Monday, February 10, 2014

Chicago! And School Visit Schooling

Hi guys!

Well, this year is going to be ripe with a lot of new experiences. Last week, I went to my first school visit with the awesome students from Drauden Point Middle School in Plainfield Illinois!

Look what they made to welcome me!

Look at those helices! It is pure awesomeness. They even decorated the snack table with black jellybeans, as homage to one of my Aureus characters, Ren!

And after my presentation, they presented me with a gift for coming to visit:

They purposefully picked something a little edgy, and the D and Z are the initials to the two sisters in the book, Dylia and Zelia. I may wear it forever!

I did learn a few things on this visit.
  • is an awesome way to do a vivid, interesting visual slide presentation that's way less boring than PowerPoint. Thanks to author Kelly Fiore for the tip!
  • Make the presentation interactive if possible. I asked a lot of questions to the audience throughout, and I think it helped keep the energy level up.
  • Pick a presentation topic that is related to your book, but isn't all about your book. My topic was "Fiction that's not Fiction" and I spoke about all sorts of random things that seem like they're not real, but can be, like immortality and cyborgs.
  • Having an enthusiastic teacher/librarian behind the scenes is so important. A few kids were encouraged to give book reports on CONTROL before I came, and word spread. Since lots of kids read my book before I arrived, they were more invested in my visit, which made it so, so special.
  • Make sure that you have a few different ways to do your presentation. As in, have it on a USB, and easily accessible via online or email means. I sort of befuddled my way through this part, but luckily Prezi can be accessed online. 
  • Bring swag! I should have brought more! They loved the buttons, stickers and bookmarks. 
  • Build in time for unforeseen traffic. I was a little bit late, but it would have been worse if there wasn't a big time buffer built into the travel time.
Later that day, I had a wonderful book signing with Rachel Caine at Anderson's Bookshops (Two Doors East) in Naperville, Illinois. 

Rachel is a gifted and gracious (and prolific!) author whom I met at the Vegas Valley Book Festival. She was signing her new book, Prince of Shadows:

It's a retelling of Romeo and Juliet from the perspective of Benvolio, Romeo's cousin. I haven't been able to put it down all weekend! Her ability to weave readable, Shakespearean dialogue with a rich and tautly woven story that feels familiar, yet wholly new is amazing. Highly recommended! 

And finally, here was the icing on the cake of a great day...

I got to meet Kelly Polark! I've known Kelly for years now as a fellow blogger. She drove 90 minutes to come to my signing and I think I actually squealed when I saw that legendary smile of hers! Hooray for bloggy friends!

And finally, a huge thanks to Dana and Anne at Kaye Publicity for helping out with all the details. You guys rock!


mooderino said...

Sounds like it was a great success. Must have felt wonderful to know so many kids have read and loved your book!

Moody Writing

SA Larsenッ said...

That is just awesome! It's amazing how excited a student visit can be. I love what they did for you.

And I saw your pic with Kelly on FB. So, so luck!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's cool the kids were so excited and prepared. I imagine a teacher who wasn't excited would be a drag on the whole event. I've never visited a school in person, but I did answer questions sent by email, and it was fun.

Barbara Watson said...

Sounds like such a great first school visit! I've heard about Prezi. Hopefully will be able to use it one day... :-)

Claire M. Caterer said...

Sounds like such great fun, Lydia! And good advice, too. Isn't Andersons the BEST? Great store.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the tips, Lydia. They're really helpful and I bookmarked them.

Old Kitty said...

Awww wow - what great gifts and super duper awesome pals! Take care

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Sounds like a wonderful first school visit! Congrats =D

Shelly said...

What huge fun!

Kelly Polark said...

Great presentation ideas. I love the little extras from the Middle School like your cool bracelet!

And I love being the icing on the cake! SO so happy to be part of your first leg of the tour and meet you! :)

J E Oneil said...

So cool! You're such a famous writer, visiting schools like that :)

Sherrie Petersen said...

So cool! I want to meet Kelly in person :)

And how awesome are the kids at that school you visited?! Between the helices and the bracelet, you got plenty of love!

Bathwater said...

It all looks like a really cool part of being an author and having a book published.

Slamdunk said...

Glad you had fun with it and overcame some challenges. And, bringing swag is always a winner.

Catherine Stine said...

LUV the bracelet! Yeah, I've loved all of my school visits! Kids and teens are always fascinating to interact with.

Krispy said...

This is so cool, and I love the bracelet! What a great few events you've had!

LisaAnn said...

Yay! So excited for you to get to have so many highlights in one trip! The student bracelet just melts my heart, and your tips are wonderful. Thanks for sharing them; I'm going to check out the Powerpoint substitute right now!

Jessie Humphries said..., eh? I will have to check it out. I am only starting to think about this stuff and I think earlier the better so I don't stress. Though I am stressing about it now, so...maybe I can't win!

LD Masterson said...

How great to be part of something that keeps kids interested in books.

I'm not familiar with Prezi. I'll check it out. Thanks.

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