Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Notes: Making Connections from a Distance with Veronica Bartles

Making Connections from a Distance”
Veronica Bartles (, SCBWI Assistant Regional Advisor for Maryland/Delaware/West Virginia and author of The Princess and the Frogs and Twelve Steps, presented this webinar via Zoom on August 20, 2020. Maria Adcock took the notes.

Planning Your Perfect Presentation
Sell yourself without selling yourself short. You have a unique voice and perspective. Attendees listed things about themselves under different categories on a worksheet. This helped them make connections to put together presentations unique to each person. Find the sweet spot between skills/knowledge, interests/passions, and curriculum needs. The thing you have to offer might be something you’re dismissing.

  • Idea Mashups – Veronica has a presentation comparing book writing to creating recipes.
  • Curriculum – Connect with it through your books.
  • Learning Objectives – Know the point of your presentation. What are you trying to achieve?
  • Target Audience –Tailor your presentation to your audience.
  • Think Outside the Box – Be creative with connecting your uniqueness to your audience.
  • Partnerships, not Performances! – Connect and interact, don’t just entertain for 45 minutes.

Types of Virtual Visits

  • One-to-One – A single classroom. You can really connect with a small group.
  • Multi-class – Students from different locations join you at once.
  • Informal (Q&A) – Author reads a bit and answers questions.
  • Reading – Author does a live or prerecorded reading.
  • Workshop/Webinar – Create a writing workshop for students.
  • On-Demand: Prerecorded. May lower price to increase accessibility.

Making Connections

  • Share Your Screen Often – Don’t add too much text to slides. Make sure the text is not too small or too big. The text should contrast: consider size, weight, color, and serif versus sans serif.
  • Pictures – Use relevant ones. Keep It Simple Silly! Your book cover can be the art. The text has to be visible and clear on an image.
  • Eye Contact – You make a connection when you make eye contact through the camera.
  • Voice – Make sure you don’t talk too fast or slow. Talk with an upbeat inflection and energy.
  • Segments – Break your presentation into smaller segments. Check in with your audience.
  • Personal Tell a story that keeps your audience engaged.

What About Fees?

  • You should be paid even if you only have one book published.
  • For virtual visits, consider charging less because you don’t have travel costs, etc.
  • Don’t undercharge. You may be worth more than you think.
  • Get feedback about fees (e.g. from school librarian Facebook groups)
  • 2018 Transparency in Pay – A survey of authors conducted by Michele Cusolito.

Good Ways to Set Up Author Visits
Start with your own circle and move out from there. Make a list of 10 groups of connections you have. Call schools and ask, “What is the best way for me to reach out to you to arrange a visit?”