Tom Palmer is the author of three Puffin fiction series for children. His first novel Foul Play was short listed for the 2009 Blue Peter Book Award. His latest book, Black Op, is the first in a series about The Squad: teenage spies trying to protect the England Team at Euro 2012.
Tom has an international reputation in reader development. He is a coordinator of the Reading Partners consortium, works with The Reading Agency, Booktrust and the National Literacy Trust, and has been the official writer for the Premier League Reading Stars scheme for five years. He has travelled around the world to train librarians and teachers in techniques to encourage boys to read.
Tom is highly experienced in running successful author visits and engaging audiences at children's events.
To promote his latest series, he's doing a large UK tour, which will run from the beginning of May until the end of Euro 2012 in July. His launch kicked off in Newcastle on 3rd May with events in schools and libraries across the city with Newcastle United footballer and advocate of the NLT Premier League Reading Stars project, Mike Williamson.
Tom's blog post 22 Ways to Promote a New Book offers plenty of ideas for authors trying to spread the word about their books.
Top Tips on running a successful children's event
Well before the day of the event, encourage the teachers to talk about and read your books with the children. Produce an activity pack to familiarise children with your work.
Make sure that you have sorted out the number and timings of your sessions. Also other logistics, like if you are being collected from the station and who is selling books. Ask the school to help you if you need help.
Be nice to everyone you meet in the school. From the lollypop lady to the head teacher. But mostly, the kids.
When the children come in, start talking to them one-to-one as they settle down. Ask them a few questions. This helps in building up a rapport with the audience, especially if you are nervy.
If you can think of an event that involves interaction that relates to your book, then go for it. (It is really worth looking at other authors’ websites and on YouTube to see what others do.)
Ask the children what they like to read and if they like to write. Use their responses to spark of ideas about how you got into writing.
Read aloud from your book, but not for too long. Practice the reading lots of times beforehand, so it is as animated as it can be and so that you can spend more time looking at your audience and not the page.
Send the school a thank you letter, in the hope that they might read it out in assembly.