A few months ago, I was asked to speak at an elementary school. My first reaction, post-flattery, was panic. I’m not an MG author. I’m not even a YA author (yet). I write NA novels, and we all know the ridiculous misconceptions floating around that category. How could I possibly talk to eighty fourth-graders?
Granted, I wasn’t there to promote my books. I was there to talk about writing and the publishing process. It was just that I felt so out of place—until I got there.
I came armed with my entourage (my sister and brother-in-law), a PowerPoint presentation, and a box of bribes. I’d learned how to make little six-page books from one piece of paper, so I did enough for all of the kids to have one. My sister and I put them in little baggies with a pen and some sticky notes. That way, they’d have something to jot their ideas down in.
Plus, I’d purchased a display pack of the coolest bookmarks on earth...
Anyway, the school hooked me up with a visitor’s badge, and I made my way to the cafeteria. Thankfully, despite my introversion, I have no problem with public speaking. Once I got started, I fed off of their energy.
Okay, so they don’t look particularly energetic in that shot, but it was early. Once the presentation was over, they had plenty of questions. Awesome ones, too. Some kid asked me if I’d buy him a big screen TV when I became a millionaire. *grins*
Afterward, we talked about book covers. The teachers passed out folded sheets of paper, and they all created covers for their book ideas. Holy creativity, Batman! Kids aren’t afraid to use their imaginations. I love it.
We took a few photos together, and then I had the moment. You know, the moment when everything suddenly becomes worth it. This little girl ran up to me, all wide-eyed, and said, “I’m so excited I got to meet a real author today, because that’s what I want to be when I grow up!”
Normally, if someone said that to me, I’d be like, “Are you prepared to take a vow of poverty?” But this was different. She had so much hope, so much ambition, in her eyes—I swear, it was contagious. I said, “Well, I’m so excited I got to meet you, too. Now I can tell everyone I knew you before you were famous!”
Later that week, one of the classes made a giant card and sent it to me. It made my
Question of the Week: Have you ever spoken at a school?
P.S. The bookmarks were a huge success! I snatched one for myself. ;)