Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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« Part 3 (Decatur, GA): Little Shop Of Stories, Friends School of Atlanta, The Heritage School | Main | Part 1: Sea Monkey & Bob Book Tour Prep, Packing Tips For Writers & Illustrators Going On Book Tours »
Thursday
May042017

Part 2 (Raleigh, NC): Olds Elementary, Partnership Elementary, Quail Ridge Books Plus Book Tour Organization and My Thoughts On Media Escorts

BOOK TOUR NAVIGATIONPart 1 - Part 2 - Part 3  - Part 4  - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Back to main Sea Monkey & Bob Bonus Page

At Fred A. Olds Elementary. Photo: Margaret Robe.

Heartmelt moment of my Sea Monkey & Bob Book Tour: when a little girl at Fred A. Olds Elementary (the child in the purple jacket holding I'm Bored in the photo above, standing in front of me) looked up at me in wonder after I handed her a signed book and said, "You mean I get to keep this book FOREVER??"

Thanks to Quail Ridge Books for arranging my visits with Fred A. Olds Elementary and Partnership Elementary in Raleigh, NC. Special thanks to Ann Pearce at Olds and mary Martin at Partnership. I had a fantastic time, and it was a wonderful way to start off my book tour!

Q. How was the Sea Monkey & Bob book tour organized?

I'm not sure how other publishers work with authors and illustrators for book tours, but I worked primarily with my publicist at Simon & Schuster Children's, Katy Hershberger:

User pic from Katy's Twitter acct at @katyhershKaty is awesome. I am always so aware that Katy is not only organizing my book tour but many other promo-related events at the same time, yet she ALWAYS responded quickly to my questions before and during my book tour.

But back to the initial organization phase...

After Katy confirmed that the proposed dates worked for me, she asked me what age range my presentation was geared toward, and the basic format. Then she started approaching the bookstores about school visits.

Photo: http://www.newsobserver.com

Simon & Schuster Children's organizes their author/illustrator book tours through indie bookstores that have a strong connections with local schools. For the Raleigh, NC leg of my book tour, S&S worked with Quail Ridge Books. Quail Ridge is an award-winning indie bookstore that specializes in Southern and children's lit; you can find out more about them on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Someday I hope to go back to Raleigh, NC and actually visit Quail Ridge Books and meet some of their staff. From their website, it looks wonderful!

But now I'd like to talk about media escorts. I've had a media escort a couple of years ago during my Naked! book tour (Genene Murphy in the Chicago area; I highly recommend her services!) and so appreciated it. This year, I had a media escort for all my events and I found most of them FANTASTIC.

Like Margaret Robe in Raleigh, NC:

 

Q. What did you love most about having media escorts during your book tour?

- They helped keep me organized and on time. This is the biggie for me, since while I *love* talking to young readers, I have always found the tight scheduling of book tour travel super-stressful; I'm the type of person who would far rather arrive an hour early than arrive just in time, would opt for a 3-hour layover in an airport rather than risk missing a flight because of a tight connection. Having a media escort who is helping to keep me on time enables me to focus more on my presentation and having fun with the young readers rather than stress about what time I have to leave in order to get to the next place on time.

- They love books and reading and indie bookstores and are media escorts because they love it, not because they have to.

- They love the area, and this comes across in their descriptions of buildings we're passing, local history tidbits, the food, the locals. 

- They take photos of my event.

- They fill me in on the background/history of the schools, bookstores and people I'm visiting.

- They talk to the schools I'm visiting when we arrive to find out practical stuff like confirming timing, whether I need to sign books beforehand or with each child (and whether there is time for the latter), photo permissions, etc. This gives me more time to focus on getting set up, testing tech, visiting the restroom, having a few minutes to relax and chitchat with the teachers/librarian/bookstore contact before my presentation.

- Some, like Margaret Robe, also do livetweeting! Margaret also tagged me and the school, making it super-easy for me to just retweet while I was on the road:

Authors and publishers: if you're looking for a media escort in the Raleigh, NC area, I strongly recommend the services of Margaret Robe! You can find her on Twitter at @MaggieLouRobe.

Q. The photo at the top of this post shows your other books, not just Sea Monkey & Bob. What gives?

What I have found on book tours: that bookstores and schools are interested in an author/illustrator's other books, not just the new book. I think I signed as many of my other Simon & Schuster books as I did Sea Monkey & Bob on this book tour....especially Where Are My Books? (my first solo picture book!)

Some schools had never heard of my other books, some had. Partnership Elementary students were especially enthusiastic about NAKED!, a picture book written by Michael Ian Black that I illustrated. I ended up reading the book aloud to the delighted students at the end of my Q&A, and asked them to help me.WOW, Kindergarten and 1st graders love yelling the word "NAKED!" :-D

Thanks again to Fred A. Olds Elementary and Partnership Elementary for the warm welcome, and to Quail Ridge for organizing my school visits!

*****Continued in Part 3 (Decatur, GA) with Little Shop Of Stories, Friends School of Atlanta, The Heritage School plus amazing student art and I get to meet a future children's book editor.

 With Leigh Duke & Ann Pearce at Fred A. Olds Elementary.

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