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School & Library Author Appearances

How to Plan an Author Appearance


Welcome to the home for Penguin Young Readers Group’s author and illustrator appearances! We want to help you bring great authors to your school or library. Below is a step-by-step guide to planning your next event. Please feel free to reach out to our Author Appearance Coordinator at penguinauthorvisits@gmail.comwith any questions.

  1. Learn the Basics
  2. Choose Your Authors Please visit our Author Appearance Roster to see a list of authors who make school and library appearances. Keep in mind that many of them do virtual Skype visits as well! Feel free to also peruse our website o discover any of our authors who would be best for your event. We suggest checking out our interactive State Awards Map to find an author perfect for your area.
  3. Request Your Author(s)It’s easy! Send an inquiry email to our Author Appearance Coordinator with your contact information as well as the details of your event and which author(s) you are interested in hosting.Don’t see the author selection you’re looking for? Feel free to also for information on any Penguin author you have in mind or for guidance on choosing and inviting an author to your event.
  4. Prepare for your EventOnce you have scheduled your event and you have a finalized and signed the event contract, you’ll need do the following to get ready:
    • organize transportation
    • have equipment ready for the presentation depending on the technical needs of the author you are hosting
    • provide a schedule to the author/illustrator
    • prepare the payment
    You should also have books available to sell — we encourage you to go through a local bookseller, an institutional wholesaler (if you use one), or you may order directly from Penguin.
Best wishes for a successful event! —The Penguin School and Library Marketing Team

Author Access with Jeff Mack, Author of Clueless McGee and Look!

  1. How do you typically format your Skype visits with classrooms and libraries?
I begin my Skype visits by introducing myself and offering some background info about my various books and series. Next, I share my process for creating a specific book; in this case, with a slide show that explains how I created Look!. I’ll touch on everything from how I came up with the original idea to how the idea evolved into a book to how I assembled the final art using a wide variety of materials and techniques.  I finish the program with a round of question and answers.
  1. What is your favorite part of the visits?
My favorite part of any visit, including Skype visits, is talking with young readers. I’m always interested in hearing their questions, ideas, and opinions.  For me, making meaningful connections with my audience is what it’s all about.
  1. What words of advice do you have for aspiring young writers?
I have a few words of advice: First of all, write what you love. Write about things that are exciting to you. Don’t worry if it’s good or bad, and don’t edit yourself while you’re writing.  Just write your ideas down as fast as you can.  Then put it away in a drawer, and do something else for a few days. Later, when you read it again, you’ll have an easier time identifying which parts make the story fun and interesting and which parts sound less exciting. That’s the time to re-write it.  Get rid of the less interesting stuff, and it will make the fun parts even better.Also, if you are planning to write and illustrate, it helps to figure out if you are someone who naturally thinks about the words first or someone who thinks about the pictures first. When I write a story, I usually have ideas for the pictures before I know what the words will be. So I start my comics and picture books by sketching the characters in different scenes. Then I go back and write the words. For other people, their earliest ideas may take the form of words, so they write the story first. Then they draw pictures to illustrate what they’ve written. There are so many ways to make books. My advice is to experiment and discover which way works most naturally for you.
  1. Is there anything teachers and librarians should know before you visit?
For the question and answer section, I find it works best to have the students prepare their questions in advance. It is sometimes difficult to hear an individual student depending on how quiet their voice is or how far they are from the computer’s microphone. So I recommend that teachers and librarians make a list of questions first. Then the teacher can read each student’s question to me like this: “This question is from Taylor…” When the student hears their name, they can raise their hand so I can see who to address my response to.    

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