Posts Tagged ‘School Visit’




How Authors Get Paid

Filed under: Community, Fan Mail, School Visits, Touching the Surface, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

You’ve all heard some of the terminology about how author’s get paid. This is important stuff. Advances and royalties are two words that immediately come to mind and rightly so. It’s normal to want to be paid fairly for the work that you do. No one would ever expect a Hollywood movie star or a pro-athlete to donate their time for the sake of entertaining us. We also don’t expect doctors to show up for hugs and lollipops. Police get a salary and so do an army of teachers struggling under the weight of how to create learners instead of test takers. Everyone gets paid for the work that they do. Some more than others, but we all get paid.

But there are times in most professions when we realize that we do what we do, for bigger and better reasons than money. Those movie stars use their capitol to support very worth while charities. They have a reach and influence that most of us can’t ever imagine. In just one of many instances, a pro-athlete shows up for the survivors of the Newtown shooting, helping to remind us who our heroes really are. Doctors donate a percentage of their services to those in need. A police officer buys a homeless man shoes. Teachers use the very small amount of money they make to buy books for their classrooms.

Young Adult authors want to make the lives of children better. In a way, tweens and teens are our true employers and while those readers do buy books, we really get paid in fan mail–with humor, insights and honesty.

Just a sample of the thank you letters from two middle schools I recently visited…

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*   “You have inspired me to work on my basketball skills.”

*   “I hope you enjoyed us, but I know we enjoyed you.”

*   “Thank you for being a good friend to all of us…It made me think about going to the library after school to do homework.”

*   “I have something tragic that happened in my life. I think that if I let my feelings out on paper it will make my life a whole lot better.”

*   “You encouraged me to read more. And yes, I remembered to think about you when we proofread,”

*   “Thank you for answering my 17 questions…I’m reading your book and I love it. I’m a good reader but I’m slow. From your biggest fan…”

*   “Thank you for being nice to me…”

*   “What I learned from you is how to follow your dreams…One day I will make a book about dreams…I will buy your book and have a good joyful life. PS Buy my book later.”

*   “One thing I learned is if you ever want to become a writer don’t stop the first time they reject your book. Keep going on, change some stuff so it sounds better.”

*   “…I thought about it a little, and realized I should probably do the same thing because it isn’t good to keep things to yourself the way I do. So, I’m going to try to open up more to people and myself…I say this because I did what you said and wrote down some personal things that I kept away from people and it actually felt good to write it down…Thank you very much for teaching me something about myself.”

*   “…The fact that you took the whole day to come and meet every single class individually, really shows how cool of a person you truly are.”

*   “I was ecstatic when you told us about your writing style. That got me so excited because you said that not all authors planned out their stories to an extremity. I, like you, do not plan out my stories. I find writing can be much more exciting when you are writing a story and you just can’t wait to find out how the end plays out.”

*   “You also inspired me because of how you never found yourself good enough.”

*   “P.S.: Team Trevor forever!!! <3”

*   “Hi, your visit was very special…I also hope that I grow up with the same kind of encouragement and influence that you had in your life…If you have a chance, please come back and give our class the encouragement we need in life.”

*   “When you showed us the process of how to get a book published I was absolutely stunned! After I saw all the papers inside that single binder my jaw literally dropped….Rick Riordan may be one of my favorite authors but you will always be my favorite too.”

*   “Also, hearing about how much you wrote when you were younger was inspiring because I’m the same way now (Thanks for the “no tearing out” warning by the way.)”

*   “My sister just finished your book, so I got it. Like your editor, I. LOVE. IT. SO. MUCH.”

*   “I also realized that people don’t need to be published authors to be writers. People just need to write.”

*   “As you may be able to tell I’m not that good of a writer, but it’s always good to know what I might be getting into if I were to be an author.”

*   “Also it was unbelievable how great your handwriting was in elementary school.”

*   “I liked how your were really enthusiastic when you were speaking, so everyone would pay attention. I did not read your book, but I’m hoping I can get my hands on it to see how great it is after so much hard work.”

*   “Your book is going to be a big success because when I started reading I couldn’t stop or put it down.”

*   “Thank you so much for visiting our class and teaching us about the process and joy of becoming an author. You specifically connected with each of us which made it a lot more real. It’s funny because I find myself a lot like you were growing up…”

*   “Than when you came, it inspired me to write again and I LOVE IT!!!! Thank you so much for letting me do what I really love.”

*   “I too have ripped out the pages of my journal. I did this because writing things down was dangerous. Dangerous because it makes things more than thoughts in my head. Dangerous because it makes them real. Your visit lets me hope that one day I will be in front of a class showing them the pages of my ripped journal. I extend my most sincere gratitude for this, for allowing me to hope.”


As you can see, no matter how much or how little money I make as an author, it’s obvious that I’m very, very rich. This is why I love what I do. It also reminds me how carefully our children are watching and listening. I love it when I get the chance to be the change I want to see in the world. Any favorites? And yes, I laughed and cried as I was reading. How could I not?


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Addiction–Why School Visits are as Awesome as Chocolate Covered Potato Chips and a GIVEAWAY!

Filed under: Community, Contests, School Visits, Touching the Surface, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I have a new addiction and it is so much healthier than the chocolate covered potato chips from the alps.

