Opening the Door to Author Visits By Lisa Tiffin

My first school author visit turned out to be a great experience. Not only was it a wonderful way to give back to the community, but it led to several paying author visits!

Each year, my local SCBWI group puts on a large book festival and donates a school visit to a needy school in conjunction. We chose two public schools in our city, and I presented in a fourth grade and a fifth grade class.

Part of this “Festival To Go” included a donation of author books through a local chapter of Altrusa, a national philanthropic group. I used one of my short stories that had been published in a fiction anthology, and the group paid for each child to receive a copy. In coordinating the order for the books and having an Altrusa rep in the classroom, I was invited to speak to their local chapter. Not only will they treat me to dinner, but they will also pay me a speaker’s fee!

Only a few days after my school visit, I was invited to speak to a small group of American Heritage Girls (think Girl Scouts for Christian kids). Though this request was not a direct result of the first visit, it came close on the heels and I was able to book the visit in part because of my previous experience. This one pays a slightly smaller stipend, but it will cover my gas and make for a nice clip on my resume.

Though these two speaking engagements do not pay large amounts, on the day of my initial author visit I was approached by the head district librarian who had sat in on one of my presentations. She asked for my business card and wants to hire me to visit other classrooms. You can bet I’ll follow up on that lead!

I’ve had two other leads arise out of that initial visit. The first is a homeschool college and careers group, and the other is a public school class. Both are through teacher friends who heard about my successful Festival To Go visit.

Even though I’m just starting out on the speaker’s circuit, every opportunity is exciting as I walk through the door of this new endeavor. With each visit I’m building my platform and supplementing my freelance income.

Lisa Tiffin is a freelance writer based in Upstate New York. Her work has been published in anthologies, study guides, magazines and newspapers. She is happy to put her education degree and love of public speaking to use as she ventures into the world of author visits. Contact her at or

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