Day 20: Skyping

If you don’t have Skype, go download it. Now.
What are you still doing here? Okay, I see I’m going to have to convince you.
This is an amazing application and you should – no, need – to be using it as a business tool! For World Read Aloud Day, I Skyped with a number of classrooms, free of charge. (Hey, it was WRAD!)
Skype Visit with KatieSkype Visit with KatieSkype Visit with KatieSkype Visit with Katie
But I got paid with these amazing thank-you notes:
Skype thank you noteSkype thank you noteSkype thank you noteSkype thank you note
I digress (but aren’t those adorable? I especially like that one says DUCK and the other specifies CHICKEN). My one-hour visit includes the same slide show and lessons that my in-person presentation does, but without me jumping around the stage – but for $150, it’s a good deal! And, um, they don’t have to see me jumping around the stage!
Actually, I always offer free 20-minute Skype visits, but just because they’re free doesn’t mean there is no cost. Here is my standard response when I get a request to Skype with a school:
I offer a 20-minute Q&A Skype gratis, though there IS “payment” involved—see below! I also offer either multiple or a much more involved Skyped presentation for $150/hour.
There are only a few of things I require as “payment” for a gratis Skype visit.
-Students I speak to have read my books or have had enough time with them to really be invested in the visit, which means older students (4th – 6th) have read at least three of my picture books, as well as my novel.
-The students and/or teachers have prepared questions prior to the chat.
-Teachers agree to fill out an evaluation form and email it back to me.
-I can use a screen capture to promote my Skype visits.
If all that sounds okay to you, let’s ink it in! And remember, I also do in-person visits. If you get two other schools to book me at the same time, I will give you each a substantial discount (amount of discount depends on where you are located).
May I add you to my monthly newsletter list? It’s all about children’s books.

I haven’t had anyone say my “request for payment” was out of line yet! Skyping is great because you can do it from the same desk you work from, or from anywhere you’re traveling. I have yet to Skype from my iPad, but I’m looking forward to trying it!
I’ll also be offering a free one-hour full Skype visit to the winner of one of the four contest drawings I’ll be running in the first month Little Chicken’s Big Day is out, so if you know a teacher who would like to win that, let him or her know to check out my blog!
There are a number of writers out there who are very active with Skyping. Kate Messner even started a website devoted to authors who want to do a Skype tour for a new book. You can listen to one of my very early podcasts with Kate here and there is Skype an Author and Tips for Skype Author Visit: Be Prepared by Darcy Pattison.
It’s also possible to Skype with other professionals. I was invited to teach some teachers about picture books a few weeks ago. I created a little movie for them about the genesis of Little Chicken’s Big Day, which I will post on after the book comes out. It shows the first dummy, the 10th dummy, one item in particular that I had difficulty drawing, and the final book, which enabled me to read the book to them. Because it’s so fabulous, I simply must show you what they sent me to say thank you:

Author Arthur Slade used Skype to promote the launch of his new steampunk series, and he wrote to me, “With the launch of my steampunk series, The Hunchback Assignments, I wanted to create extra buzz and reach out to teachers, librarians, and their students. So I designed a virtual tour called “The Hunchback Assignments Half Hour.” Each winning school would receive a half hour virtual visit (I didn’t want it to be longer because then I felt I should charge for it), a free signed book (my publisher mailed the book on my behalf), and postcards (that my publisher had printed up). I sent out the “call” on Facebook and various listservs, and 30 schools in total were selected in the United States, Canada, and Australia (I only chose 30 because I didn’t want to overwork myself).
“Overall, I view the program as a success. I made contacts with educators who then went on to promote the book and the remainder of the series and, even for the schools who didn’t win the contest, at least I had some ‘facetime’ with them. The downside of the tour was that it was time consuming. The upside is that I introduced several schools to Skyping and have been asked back for a paid visit since that time.”
Slade blogged about it here.
And here is The Hunchback Assignments website.

Buy The Hunchback Assignments at an indie!

Recent Comments

  • Debbie Reese
    April 9, 2011 - 7:03 am · Reply

    Hi Katie,
    I’ve done Skype visits, too. The first one ever was several years ago with children in Australia. Since then I’ve Skyped in for colleagues in children’s literature in the US and Canada.
    It is a great tool and way to promote learning, reading, critical thinking…

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