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And yes, I sampled them when I went down to take the picture. Wouldn’t you? LOL! But hey–back on task–let’s talk about my other addiction. Squee! It’s school visits. Seriously people, they make me very, very happy. I’ve mentioned before that I was a teacher and that I was ok leaving the profession because it wasn’t a perfect fit for me. But author visits–It’s like taking a salty potato chip and dipping it in your favorite chocolate. It just works. It feels really good. I get to take the best parts of me (that I brought to the table as a teacher) and combine them with the heart and soul work I’m doing as a writer. Seriously, I could go on and on ad nauseam, but vomit isn’t pretty, so I’ll stop right after I tell you about the middle school boy who asked me to sign his arm yesterday. He mumbled something about not realizing he should have gotten the book. *heart squish* The thing is, there is more than one amazing thing going on when you’re an author for young adults. You have the potential to connect thorough your book, but you also have the weird ability to connect outside of your book. When you talk to a classroom of students, there may be kids who don’t pick up the book you’ve written, but they still hear what you say. And those words might be the right words at the right time. The possibilities and the potential are endless. But I promised to stop babbling. *covers mouth with hands*

Did you really think I’d shut up? Silly you. If you are located in the Hudson Valley area, I would love to arrange a visit to your local school. If you’re interested, let a teacher or librarian know that I’m available and how to contact me.


And because not everyone is close enough for me to stop over while my kids are in school, I’m doing a TOUCHING THE SURFACE giveaway for your favorite middle school or high school. Anyone can enter and the contest details are below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And in case you still want to chat, I was wondering if any of you have stories of influential guest speakers visiting you in school. Did they make an impact on you? Didn’t have any guest speakers or they were duds? What author would you have loved to come and speak to you?

Thanks so much for spreading the word!

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My First Official School Gig and the Feedback You Don’t Want to Miss

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Family, Fan Mail, School Visits, Writing

Last Wednesday I went to my middle son’s 4th grade class and talked about writing. It was my first official school gig and I loved it. The former teacher in me enjoyed having a captive audience again. The mom in me loved getting to know my son’s classmates better. The writer in me had so much fun talking about something I love. And all of me sucked up their energy and exuberance like a sponge. I couldn’t help but see that I’d put a small ripple out into the world, but now I’m busting my buttons because it was a bigger ripple than I’d guessed.  This is what came home to me over the weekend…

They sent me the most wonderful thank you notes–or as I think of them–love letters. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite parts with you…


Dear Mrs. Sabatini…

“Thank you for coming in to talk about writing. Like you, I love writing! That talk really helped me with different ideas for my writing.”


“You inspired me because even thought it took a long time to write touching the surface You never gave up.”


“You inspired Me To: write lots of books also public books. I learned It might take a lot of work to write a Book but its worth It! Also you have to Fix a lot when you Make it.”


*This letter was in Braille–“You did an awesome job making your stupendous books. You make me almost not afraid to write! Your poem was really funny, and your stories you told us were awesome.”


“You inspired me by you telling me your speech. PS I can beat you in a gun game.” (I may have joined in on a little shoot’em up, finger fun, going on at the bus stop LOL!)


“I have awhole list of things that inspiered me LIKE…

-When you made the photo board


-Loved all most all of the authors that you’ve met.

You see, a have alot more reasons why but I ran out of room on the paper. I’am almost done with my new book called The fuzz problem. Thank you for coming.”


“Thank you for all the amazing tips you gave me for being a writer. Just from hearing you talk, I have been writing much better and coming up with better ideas. That talk changed my writing life.”


“Things I learned from your visit:

-Writing a book takes a long time.

-Never try to hit a cat with a metal shovel

-Writer’s block is more like writer’s pause.

-there is alot more to making a book than writing it.



“I learned…if you writght something you are a wrighter.”


“Your inspirational speech really inspired me to think that dreams do come true. Like when you said that you never thought you could be an author…look at you now! Being a mom, an author and an AMAZING dancer (p.s. I loved the 9-11 number!) I just don’t know how you do it!”


“I want to say thank you for coming and inspiring me. I also learned a lot about publishing, like I never knew there was a copy editor. I will be sure to read your book when I am older. Do authors ever write by hand these days? Were you a reader when you were little? You brought out the writer in me.

P.S. Did you ever meet Judy Blume?

P.P.S. How many drafts did you make?

Keeping a diary (kind of. I already keep a journal but I used to write only lists. now I am going to write the best and worst parts of my day.)

Writing. I feel like now that will calm me down too. (Although I’m not dreaming of being an author.)



“Thank you for coming. We apprecait that you told us all that stuff. If I was you I would todaly write that much. But right now i’m in a lower stage than you. So when I grow a little bit I will grow a lot. If you can make a detective book my mom would love it. All that stuff that you told use really is going to help use. I hope that if you can make more and more books that you could be a famuase anther. And if I ever wont some help to wright, I will always go to you.

P.S. If you ever get a cat don’t kill it with a shovel.”


I’m assuming you don’t need any prompts for your comments. ROTFL! And in case you’re wondering–author–BEST JOB EVER! Tomorrow I’m going to the second grade. I can’t wait!






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