Friday, January 18, 2008

Major Publisher & University Bringing Authors to Kids

Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and Ball State University have announced they have partnered to bring S&S authors and illustrators into more than 30,000 schools nationwide through live, interactive Web broadcasts. The upcoming "electronic author visits" (EAV) use BSU's electronic field trips program to let students and teachers interact directly with authors and illustrators through live video, discussion forums, and downloadable learning activities.

S&S has formed an exclusive three-year agreement with BSU; it plans to host three EAVs each year. Andrew Clements, author of FRINDLE and NO TALKING, will kick-off the program in March. D. J. MacHale and MargaretPeterson Haddix will also participate.

Well, hey, how cool is this for the handful of authors selected to participate? It is, after all, all about connecting with your target audience. Will other publishers create similar programs as well? Let's expand the concept to high schools and colleges -- my how-to publicity book for small businesses is used as a publicity textbook in several colleges and I'd love an opportunity to hear from students and answer their questions through a Webcast.

But let's pretend we're little kids again. What author do you wish you could have talked to when you were in elementary school? And what would you have asked via a Webcast? I wrote a fan letter to Louisa May Alcott when I was in third grade. Yeah, that's right, she was dead, but what eight-year-old fan of Little Women, Little Men and Rose in Bloom knows that? She would have been my first choice for a chat. Who would you have picked?

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