School visits are one of the very best ways to sell children's books. In today's guest post, children's book author Amber Housey shares her strategies for selling books through schools.
Schools and educators are a fantastic resource for selling your books. They are the audience who buys and reads the books. Visits offer a great venue for presenting the book and connecting with your readers. Teachers will cause a buzz within the education community if they find your visit and book of value.
I have created a presentation that shows schools, teachers and parents how my book can be a tool to help teach empathy, compassion and seeing another point of view. I make it fun and engaging.
I like to have a liaison who is the go between or the planner of my visit. At this point, my fees are low so I can include as many interested schools as possible. The important thing is to sell books to gain exposure.
Prior to my visit, I send schools author posters that I had made for $5.99 at Costco to hang up in the schools along with a pre-order form.
I have a few different presentations for various events that I do. For young children, I set up all kinds of shoes at the front of the room. As they are being seated, I tell them not to mind me while I start putting on all of the different shoes and I walk around. I do this until everyone is seated and quiet. Then I ask them what they think I am doing. We get around to, "walking in someone else's shoes". I am trying to get the point across that every shoe has a story and every person has a story. That is the hook.
Then I have a Keynote (similar to PowerPoint) presentation with visuals because it helps make it more interesting for kids and adults. I talk about myself, Flip Side Stories, how I went from being a school teacher to an author and what it means to be a Flipsider. I go through the writing process using a poster board and slides on Keynote to illustrate the process from draft to final edit.
Then we go through the illustration process using a poster and slides. We go from character sketch to final storyboards. The visual aides are very important to help them make the connection. I read the book and then take questions. It is usually a 45-60 minute presentation.
Before I leave, I give out my bookmarks with all of my information for ordering and my websites and I give away an I'm a Flipsider tattoo to remind them to see another point of view, walk in someone else's shoes, be nice and help others. It also reminds them to tell their parents about my visit. I use my visit fees to pay for those things.
My fees are very low at this time. I don't want to scare anyone away. I charge $200 per half day and $300 for a full day. I also state that my fees are negotiable. If there isn't a budget for it, then I am willing to waive my fees as long they can do pre-sales. If I have to travel, all fees apply including travel fees. You can set your fees as high as you want but when you are just starting out, you want exposure. If they are too high, you may not be invited to come. Once you start getting really busy, you can raise your fees to manage the demand.
I have not needed to contact schools at this point. It has been word of mouth. The media specialist is probably the best person to contact because they are usually allocated money for visits from the PTA or PSO. I always carry some brochures around in case someone asks me if I do visits.
If you know someone in the school, let them be your liaison. I get invited by parents who want me to come, teachers who want me to come and then I also get invited from recommendations. I prefer it that way because there is a different expectation when you are invited. You also don't have to plan the event when someone invites you. The success of the event is in their hands. They also feel obligated to bring you sales.
About the Author
Amber J. Housey lives in Michigan with her husband and three children (and two dogs Mango and Hershey). She holds a Masters degree in the Art of Teaching. She taught preschool for many years and later became a first and second grade teacher in her hometown. She created Flip Side Stories™ and has published her first in the Flip Side series called Just Because. She hopes to inspire empathy and compassion for others through her books. Learn more about Amber at amberhousey.blogspot.com and see her previous interview on The Savvy Book Marketer.