I was at a day for professional children's writers recently (Mindshift, run by the Irish Writers' Centre with Children's Books Ireland) and the speakers had a lot of useful things to say about events for children.
I thought I'd share some of the best tips with you. And see my previous blog for tips on marketing and promoting your book.
Jane O'Hanlon from the Writers in Schools scheme said 'Writing is not considered an art form, which is why it is underpaid'. She explained that the rate for a 2 1/2 hour school session is e200 (plus travel expenses). 'If you undercut the rate, you undercut it for everyone,' she said.
She explained that classrooms are complex places and that writers need to be aware of this. From this year on, writers will need to be Garda vetted if they would like to visit a school. Poetry Ireland (who run the scheme) can Garda vet any writer in Ireland, even if they are not in the scheme - useful to know.
Designer and children's book illustrator, Steve Simpson also gave some fantastic advice.
Irish language picture books are better paid as they get grants and funding, he explained.
If you want to do events - being able to work with younger children (age 5 to 7 and younger) is a huge advantage. Develop different workshops for different age groups. Get them drawing - children love to draw.
Be yourself. Go to talks and workshops and see how others do it.
Get the kids involved - make it fun.
Have lots of interaction from the start. Always be prepared.
Try to get some photos of the event and use them on social media and on your blog/website. Build your platform.
Get a haircut.
Be genuine and real.
Be prepared for the unexpected.
All great advice! Thanks, Steve and Jane. More on how to promote your workshops/events to theatres and arts centres next week.
Yours in writing,