval? Does your county or state require background checks, fingerprinting, or liability insurance policies for non-professional school visitors? How long do these processes take, how much do they cost, and who schedules them?

 

Now that we’ve gotten all this messy contract stuff out of the way, here are some amazing posts, interviews, and checklists I’ve found to help educators plan dynamic, successful author visits. Have any questions about making the most of your author events? Drop them in the comment section below!

 

OUTREACH LIBRARIAN: HOW TO HOST AN AUTHOR, FROM AN AUTHOR

EDUCATION WORLD: MAKE IT HAPPEN: AWESOME AUTHOR & ILLUSTRATOR VISITS

CCBC: TIPS ON HOSTING AN AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR VISIT

STEVE LAYNE (.PDF): HOW TO HOST A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR SCHOOL VISIT

CHILDREN’S AUTHORS’ ALLY: KEY STEPS TO PLANNING A SUCCESSFUL AUTHOR VISIT

 

WISHING YOU ALL A SPARKLING NEW YEAR AND A PROSPEROUS 2018!

–Elle

 

Jan

02, 2018 |

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