Wow, what an amazing group of kids! Kaukauna library has an after school program every Tuesday afternoon and I was lucky enough to come and talk to them today. There was a group of about 10 girls from 5-7th grade and they were interested, vocal, and had so many questions. It was such a treat to come and see such enthusiastic young readers and writers at this group.
I came to the KPL not having a set structure of things to do, but an idea of what I wanted to talk about. The kids were filtering in and out for the first few minutes, but in that time I got to talk to them and pass around a copy of The Healing Pool. They were eager to talk and I connected very easily with them. They wanted to know how long it took to write and publish the book and if my book was in any book stores. I explained to them how self-publishing works and they were all very impressed! I had to explain that it was expensive but worthwhile to come and meet all of them and sell the books. They were really glad I came, and they all promised to read The Healing Pool. One girl even gave me a pinky promise to read the next book too!
The highlight of the visit were the questions the girls asked. Many of them wanted to know what to put in a story. The formula for a book. I told them that they had to be honest and write what the book needed and not to worry about anything or anyone else. If they enjoyed it, someone else would too. One girl wanted me to write a book based on an idea she had. It was a cool idea, but I’m not going to take that from her. Hopefully she will start it. The best was when the kids wanted to know the difference between adult fiction and middle school fiction. It was hard to explain that without rightly saying “sex.” Not sure how that would have gone in the public library…I instead talked about how much more graphic adult books were and how there was harder vocabulary and more words in general. I think they bought it.
The kids also wanted to know if my book had any pictures. They all love graphic novels, but unfortunately visual art is not my thing. I told them they could draw the characters for me, and they jumped on it! The librarian said next week she’ll ask the kids to draw art for me and then email me the pictures! I am so lucky to have found a talented group of fan artists to help promote The Healing Pool.
It’s visits like this that get me going and keep me optimistic. I sold 2 books (2 more than I expected) but more importantly I connected with the kids. The librarian said she was impressed since this group doesn’t always speak. I was honest with them and they respected that. They asked me whatever they wanted and I told them the truth from the realities of being rejected as an author to how much money I make per book. They want to know what it’s like and I think it’s important for them to know. They see me as someone starting out and working hard. They all wished me good luck and acknowledged that I am doing a lot and trying to get myself out there. It was encouraging also to see kids who wanted to read. I know books compete with things like Netflix and video games, but there is a charm to a good book in your hands. I think since I connected with them so well they all wanted to support me too. They all asked for my autograph on their books/bookmarks/and even a post-it. I heard once that kids are more interested in an author’s personality than in the book itself. I think today proved that. They wanted to read the story, but I think they also respected my honesty and how approachable I am. That’s what they will be talking about.