School Visits

The Lady Janies have been doing school and library visits together around the country for years now, so we're old pros at it, and we have several different presentations that we do at both the middle school and high school levels depending on the size and/or needs of the group we're seeing.

Here are just some of our school talks:

1. How Publishing Is Like The Hunger Games

In this PowerPoint, we go through the ins and outs of how a writer gets published, from the writing of the book, to getting an agent, to signing a book contract with a publisher, to the design of the book's cover. This talk can take anywhere for 45-60 minutes, and it's best for groups of general students who are curious about what it's like to be an author. It's basically a behind-the-scenes look at the publishing process with a bunch of fun photos and videos.

2. What Makes Writing Good?

In this talk we explore the elements of good writing, with an emphasis on fiction writing. We take the students through the basis elements of writing a story--character, plot (and what makes a good one), setting, and voice. This presentation requires a white or black board (as we do a lot of interaction with the students where we ask them questions and then write up their answers), and takes up between 35-60 minutes, depending on the school's needs. This is best for smaller English or creative writing classes--30 or less, preferably.

3. Writing in the Heart's Field

This is a PowerPoint centered around writing using setting--the places that you know well. Cynthia calls it the "use what you've got" lesson, because there was a time when she thought that nobody would care about her stories if she wrote about the small town in Idaho where she grew up, but when she finally did write about Idaho her career really took off. This lecture works best with smaller English or creative writing classes and runs between 25-35 minutes, plus a 15 minute writing exercise that we all do together.

4. Follow The White Rabbit

This is a brand new PowerPoint / discussion that incorporates what drove us to write our book MY LADY JANE, which was our love for English history and our desire to ask the question what if? We discuss how the best writing is usually based on subjects the writer is intensely curious about or wildly passionate about, and how even the most "realistic" books of fiction often require a lot of research. We walk the students through making what we call an "interest inventory," a list of the subjects that interest or irritate or intrigue them, and then follow up with a writing exercise. As this is a fairly writing-heavy presentation, it's probably best for English or creative writing classes. We plan for it to run between 40-60 minutes.

We are constantly coming up with new ideas for school visits, and we're completely open to your ideas as to what you'd like us to talk about to your students, so let us know how we can best serve the needs of your school.


So now comes that awkward part where we talk about price. At the moment we are breaking it down like this:

$1000 per day (up to 4 separate talks, and we'll also be happy to have a round-table with book clubs or creative writing groups at lunchtime). If you book the full day with us, we will also include 10 copies of our books (MY LADY JANE, MY PLAIN JANE, MY CALAMITY JANE and/or copies of Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, or Jodi Meadows titles of your choice) for your school free of charge.

$550 per half day (2 talks plus round-table meeting)

$350 per single, 60 minute visit.

$150 for GoogleChat (Skype) visits, 60-90 minutes.

These fees do not include travel expenses, which we also will expect the school to cover.

Some things to note about cost:

If you live in one of our home states (Idaho, Utah, or Virginia), we will cut you a great deal.

If your school can't afford the cost of bringing us, please contact us anyway, and we can usually negotiate something lower. You also might look into coordinating your visit with a neighboring school and splitting the travel costs, which is something we've done in the past.

We're always up for GoogleChat, as long as your school has the capability for that. :)

Some things to note about school visits in general:

We collectively feel that small groups work better than large groups, for most of our presentations. We would rather see several different small or medium-sized groups than one huge group. This applies doubly for middle schools. :) We would prefer not to see any group over 100.

Preparation can be the difference between a good school visit and a great one. The most successful visits we've done are the ones where the schools have informed the students of the visit well in advance, advertised and promoted it, provided library copies of the books so the students have had a chance to check us out (literally) before we arrive, and strategically planned what classes would attend and helped us gear our talks to that particular group.

Preparation is AWESOME. Please also remember to set up what we need ahead of time. For many of our talks, we require a PowerPoint situation (a screen, a computer to run the presentation or a connection cable to a Macbook, a remote clicker), and/or we require a white/blackboard.

We don't bring our books to sell during class, but we can offer order forms from local booksellers (which can be ordered in advance, and signed while we are at the school). We typically schedule school visits around a signing or book store event, which we hope you will encourage your students to attend.


Contact our publicist Olivia Russo at to schedule a school visit in conjunction with a book signing or a tour stop. You can see our schedule for this under the Events tab.

For all other school visits, contact Cynthia at

No comments: