Tag Archives: publishing presentation

Present Much?

28 Apr

Book Week

I recently gave a 30-minute presentation to an assembly of socially distanced, masked 6-12th graders and their incredible teachers at Shattuck-St. Mary’s Forest City International School in Johor, Malaysia. What an honor!

The wonderful upper school principal asked me to include:

  • pathways into becoming an author/illustrator using my personal story (“A Day in the Life”) as a springboard
  • other career opportunities in publishing
  • the importance of resilience, relationships, and responsibility
  • course recommendations for potential authors and illustrators
  • a list of skills to develop
  • at least five minutes at the end for Q&A

Wowβ€”so much to cover!

Prep Time

Between book deadlines, I spent an entire week putting together a PowerPoint presentation. I made tons of visuals, which allowed me to sneak in lots of my own art. Yay! Also, I knew from experience that I would be very nervous, and the slides would keep me on track in case of a brain malfunction. As an added bonus, the visuals would hopefully aid comprehension. (Did I mention ESL? Most of the kids SSM-FC speak English as a second or third language.)

Time to Kill Some Darlings

I rehearsed for days, cutting content after every run through. Half of the slides that I created ended up on the discard heap, including some really great ones about the illustration process. Those, I relegated to individual classroom presentations, given to younger students on other days during Book Week. In the end, even with all of the editing, I still went on a few minutes longer than I should have. Everyone seemed happy, though. I think it went pretty well. :o)

Live and Learn… and Research!

My only regret: I cut RESEARCH from the list of skills that an author or illustrator should develop. What was I thinking! I had so much to say about research that I had to cut itβ€”there just wasn’t timeβ€”but I wish I’d simply left the word on the slide. Research is an integral skill for writers and illustrators!

When working on any kind of historical project, of course, careful research is critical. I love working on biographies, because I love research! Learning makes me feel young and vibrant. But research is important in less obvious areas of publishing, too… especially when it comes time for authors to submit proposals to publishers. It’s essential to spend time determining which publisher is best suited for your project, and then, how they prefer that you submit it. It can take a lot of digging to figure all of this out.


Oh, well. Next time.

If you like, click here to see the complete presentation.