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What is there for an author to do to “get the word out” about her books? Hmmm, as you probably realized, book signings are not Mrs. M’s thing. Sadly. Thank goodness, she is a teacher, first at a Christian school like . . . eons ago, and then homeschooling her own children, and now helping homeschool her grandchildren. So it seems that school visits would be just the thing for a children’s book author. Right?
Well, school visits have one thing going for them. They are way more fun than book signings. (But then, anything is better than book signings.)
Birney Elementary, Tacoma, WA. I have no memory of how I was invited to this school. I had one book published. That’s it. One. I think my sister-in-law knew somebody who taught there, and that’s all it took. I don’t think I got paid (school visits usually pay authors), but Tacoma school district is where I went to school for grades K-12, so I figured I would give back to an elementary school in the poorer part of town. (Plus, I’m all for getting Christian books into the public school libraries.) I presented an assembly and then I tried to sell some books. Yeah, right. I presented an assembly and then Ryan (aka “Cory”) supported me at my book table.
North Sound Christian, Bothell, WA, Young Authors Day. Hurrah for Young Author’s Day! I was one of several authors who presented all day. Then we had book tables, and the kids bought lots and lots of my . . . wait for it . . . ONE BOOK, Long Ride Home. Young authors from Christian schools all over Puget Sound joined together for a day of sharing their stories, learning more about writing, and receiving awards. I even got paid to participate. And . . . I was invited back in 2008.
Rainier Christian School, Renton, WA. Christian schools are the BEST! They make an effort to pay an author, and you can freely share your faith out in the open and bring Christ and God into the presentation. I did an assembly, but I believe I was the author of the day too, so I also presented workshops all day long. I sold a lot of books! I had two books at the time: Long Ride Home and Dangerous Decision. Show are the left-hand and right-hand sides of the gym. A nice crowd.
Salem, Oregon. My mentor, Colleen Reece, had spoken here before. They asked her to come and she recommended me. She said she was getting too old to keep presenting. She and I drove down together (her being my support pal) and we spent a night in Salem. That was fun. I was the feature author all day long. Sold a ton of books.
Wilkeson Elementary, Wilkeson, WA. It doesn’t get any better than this: Be the featured author at a K-8 elementary school only 20 minutes from my house. They called the event Camp Read-a-lot. I got paid $400 to come and present all day. And then I sold another $400 worth of books! Long Ride Home and Dangerous Decision. And then some bright kid got the idea of asking me to autograph his arm–in Sharpie pen. Say what? When I did that, an entire line formed. Oh. Joy. I never said I was smart about this whole school visit thing.
Valley Christian, Auburn, WA. Not too far away yet another recommendation from my mentor, Colleen Reece. She did a ton of these visits back in the day, and she–like Elijah of old–threw her “mantle” on me. Gulp. My turn. Author for the day for their Young Author’s Day. Did I mention how much work it is to go to a school all day and teach a bunch of writing classes to various grades? Yep. A lot of work. But I sold a lot of books. Kids line up to buy books.
Winthrop, WA. My friend Deb Kalmbach lived in Winthrop and got me in. Colleen and I drove a long way, and wouldn’t you know it? They had no idea how to get me set up. In the gym. No screen for my presentation. So they dug around in the back storage and found one of those old (ancient) screen people used to use for home movies. A portable thing. Okay, whatever. Winthrop is in the rural part of the state (actually, only a couple hours from where I live now). Had a great time, and as the pictures show, I sold a lot of books! I know had three: Long Ride Home, Dangerous Decision, and Family Secret.
Darrington, Washington, home of my mentor, Colleen Reece. The elementary school invited me (she influenced them if I remember right).
Neely-O’Brien Elementary, Kent, WA. As I’m posting all of these, wow. I didn’t remember doing so many public schools. God blessed and let the books be bought by lots of kids. And shelved in their libraries. And these kids were amazing. Well-behaved and interested. Go figure.
The most recent school visit was a Christian school in Hanford, California, in December 2019. I did not sell many books but I had a great time and everyone was excited about my visit.