Scheduling author visits in middle schools and high schools where classes change hourly is challenging, as is finding funding for large assemblies. But Skyping an author is a low-cost alternative for schools (with a great convenience factor for authors) that can offers flexible small-group sessions that can satisfy both the audience and the authors.
For an interesting article about doing virtual visits using Skype, check out Kate Messner’s piece in School Library Journal. She has pulled lots of great examples from authors and illustrators, showing how they use Skype for small group interactive visits, book club discussions, writing classes and critiquing sessions.
I think that Skype has great potential for those of you who are middle grade and young adult novelists. You can pitch a one-hour session with a single class or two together to keep the intimacy factor. And if this is something you really want to get into, you can get your name listed at Skype An Author Network whose mission is to provide K-12 teachers and librarians with a way to connect authors, books, and young readers through virtual visits.
Have any of you already experienced author visits via Skype? How has it worked for you?