Yesterday I did another school event. Even though I was sick the two days prior, I'm glad I went! The kids were great and as always, had many great questions. A funny one a lot of them had was why do all of my characters have big eyes. They also wanted to know what the birds were eating in City Hawk (Lola was feeding them a pink looking thing). It took me HOURS to sign all the books (there were 200 or so of them). The librarian said they used to sell even more before the recession. I can't honestly imagine signing more than 200 books! I don't know how many kids I talked to, but I think it was the whole school. When I went to Alabama I did the same thing. It's so great to see the kids so excited about what I do and hopefully I'll inspire them to be creative and follow their dreams! I always show them what I wrote down for what I wanted to be when I grow up and then ask the kids what their goals are--some things were: a chef, a librarian, a baseball player, an illustrator, and one kid wanted to win the lottery! I'll post some of their drawings when I get a chance.
Today I went to a bookstore and did a reading. Unfortunately the wrong age group was there (mostly toddlers) and my books are for older kids. Sooo... I ended up having to read other authors' books! I sold ZERO books thanks to my book reading. I did sell one book before and one book after--both were for older kids who happened to be in the store and were going to birthday parties. When I did a panel talk last week I also sold zero books. The people in the audience were mostly people that I knew. I think there were two kids. The panel talk was fun, though, because we got to talk shop for a bit and if you witness me in person I do tend to tell it like it is (you may have noticed).
Now, take from this what you will but I hope for the people who didn't understand the difference between school visits and book signings now do have some understanding. I also get paid nothing to visit a bookstore but get paid anywhere from 1200-1500 per school visit. I feel appreciated when I go to a school but sometimes feel like free entertainment when I go to a bookstore. As I've said before, it is great to meet the booksellers and owners and they're always very nice BUT if you're an author and have some serious deadlines (like I do) then pick and chose what you do wisely!
I hope you all realize that I'm not a diva and that there ARE divas out there. You'll know them when you meet them! Librarians have told me things and I've heard stories. I'm easy going and, for example, I will take the extra time (and hours!!!) to make sure that each kid has a picture drawn in each book and not just a signature.
And on another topic which maybe I'll post more about later: I'm saddened by the cuts to funding that schools are having to deal with. The school in NJ has to fire many young teachers. This is really sad! Alabama also said they were losing a lot of money. Kids (especially little space cadets such as I was) need attention. They can't all function in huge classes. And young teachers breathe fresh air and new creativity. It will be a huge shame to lose them! My mom works in the RI school system and in one school ALL of the teachers were fired due to low test scores, etc. Obama supported this decision! Another sad thing. I could go on but I'll stop here. I just don't like what I'm hearing.