|Helen Moss, Shelley Miller and Benjamin Scott.|
Many SCBWI members had travelled considerable distances to attend this half day session. The delegates covered the range of SCBWI interests from picture book writers and illustrators to YA, and from those at the pre-publication stage to the traditionally and independently published. There was also a mix of those with experience of school visits and those with none, which made for a lively and friendly session.
Helen and Benjamin split the session into three loose sections: Getting Events, Nuts and Bolts and Content and soon the nuggets of wisdom were flying (if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor).
The Getting Events section emphasised the necessity of being brave, imaginative and proactive when contacting schools, as well as considering tying your workshop to a specific element of the National Curriculum (available online). Ideas about generating interest through our author websites, and about identifying and promoting our own unique angles and experience were very useful. Just about everyone noted down the list of organisations arranging and promoting school visits for authors.
The Nuts and Bolts element covered everything from the nitty gritty of organising and collecting payment from schools to getting a DBS Certificate to organising and maximising book sales during school visits. Helen and Benjamin revealed some surprising secrets about themselves via the contents of their School Visit Survival Packs. You’d be amazed at how different they were!
|Ruth Hatfield, Andy Shepherd, Miranda Walker, Katie Dale, Camilla Chester. Brainstorming!|
|Some inspiring words above the entrance of the fantastic Cambridge Central Library.|
The session came to an end all too quickly, and with lots still left to say and to explore. We all agreed that future events on the same subject would be extremely useful. The day closed with Helen and Benjamin promising to arrange future workshops to take up where we left off. I’ll be clearing a space in my diary for them.
It was a useful, friendly and thoroughly enjoyable day.
Kate Wiseman lives in Saffron Walden and writes comic adventures stories for Middle Grade readers. Her first novel, Blaggard’s School for Tomorrow’s Tyrants, is to be published by Piper Verlag in Germany in the autumn. She has just finished the follow up and is taking a breather before starting the third Blaggard’s book. She is represented by Madeleine Millburn.
A M Dassu is a member of the Words & Pictures editorial team, she manages the Events team and SCBWI BI events coverage.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to report back on an event.