SchoolVisitExperts.com is a place for published and soon-to-be-published authors & illustrators to find and share advice on how to create and deliver quality author visit programs for kids, teachers and librarians. This is the place to find guidance on
- Designing meaningful author visit programs
- Managing the business side of school visits
- Getting hired
- Evaluating the impact of your program
- Working effectively with children, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and hosts
The ultimate purpose of SchoolVisitExperts.com is to help you deliver author visit presentations that have a positive, meaningful and motivational benefit for students, teachers, librarians, educational specialists, administrators and parents, increase your visibility and assist you in your quest to secure engagements.
Why SchoolVisitExperts.com? A note from Founder, Alexis O’Neill
Before becoming a published author, I’d been an elementary school teacher, a teacher of teachers, a museum educator, arts consultant and a writing instructor. But navigating the world of author visits after my first picture book, LOUD EMILY, was published was mind-boggling.
Suddenly, I was in a world where royalty paychecks come only twice a year and children’s authors and illustrators have to sing (or talk) for their proverbial supper if they want to build a fan base and stay afloat financially. Invitations to speak came from bookstores, classrooms, libraries, clubs, book festivals – but I was pretty clueless about what they expected from me and how to handle the business side of this strange new territory.
Luckily, I managed to get in on the start-up of a new type of writers’ group in 1995 – one that focused exclusively on school visits. We called it CAN! – the Children’s Authors Network, and met monthly to discuss the art and business of doing presentations. Each of us was published and each of us had special skills that we shared at meetings in mini-workshops. We also did many events and showcases together.
I loved the opportunity to see many styles of author and illustrator presentations in action and to try out my own material while the group offered helpful feedback. I also gained confidence in negotiating the business aspects of school visits.
Now, all these years later, I see authors and illustrators struggling with the same issues that I’ve struggled with. And I realized that I could help. So, I proposed writing a column for the SCBWI Bulletin called, The Truth About School Visits, which I’ve been writing since 2006. For these columns, I often call on expert presenters to share advice. But there’s so much more to share than can fit in a bi-monthly column. So – that’s how I came to establish this SchoolVisitExperts.com site.
I do hope that you take time to explore the posts and resources and take an active part in the conversation here. As we build, you’ll hear from a variety of experts who’ll weigh-in on topics related to school visits and other public presentations. The experts will include authors, illustrators, librarians, booksellers, booking agents, publishers’ school & library liaisons, conference organizers, parent organization representatives and more.
Although it looks as if YOU are my main focus, the truth is, I’m really doing this for kids. When time, money and energy is expended to bring an author or illustrator to an event as a guest, kids deserve absolutely the very best program possible and are worthy of total respect from us.
So, come along and reap the benefits of the collective wisdom of SchoolVisitExperts.com
I’m looking forward to talking with you soon!
All best wishes,
About Alexis O’Neill
ALEXIS O’NEILL is the author of four picture books: THE RECESS QUEEN (Scholastic), a Children’s Choice nominee in nine states, winner in two; and THE WORST BEST FRIEND (Scholastic), addressing the issue of a boys’ friendship triangle and loyalty; LOUD EMILY (Simon & Schuster), a tall tale named to Yankee Magazine’s list of Top 100 Classic New England Children’s Books; and ESTELA’S SWAP (Lee & Low), a book about generosity and a unique California experience which was honored with a diversity award by the Vermont Center for the Book and was chosen for the California Readers California Collection.
Alexis has also written fiction and nonfiction for Cricket, Spider, Cobblestone, Calliope, Faces, Odyssey and Writer’s Digest. A former elementary school teacher with an M.S. in Instructional Technology and a Ph.D. in Teacher Education from Syracuse University, Alexis teaches writing for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and is a Regional Advisor for the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators in California. She has also worked as a museum education consultant for the Erie Canal Museum, Onondaga Historical Association, the Everson Museum of Art, the Ventura County Museum of History & Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum. For ten years, she chaired the annual Children’s Book Week Celebration in Simi Valley for the Simi Valley Friends of the Library, providing programs for over 12,000 students each year. A member of the Ventura County Reading Association, she was honored in 2005 by the California Reading Association with a Margaret Lynch Exemplary Service Award for her contributions in promoting literacy. In 2010, Alexis received the Dr. Marcus Foster Memorial Award from the California Reading Association “for making significant and outstanding contributions to reading throughout California.” A popular presenter, Alexis visits students all over the country, sharing the joy of reading. writing and playing with words. She writes a column for the SCBWI Bulletin called, The Truth About School Visits to encourage quality, successful practices among authors & illustrators. She lives in Simi Valley, California.
Visit her at www.alexisoneill.com.
Alexis’s life in 8 words:
writing, David, cats, school visits, libraries, bookstores, chocolate!