On Monday, I had a fabulous school visit (there's nothing like being around elementary students to energize a children's author :-). The school I visited was highly experienced with author visits. We had made all the pre-visit arrangements, including having a laptop and projector set up for my PowerPoint slides. Everything was fine. All I had to do was show up with my flashdrive (amongst my other props).
But when I arrived at the school, they told me that they'd had a break-in at the school and their laptops had been stolen. Both the principal and librarian looked at me a bit helplessly and conveyed how terrible they felt that they couldn't provide me with the means to use my PowerPoint slides (which accounts for about half of my presentation!). Could a document projector work? Could I just do without showing the slides?
Luckily, I always carry a set of transparencies with me as a back-up, "just in case."Old school, yes, but when in a pinch... When I asked them if they had an overhead projector, the custodian (standing nearby) chimed in, "Yes! We do! They wanted to get rid of it but I knew someone would need it some day!" He was grinning ear to ear (the hero of the day) and then ran off to set it up for me. I can't tell you how grateful the principal and librarian were that I had come prepared. Multiple times during the day they thanked me for having a back-up plan. This was nice to hear, but more than anything, I was so glad that I didn't have to deal with "winging it" and giving the students less than they deserved. Because really, it's all about the students and what I can give to them.
Experienced visiting authors already know this, I'm sure, but I thought I'd pass the word along for anyone who might be just getting into this realm of being a children's author.
Author visit rule #1: Always be prepared with a back-up plan.
Author visit rule #2: Always be flexible :-)