Skype Makes it Happen– a Guest Post by Margot Finke

Hi Friends! As you know, Margot Finke is Promo queen and Picture Book Critique queen all rolled up in one and I am lucky enough to know her. Virtually that is. We met way back before “Annie’s Special Day” was published and our virtual relationship has just grown.  She is going to tell you how to have a virtual author visit so hold on to your hats! Let it go, Margot!

by Promo Queen
Margot Finke

Margot's Skype Photo

Margot’s Skype Photo


You have a book (or three) published. You have visited all the local schools. And other local institutions and book stores are almost to the point of labeling you a “stalker. YIKES!! Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are absolutely bursting with your promotional material, and how many more Blog Book Tours can your fans (or you) stomach?

Yet your books are not moving off the shelves into hot and eager little hands. They sit, like dowagers waiting for the grim reaper. What to do? Hmmm. . . That Book Fair table is just too expensive.

You stare at your computer screen. Why? It’s never offered an epiphany before. You see your SKYPE icon in the task bar. You think of the fun you had calling your Uncle George at Christmas, your sis on her birthday, and your best friend in Australia. EUREKA! Why not fun in the classroom – with your books! Finally, staring at a blank computer screen paid off!


But don’t get all excited yet. . . there’s a LOT of work to do before Skype brings home the bacon. . . er profits!

First, register for Education Skype. Then write up a catchy bio for your page there – titles, links, and an outline of what your Skype Author visit offers. Add book covers. If your books offer something unique, make sure you add that as well. This is my page as an example:

Give your blog or website a kick in the pants! Update, jazz up, and page clean. Add new posts on a weekly basis – at the very least. Make the most of your blog’s Layout section, where all the add-ons are situated on the right of your page. Get rolling with ADD a GADGET. Things like Follow by eMail, Search Box and HTML/Java Script. Also Images, Slide Show (for your books), Video Bar (trailers) and Feed are a must.

Now you have to go to Linkedin, Facebook and Google+, and anywhere else you can think of, like Yahoo lists, and join all the sites that link to teachers, librarians, or even book clubs. NO, that’s not all. You need to get known on these lists and circles. You must create the image of YOUR Beautiful Booksas caring about literacy, reading, and writing. Get a reputation for being helpful, knowledgeable, and available. And every so often slip in a plug for your book(s).

Like details or back story in your manuscript, you must master the art of weaving in self promotion – but in a sneaky way. Doing all this will create a widely accepted persona of you as an author of terrific books for kids. You want prospective readers (parents, friends and relatives who buy books) to like and trust you.

None of this will happen overnight, especially if you have always huddled in your writing cave like a hibernating bear. “So, WAKE UP and smell the profits of promotion.” Your books have oodles of competition, mate, and only coming out of hiding and ROARING their praises will make sales happen.

However, if you have a ton of loot to spread around on professional promotion, you can scrap this and take a vacation in Hawaii. But I will HATE you for it!! I have spent my youth, and owe most of my butt size and wrinkles to the need for sitting down every day at my computer, and either writing, or promoting what I already have published. When money is tight, brilliant insights and a little out-of-the-box thinking can pay off – BIG TIME.


Offer a presentation something like this:

*A reading from your book
* A talk about how books are written, where to find story ideas, and how to write stories that HOOK readers. Tailored this to suit the age of each class.
*A Q and A at the end is always a big draw.
*Send special information, and pictures about your book and talk, ahead of time.
*Now for the MONEY SHOT: Send an order form ahead of time to go home with parents, so they or the school can buy copies. I do my visits FREE, and I mention I am happy to do so, but also that I really appreciate when the schools and parents buy my books. PayPal works best for direct sales and does not involve the teacher. Teachers love it simple.
*Mention that you are happy to fit in with the teacher’s needs.
*If they are new to skyping, offer to do a trial run a day or two ahead.
* Send a reminder email a few days earlier, in case they have forgotten. Yes teachers do forget!
*If possible, dress as a character from one of your books. If you have other books than the one you are reading from, show the covers as well after you read.

I used to arrive for actual school visits dressed as an Aussie hobo ( bum to you!) Complete with

a cork-brimmed hat to keep off the flies, and a pack with frying pan. Plus a tin to boil tea water. I walked in singing Waltzing Matilda. I guarantee no kid fell asleep after that introduction! And it works on SKYPE as well. Do a practice run with a friend for any new idea, and then adjust it for Skype. Kids and teachers love a good giggle.

Load up your Magic Carpet with books that fit class needs. Ask the teacher if there are many reluctant readers, or kids with reading problems, like dyslexia. Make your author visit as interactive as possible. Ask the class what they like to read, their favorite book, who likes to write, and WHAT they write?

With older kids you can go into word usage, plot development, and cover art etc. Leave plenty of time for the Q and A. Tell them a little about yourself – especially something funny that happened, or how you got a lot of rejections before you learned the right way to write for great kids like them. RELAX and enjoy yourself. The kids sure do!! Show and Tell about anything that is fun or relevant to the book you are reading.

As you gain confidence, add new bits and pieces to your presentation. A Skype blog, with pictures from the class, plus teacher comments and new booking dates, will add to your reputation as a Skype Author.


Skype helps you reach children and teachers in places that would never see a real author in person. That means your name, and the titles of your books, can reach all over the US – to every state. With Amazon, prospective buyers have to sift through tens of thousands of titles to make a choice. With a Skype Author Visit you and your books have no competition – just dozens of kids and teachers, listening to you, and looking at you and your wonderful books.


Awww. . . Now I’m getting soppy! As the Aussie in me would say, “Stone the crows, mate, it aint easy!” It takes time and perseverance to set all this up, do the research, join the groups and participate. But then what about becoming an author is NOT hard. Writing a great story? Finding a publisher? Promotion in general? All time consuming and hard work. But HOOKING kids on reading is worth the effort. And if you sell some books to parents and schools along the way, it is all great gravy!!

Hearing from a teacher a few days after your visit, about how enthused her class is, and how reading, as well as writing their own stories, is now a big deal. . . well, that is an EPIC thrill.

Maybe one of these kids will grow up to be a famous author. When interviewed, they will say that it all began for them when Margot Finke (or you) did a Skype Author visit to her third grade class – way back in the day! Come on now. . . stranger things HAVE happened!

Margot's books

Margot’s books

And, as a reward for sticking with me through all of the above, please accept both these FREE GIFT (pdf) downloads:

*A FREE “Sneak Peek” inside my latest books (samples and covers):
*My FREE “Fairdinkum Aussie Recipe Book”:
(Favorite eats from my childhood Down Under)

Thanks Clarike, for letting me go on about SKYPE to your wonderfully dedicated readers.

Thanks so much for the freebies, Margot! They are free, Friends, so help yourself! It’s been an honor, Margot! Thanks again. *************************


Margot Finke is an Aussie transplant, now living in Oregon with her husband and family. Gardening, travel and reading fill in the cracks between her writing. Their three children are now grown and doing well. Four delightful grandchildren round out Margot’s family.

Margot’s 13 published books are available through Amazon and many other outlets, including her website. Her Manuscript Critique Service helps children’s writers polish and tighten their stories before publication. Helping other writers succeed, and HOOKING Kids on Reading, is Margot’s special goal.

She didn’t begin serious writing until the day their youngest left for college. This late start drives her writing, and pushes her to work at it every day. Margot says, “I really envy those who began young, and managed to slip into writing mode between kid fights, diaper changes, household disasters, and outside jobs. You are my heroes! “

Amazon Books: – Skype News! – Virtual School Visits


It’s here! It’s here! The Edmund Pickle Chin  blog tour is here! And here is the schedule!

Yesterday/May 26 / animal abuse and mistreatment

Joanna –

tomorrow/May 29/ author collaboration

Stacy –

Friday/May 30/ PPBF and review

Vivian –

Monday/June 2/ author interview

Erik –

Wednesday/June 4/ Edmund interview

Patricia –

Monday/June 9 /teacher info and guide

Susanna –

Do come see us there. There will be prizes for the readers who reads and comments on all the posts. And boy! Am I ever pumped to see you there!

SEE you tomorrow over at Stacy’s!


About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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11 Responses to Skype Makes it Happen– a Guest Post by Margot Finke

  1. Margot Finke says:

    Many thanks, Clar. You did me proud, mate. I really hope your readers go download my FREEBIES. If anyone hits a problem with a download, just email me and I will send it to them direct –

    Now off to visit your Blog Tour. Edmund Pickle Chin is a terrific read!!!

    Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits


  2. Great post! 😀 I keep trying to get my school to get SKYPE!


    • Margot Finke says:

      Thanks so much ThisKid. For most of the schools I fly my Magic Carpet of Books into, it is the teachers that supply the SKYPE, via the laptops they bring with them. Skyping with classes is awesome. Makes me feel wonderful to see all those eager faces, and answer lots of questions after reading to them, and talking about what I put between the covers of my books. Their enthusiasm is so great. Talk to a teacher of librarian about SKYPE. Stress it is free, and that Edutopia and Education Skype are very reputable. Many classes take Virtual Class Trips to other schools, or to fun, interesting, and educational places – all FREE!! I have Skyped with a school in Delhi, India, and one in New Zealand. Those Maori kids were so excited, and I had a ball. My Skype Visits are FREE!

      Books for Kids – Skype Author Visits


      • clarbojahn says:

        Thanks, Margot!

        It has been an honor to once again host you as guest. I Love your article and will no doubt go back to it when if ever I get a skype visit.

        I Love how you stress it is free! That will be a selling pont for most librarians and teachers. 🙂


  3. Margot Finke says:

    I so appreciate your support Clar.


  4. Hi Margot, thanks so much for sharing all this great info. I am working on my web page. I’ve skyped my friend and now I’ll register with Education Skype! You are a blessing to all of us. All hail to the Promo and Skype Queen Bee!


  5. Nice post. There is a video at youtube that only shows the cover but Jamie Lee Curtis recites the entire poem of the book. Just an FYI. 🙂


    • clarbojahn says:

      HI Kidlit! 🙂

      Thanks so much for the tip. I’ll try and put it as one of the resources for the review! I appreciate you letting me know about the You tube video. 🙂


  6. donnamcdine says:

    Absolutely terrific post! Margot thank you a million times over for your valuable information!


  7. Margot Finke says:

    Donna, you are always there with a hug and great praise. Thanks mate. You are the BEST!!! Yesterday i Skyped with a hospital classroom in Utah. It was a real thrill to do. Those kids deserve all the giggles and terrific reads I can manage.


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