Wednesday, October 22, 2008

School Visit Tips

So I just finished my 3 week school visit marathon, finishing in Houston. I had never done visits that continually for such a long duration was kind of trial by fire. But it went great, and I feel like I am a better, stronger presenter because of it. However, here are some little tips I learned on the way:

1. Flats are your friends.
I tend to wear heels when I visit schools because I am so short and I feel self-conscious when I have to look up at a fourth grader. But by the end of week two, I gave up the heels and ballet flats became my shoe of choice.

2. Sugar-free Ricola drops
My voice started to give on day 3, and I anxiously scoured the web for voice-saving advice. I learned that Broadway and opera singers swear by sugar-free ricola works! I was constantly sucking a drop, which made photos of me not the most flattering, but my voice lasted the whole way.

3. Keep well-watered
Losing my voice was a primary concern, I quickly learned that not one, but two bottles of water should be kept nearby at all times. Even at the slightest hint of dryness, gulp that water down.

4. Know where the bathroom is
Which goes hand-in-hand with tip #3

5. Have good press info on your website, including high rez photos
Because you never know when you might be facing yourself super large:
(Like how it says," boo!" right next to me? I was scared.)

6. Have back up
Projectors and computers are finicky, sometimes they don't work on cue. I usually project the pages of my book when I am reading, but I also have a "big book" version that I use in a pinch. It's not as good as projected images, but it gets the job done.

7. Love your iphone
or blackberry or whatever PDA you have, because it is perhaps the most important thing that connects you to your life at home. And because you are presenting all day, most things will have to be e-mailed or voice mailed--things that will inform you on what you are doing tomorrow.

8. Enjoy yourself
Sure, school visits is work and exhausting but they are also an amazing exercise of seeing your books come to life. When kids are thrilled to meet you and excited about your books, one realizes that the books we make do have a purpose outside of the studios we create and the publishing business we work within. And it's a great, grand purpose, one that makes living out of a suitcase for three weeks worth it!


Jarrett J. Krosoczka said...

Hey Grace - it's so great to hear your trip went so well! I wholeheartedly agree with rule #1. Another good rule - an afternoon nap at the hotel. It always helps!

Daniel Mahoney said...

Hi Grace,
I concur. School visits make you realize who you're creating your books for-the children who love to read them. I'm glad you had such a satisfying visit to Texas. I'm actually going to Houston for a week of visits in January. Thanks for the tips!

Lisa Yee said...

Congrats on a successful completion of your marathon!

Grace Lin said...

Gee, Jarrett, I never knew you were a ballet flats kind of guy...ha ha.
Thanks Daniel & Lisa!