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This week wraps up 2023 Nevada Reading Week. I presented to ten different schools and an online district presentation which streamed to 3,000+ students! Sharing my stories and books was fun and a great honor.

Having posted about my daily updates, I received questions from my fellow authors about doing school presentations; I’ve compiled a few thoughts that will hopefully make your next school visit successful. 

Things before the presentation

Know Your Audience

The closer your can tailor your presentation to the correct age group, the more effective it will be. In my experience, the younger age group tends to be more interactive than the older ones. It is essential to set expectations to avoid being surprised when you do not get the expected responses from the audience. The time you present can also affect the audience’s energy level. Early mornings are the worst in my experience.

Set Your Goals

Make sure to identify the goal of your presentation. When it comes down to it, you’re trying to do a couple of things when presenting: inform and entertain. While you don’t have to be a standup comic – no one wants a boring presentation.

Schools & Teachers

Schools are busy. They run on the clock. Just know that when you arrive, it might not be the big welcome parade some authors showcase on social media. Often, small and underfunded schools are struggling, so it’s okay that they don’t have the confetti for the glorious author – you are there for the kids.

Presentation Length

Younger kids should have at most 30 minutes, and older ones at most 45 minutes. Attention spans shorten, the audience gets impatient, and the teachers become frantic. Don’t forget to leave time for Q & A, which is one of the best ways of interacting with the audience. 

Energy levels

Manage your energy levels. If you’re doing four presentations one after the other, it will drain you. Are you the presenter who likes to bounce and walk around, or do you stand behind the podium during the talk? I prefer the former because I enjoy interacting with the audience.

As the kids begin interacting, they will also start chattering with each other. You’ll see the teacher’s radars turning on, ensuring things don’t get out of hand. So keep that in mind.

Costumes and outfits

Some authors like to dress up as mascots, superheroes, or other eye-catching outfits. After trying it out a few times, I’ve decided to dress for comfort, especially when doing multiple daily presentations. I think the kids have fun either way as long as I bring the right energy.


Honorariums are entirely optional to the author. It is a good way of being compensated for your time. Remember, beyond the presentation itself, you’ll spend many hours prepping and putting together the content. The slideshows don’t magically put themselves together!

How much you charge will depend on your notoriety and the kindness of your heart. Out-of-town presentations have other expenses, such as hotel, food, and travel cost. Do more research to find out your comfort level. I recommend doing some comp research on other authors and their fees.


Presales are entirely up to you. You can use this as an incentive to give discounted honorariums if the school meets a minimum sale. But often, this is challenging to track, especially if you’re not handling the sales directly. You’ll have to pay close attention, and unless the school has a budget and can purchase in advance, it might come down to the wire. Do you also have the capacity to process sales and delivery of the books?

If the publisher or a bookstore handles presales, you can focus 100% on your presentation.

Getting ready for your presentation

Slideshow Presentation

It’s always a good idea to have a presentation itinerary. I’ve used slideshows successfully, and it helps keep things moving. You might also opt for physical props and display boards to accomplish this.

Online Presentations

If doing an online presentation (via zoom, teams, google meets, etc.), test it with a few friends and make sure everything works in advance. Knowing where you’re doing it from and that the internet capabilities are adequate is also a good idea. Public internet could be less stable and may restrict some access.

Preparing for the presentation

I’m not a natural speaker, so I must prepare for everything. I write notes and rehearse whenever I can, even on the drive to the office. Practice makes perfect!

Displays, Books & Banners

Kids are always impressed when they see the roster of books you’ve accomplished. Some authors have them displayed on tables or the stage. I bring just a few books (specifically the ones I’ll be talking about). 

Books are heavy! So if you’re traveling, you’ll want to avoid getting injured carrying your books. 

If traveling light, showcase your books within the slideshow presentation. But if you bring them, rolling luggage is a convenient option.

I also bring a standup banner with my contact information and art. Setting up takes a few minutes and is a good way of promoting yourself. Make sure to allocate enough time to get the display set up.

Equipment & Supplies

Check with the school and its capabilities if you’re presenting anything digitally. Once they’ve confirmed, check again! Assume they will have a faded projector and that the inputs are outdated. I’ve seen it happen many times!

And when you cannot use your equipment, have the files ready on a portable USB stick. 

  • Laptop, Tablet
  • Slideshow clicker
  • Power cords
  • Charging cords
  • HDMI adapter, VGA adapter
  • Microphone & portable speaker 
  • Drawing supplies for demonstrations
  • Signing supplies (pens, stickers, bookmarks, postcards)
  • Freebies (posters, book prizes)
  • USB backup of your presentation.

I’ve simplified my setup to an iPad with an HDMI output and a clicker. I’ve never brought a microphone and speaker, but I heard other authors do it.

What goes in the presentation

After researching, I’ve discovered that authors try incorporating three main categories in their presentations: Informational, educational, and interactive. Depending on your book, and age group, you’ll have to decide which works for you. I’ve added some samples of ideas that belong to each section.


  • Author Journey
  • Source of Inspiration


  • Book reading
  • How publishing books work
  • Making of a book
  • How writing works
  • Brainstorming ideas
  • How stories work
  • Drawing instructionals


  • Drawing demonstration
  • Performance, singing, dancing
  • Arts & crafts (coloring, drawing with the audience)
  • Brainstorming
  • Questions & Answers
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Taking pictures


  • Make sure to give thanks to the teachers/librarians for giving you the honor of being at the event
  • Greet/thank the audience in advance for showing up (this will gauge their participation level early on)
  • Announce any particular circumstances that day or week. Are you there for a specific reading or literary event? 


Thank the audience and teacher. You can also provide your contact info and where they can buy your excellent books. Pass the microphone to the host.

A note on giveaways

Giveaways are a great way to get the audience’s attention. Also, a neat way to get your author copies out there. 

I give away books during a reverse Q&A where I ask the audience a question. Everyone wants a free book, so they’re naturally excited and want to get selected for a chance to win.

It’s typically not an issue but check with the teacher that giving free books is okay. Sometimes they don’t want kids to get the book before it is available via the school library.

Taking pictures and book signings

Allocate enough time before or after your presentation for book signings. You can also bring pre-signed bookplates to stick on the books. Teachers often want kids to pose with the author to share it with their parents.

I’ve had kids ask me to sign their notebooks, a piece of paper, a jacket, and a Nintendo console. 


Swags are great for schools (stickers, posters, bookmarks, shirts, etc.). But they are also expensive! So give what you can afford. Teachers love bookmarks. The publisher may pay for some of them (check).

Final words

We’re all different. Whichever way you wish to present should be natural and fun for you. Don’t force yourself into being something you are not. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be the best version of yourself. For the longest time, I’ve been worried bout doing presentations (sometimes it’ll still kick in), but somehow I muster the strength and get energized when I speak in front of the audience. 

If I bring my A+ game, the audience will also give back their A+ game. If I act like I’m half-asleep, they’ll do the same!

It’s easy to get scared before a presentation. Just remember that you are sharing your passion for stories, creativity, and your love for books. That comes from a place of compassion, sharing, and generosity, and that should be a source of motivation for you to do your best.

Some of the best moments are seeing the joy and excitement in the kids’ eyes and knowing that I’ve inspired them to dream bigger.

Best of luck! 


Author / Illustrator at