What is an author visit?
An author visit is when an author is sent to your school to present their latest title. Usually, they will discuss their writing process (how they came up with the idea for their book, what inspires them, etc), and how they became a writer. Sometimes they speak on their own schooling and teachers, and how those people made a difference to their career. It is an amazing experience and encourages students to read. Hosting an author may also help you in getting grants, as your school is promoting literacy. Furthermore, the author visits with Vroman’s are FREE. You will not need to pay an honorarium or travel fees that are normally required when setting up a visit on your own. This is because when publishers send authors on book tours, they do it when the author’s newest book is debuting. They want to promote the book and the author and therefore, foot the bill on any expenses. They do this to gain exposure for the author and be able to sell books. Because there are always new titles appearing, publishers continue to send authors out. Normally, an author will visit two schools per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They will also have certain AV or other requirements. All of this information will be provided, prior to booking.
How do I book an author to come to my school?
Every now and then, Vroman’s will send an email to surrounding schools informing them of authors currently on tour, and/or who are available for school visits. All of these authors are listed on our AUTHORS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE page. If you see one that you think would work well with your student body, please email Jen Pino. Please include:
- Name of your school:
- Name of the author:
- The date you’d like the author to visit:
- The time you’d like the author to visit:
- # of students attending and grade levels included:
- Have you read our AUTHOR VISITS WITH VROMAN’S webpage: Yes? No?
- Have you read and agreed to everything on our SCHOOL VISIT AGREEMENT: Yes? No?
What are the requirements for my school?
1. To read and sign our SCHOOL VISIT AGREEMENT. (Every school & bookstore is different. We know that it is hard to know what to expect from all parties involved when hosting an author visit. Therefore, we’ve designed this checklist agreement to help ensure a successful event for everyone.)
2. By committing to host an author, your school understands that there is a suggested minimum book order of 25 copies to be sold. (Schools can normally hit this number pretty easily. We have a list of ideas to encourage book sales under, HOW DO I PREPARE FOR AN AUTHOR VISIT/GET MY SCHOOL EXCITED?)
3. To handle all the money that comes in from the students. (Your school will keep all of this money and Vroman’s will send a single invoice to your school, to be paid post-event.)
I've scheduled an author visit, now what?
As soon as your event has been confirmed, Vroman’s will email you asking a few logistical questions. From there, you will receive an email including an order form/flyer. We will order books for you to sell at your school and let you know when they are available to pick up.
What is an Order/Form Flyer?
An order form/flyer is what lets students and their families know about the event, author, their book and provides them with the opportunity to purchase prior to the visit, securing a signature (either at the event or beforehand, depending on the author’s schedule). This form is required by the publisher as they’re sending the author out to your school, free of charge. The order form/flyer is specifically designed to be a poster/flyer on one side, to help advertise and promote the author's visit. The reverse side serves as an order form. It is also designed for use before and after the event. A benefit of pre-ordering the book before the author's visit is that the author will be able to sign it.
What other items should I take care of pre-author visit?
1. Provide relevant information to Vroman’s Bookstore so that we can prepare the order form/flyer.
2. Have the books for sale and collect the forms and money.
3. Promote the author's visit.
Vroman’s will create the order form/flyer for the school to distribute. It will be emailed to you as a PDF file. Although it’s in color, it copies really nicely in black & white. There are a few items on the form that will be unique to each school.
Questions to help create the order form/flyer:
1. Exactly who will collect the forms/money (main office, school librarian, PTA, etc.)? The line on the order form/flyer that states, “Please return order forms to your teacher or the main office.” will need to be determined by your school.
2. Typically schools or PTAs can accept cash and checks. If your school can accept credit cards, please let us know and we’ll add it to the form.
3. Who should the checks be written out to (school or PTA)? The line on the order form/flyer that says, “Payment: cash or check. Please make checks payable to…” will need to be determined by your school.
4. The author will need to be introduced at the beginning of the event. In addition to having a school administrator welcome the author and get things started, it’s often a unique and memorable opportunity to have one of the students introduce them! There will be a bio on the order form that can be used for this purpose.
Books for sale & money collection:
1. About one week before the author visit and one week afterward, your school will have books available for sale. Vroman’s will have these books ready to be picked up at your convenience. Your school can then make them available to students. We'll note the titles and quantities at the beginning, and whichever books are leftover at the end of the time frame, you will return to Vroman’s. We'll tally what sold, and a single invoice will be sent to your school for payment. This way, kids can buy books when it's convenient for them. It works like a consignment type thing... We know how many we start with, and however many we end up with -- we subtract to see how many sold. Then we send a single invoice after all is said and done.
2. Hopefully, any books ordered via the Order Form/Flyer in advance can be fulfilled with the books provided to your school. If not, please let us know ASAP so that we can have more ordered in time for the visit.
