Media Specialist – Scheduling

Attention: I’m available to SKYPE directly to your classroom! E-Mail

 To read a great article on virtual classroom visits, click on this article from School Library Journal

Please note: Tests are now available for Cynthia’s Attic. Email for details.

Why should you schedule an author visit?

Because I’m incredibly entertaining, I love what I do, and enjoy sharing my craft with all  readers and writers. From forming  ideas to choosing characters, to writing, I’ve discovered that students love meeting a real author and discovering how we go about writing, editing and getting published. So, now that you can’t wait to schedule a visit, here are some suggestions.

Approximately 2 weeks prior to visit:

 1. Introduce the students to my books. This makes a huge difference in the enthusiasm level of the students.
a. Suggest that students visit my website:

      b. Ask students to read blurbs of my novels and choose one to read. This is especially helpful if the kids want to have a mini book club discussion with their friends.

 2. Preorders may be taken. Usually this is more effective after students read blurbs and visit my website. I will also have information available so that books may be ordered after the visit.

 How to go about this? I’ll e-mail an order form that you may send home with the students a few days prior to my visit.

 You may also order books from any major distributor, contact me and I will bring the appropriate number of books requested (preferred method). I will also have books on hand the day of the visit through the encouragement of my publisher involve students in personal booksignings.

Note: if ordering from a distributor, please allow an adequate amount of time for the books to be delivered. I generally have books available, but please check with me first.

3. Compile a list of questions about how books are written,  edited, published, etc., or specific questions pertaining to the Cynthia’s Attic series. On the day of the visit, kids may have questions but are hesitant to voice them. If they have the opportunity to write their questions ahead on index cards, it is easier to get them answered without putting anyone on the spot. Once the Q & A gets rolling, students tend to feel more confident about asking additional questions.

4. Please add information about my visit to the school newsletter and post the flyer (I will e-mail a personalized flyer announcing my visit) throughout the school and media room to add enthusiasm and participation.


During the visit:

1. In preparation for a book signing, have sticky notes available. This will help me sign books more quickly and get the kids’ names spelled correctly! If preorders are taken, I would prefer that the teacher/media specialists collect money in advance, if possible, or assign a person to help with book orders the day of my visit. I’d also prefer not to deal with personal checks.

2. Provide “show and tell” space. I am happy to bring copies of items related to the publishing process, including but not limited to original manuscript copies, copyedited text, rejection letters, cover flats, and more. It’s fun to show the process from idea to book and explain how it all happens.

3. Wireless microphone. If presenting in an auditorium setting to a large group, a wireless microphone will definitely help me preserve my voice! This isn’t necessary in media rooms with good acoustics, however.

4. Computer, screen, Power Point.

Suggested Topic/exercises:

*A writing contest: (One week before visit) Teacher will give assignment to write a brief story using a favorite, funny, or eccentric relative (parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, aunt, uncle, etc.) as the main character. Stories about a family member may include real elements as well as fantasy elements. Student readings can take place during the visit. Editing can also be discussed, if requested. The teacher will choose a winner which will be posted on my website and/or the Quake (Publisher) website.

*A discussion of an unusual incident in family history (with permission!).

*Children may bring childhood pictures (with permission!) of relatives, along with a short story to add to the discussion.

*I’ll present a fun Power Point 2007 using early 1900s pictures showing How A Book Comes To Life! Another Power Point   encourages writing: You Know You Want To Write!  I will bring a memory stick and/or CD and will need access to a laptop and projector. If possible, class number should be limited to 70-80 students during one presentation, however more students will be fine if you have a large media room. I prefer no more than 4 presentations per visit.

 * I’ll be happy to read from any of the “Cynthia’s Attic” books. Please let me know, if possible, which one of the five series books you prefer.

*If visits involve morning and afternoon sessions, a light lunch is not required, but is welcomed, otherwise, the growling coming from my stomach could be distracting!

*Above all, your enthusiasm before, during and after my visit is greatly appreciated!


After the visit:

E-Mail: Mary Cunningham. Students are encouraged to email me about what they enjoyed most about the visit. And, a small collection of e-mails may be published in the front of the next book! (with parent’s permission. We don’t use last names)

2. Feedback from faculty. I also love feedback from teachers, librarians, and other faculty members. Feel free to e-mail: I will post a few on my website.

E-mail for session/day fees.