Blue Willow's Author School Visit Program



When publishers send authors on book tours to promote their new books, they often ask the host bookstore to arrange school visits in order to make the most of the author’s time in the area as well as provide an amazing opportunity for students. We offer both in-person and virtual visits. We do not charge schools for these events, but we do ask you to promote book sales on your campus.

Several times a year, our event coordinator, Cathy Berner, sends a Google form to the library coordinator in each district. The form includes details about the author visit program, a few questions to confirm that your campus leadership supports the visits, along with a list of available authors. If you think any author on the list is a good fit for your school, please complete the form by the deadline given.  Please note that completion of the form does not guarantee an author visit. Cathy will contact you with more details when visits are scheduled. 

The school visits are during the school day and usually include a 30-40 minute presentation by the author/illustrator with time for questions afterward. 

For virtual events, we host visits on a secure Zoom meeting that streams into classrooms and libraries.

Before we confirm a visit with your campus, we will need assurance from both the campus and the district administration that the author will be welcome to visit with students and Blue Willow will be welcome to sell books.

The requirements for each visit vary, but publishers always ask that the school allows Blue Willow Bookshop to sell the author’s books, via book order, before and after the visit.

Book sales matter! Publishers always ask for our sales numbers, and they base their decisions to send authors on the success of previous visits. 

The book sales process is as follows: 

  • We will create an online form for you to share with your campus so members of the community can purchase the books on our website.
  • Because Blue Willow Bookshop sells the books directly to the student or school community member, tax is included in the price listed on the order form. 
  • We will send you the link to online ordering 3-4 weeks  before the visit and keep it live 3-4 days after the visit. 
  • It is the general expectation that the school community as a whole  (students, teachers, etc.) will purchase a minimum of 30 copies of the author’s work. Ideally, many of these will be the author’s newest title. If your campus community does not typically purchase books, you can use an activity fund, a PTA budget or other campus funding to purchase books. If your school  purchases books to use on campus (in classrooms, as giveaways to students or in your library) we offer a 15% discount and do not charge tax.  If you have questions about this, please discuss them  with Cathy Berner. 
  • For in-person visits, the order form will close 48 hours before the visit in order to be sure that we have processed all orders completely. Orders received after the deadline might not be available for students.
  • We expect that authors at in-person visits will sign and personalize (FIRST NAME ONLY) books when they are on campus. If that changes, we will advise the librarian.
  • For virtual visits, when the order form has closed, we will match the books with the order forms and will let you know that the books are available for pick up. We ask that you pick up the books within 2 weeks. We can provide delivery or shipping at an additional charge based on book weight and mileage.
  • Books for virtual visits sometimes may come with a signed bookplate from the author. We hope that you can manage your campus expectations for signed copies.

Tips for a successful Authors-in-Schools visit: 

  • Prepare your students! Have teachers read the author’s books in their classrooms, provide plenty of copies for students to browse in the library, watch book trailers, create signs and flyers, and anything else to get the students excited! 
  • Teach younger students how to ask good questions. For virtual visits, encourage students and classrooms to submit questions in advance through a Google form and keep that form live during the visit so students can generate questions in response to the author’s presentation. This makes the visit so engaging!
  • Publishers love to see social media posts about these visits! Tweet, post, or share 
  • pictures and comments on your social media accounts. 

Because the authors’ schedules are determined by their publishers, Blue Willow cannot always accommodate specific date requests. Even if your school does not host an author visit, your students can meet authors at one of the three festivals Blue Willow organizes annually in conjunction with Houston-area educators: TeenBookCon, Tweens Read and Bookworm.

Thank you for all you do to create interactive and memorable learning experiences for your students! Feel free to contact Cathy Berner at with questions, concerns, or comments.