*Please note: Sometimes the book that the author is out promoting, doesn't come out until just days before their visit -- or sometimes that very day. Therefore, the book wouldn't be available to you (or us) until then. We'll let you know if this is the case, and adjust accordingly. (The author may have older titles that we can get in advance and await the new one.)
We would love it if you could distribute the order form/flyer. This is one of the better ways to keep track of orders and get the word out. Other than that, getting ready for an author visit can be a lot of fun, and a learning experience in and of itself! Here is a helpful list of things that schools have done in the past to welcome authors and get everyone excited:
- Include order form/flyer in your student’s weekly folders, if applicable.
- Post order form/flyer around school or online (school and PTA websites).
- Share order form/flyer on school & PTA’s social media.
- eBlasts from school and PTA/PTO.
- Include the author's visit in the morning announcements.
- Have classes create posters to hang around the school (include info about the author with lots of visuals, like the author photo, book covers, etc.).
- Have the library buy copies of the books for their shelves, so they’re available for students to check out.
- See if the PTA/PTO would like to buy some as prizes throughout the year and get them signed.
- See if the teachers would like to buy any for their classroom.
- Create a giant welcome banner for the author, outside the school’s entrance and other key spots inside the school where the author will see it.
- Have your librarian create a book display of the author’s books (maybe even add in other titles, like “if you liked this, then you’ll like this…”, etc.).
- Talk to the PTA/PTO about helping to promote the visit.
- Teach a lesson in marketing and advertising and have the students come up with ideas.
- Teachers can read some of the books aloud in their classes, do writing assignments based on the book, or conduct a book club around the title.
- Have a contest where a student can be selected to introduce the author.
- Make a “Reserved for (the author)” sign and put it in one of the parking spaces. Or attach the sign to an orange cone. Be sure to tell us which spot it will be, so we can let the author and/or media escort know!
- Assign a student escort to the author for their visit.
- Have author visit ambassadors who can visit classrooms and briefly talk about the upcoming visit: author’s name, date, read a short bio of the author, name some of their books, etc. This is a great lesson in public speaking!
- Just have fun and get creative!
What does the timeline look like, when booking an author visit?
Scheduling the author: Publishers schedule authors on their book tours 3-6 months in advance. That's when they contact Vroman’s Bookstore. There are a lot of moving parts when trying to coordinate all travel logistics for an author who will be traveling all over the country. While we don't need to do everything 3-6 months out, the publisher needs to know that your school is committed to hosting the author, so that they can move forward with travel arrangements, etc.
Event logistics: These should begin 4-6 weeks in advance of the author's visit. This has to do with preparing a pre-order form, giving your school enough time to share it, time for your school to let us know which books have been ordered by the students, allow Vroman’s to order the books, receive them at our store, process them, and get them ready to go to the school.
How is money collected from students who buy books?
Once the order form/flyer has been distributed, your school can collect them and the money. Then your school will write a single check to Vroman’s Bookstore for the full amount at the very end (after the event and after all post-sales).
What happens on the day of the visit?
Arrival, set-up & introductions:
-The author should arrive 30-45 minutes before the start time of the event.
-The author, most often a media escort, and a Vroman’s employee will be there.
-They’ll need a place to set any jackets, bags, etc.
-There will need to be a designated space for the author to sign books for students.
-They’ll want to see the event space and make sure that the AV and other requirements are set and ready to go.
-It’s always nice to meet and say hello to the principal and any other important school officials, too.
-In addition to possibly having a student introduce the author, we’d like your school to welcome everyone, introduce the event and Vroman’s, and hand it over to the student (if there is one introducing the author) – if not, then your school can proceed with the author introduction. (Either way, we can provide you with info about the author.)
-The author will do their presentation.
As the presentation ends:
-At the conclusion of their presentation, please have school staff come up on stage to thank the author, dismiss the students and talk about any school-related housekeeping needs.
-Feel free to post photos and such on social media to let the community know about this fun event! Please tag us (@vromansbookstore on Instagram and @vromans on Twitter)! You can tag the author too!
-The author will sign books for students. We will make sure to sign a couple extra bookplates, for post-event orders.
After the event is over, we’ll most likely need to leave pretty quickly, either to the next event or get the author to the airport.
What happens post-author visit?
The school will return any unsold books to Vroman’s that were left on the day of the author visit (We'll coordinate the timing of this in advance. It's usually about one week after the event.). We'll tally all books sold and send your school a single invoice. Feel free to send us photos from the author's visit! Some students are ambitious and like to send thank you notes. We can send them to the author via their publisher if you'd like to do this.
After everything is reconciled on our end, we will provide you with 20% proceeds of pre-tax book sales. Checks normally take 1-2 weeks to be sent out after reconciliation. A W-9 will need to be filled out to receive proceeds. As a school, we know that you are exempt, but because we are a business, we have to have one on hand.
Thank you so much for considering partnering with Vroman’s Bookstore!