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I love visiting schools – if for no other reason than I remember how THRILLING it was to get out of class. It’s just as thrilling these days to meet young and passionate readers. The best way to arrange an event is through my publicist Meredith Wilson.

As I live in suburban Philadelphia, the Mid-Atlantic region is easiest for me, though I do regularly tour in other parts of the country.

Fee Schedule, subject to change without notice:

$1500* plus travel for a keynote address, $1200 plus travel for up to three presentations, Skype visit $300 per class.

These three presentations can take many forms. Here is an ideal day:

1. A multi-class auditorium presentation

Not every student has the time, ability or inclination to read, yet the school understandably wants to maximize its return on on an author visit. This is a perfect solution. If a projector is available, I can even do a PowerPoint-type show. I discuss creative inspirations, the writing process, the importance of revision (students really love that one) (not), and how everyone judges a book by its cover, which is why covers matter so much.

  1. 2.An intimate gathering with students who’ve read Heaven is Paved with Oreos, DQ, Wisdom’s Kiss or Princess Ben

How many times in your life do you get to talk to the creator of this world you’ve just devoured? Such a gathering encourages students to read, and rewards those who do. Optimally this should follow the assembly, so we can get right to the heart of things. Food helps as an ice breaker, or a couple of sympathetic faculty members to loosen up tongue-tied teens.

3. A second intimate gathering, with . . .

  1. teachers, to discuss creative writing

  2. a creative writing class, to discuss creative writing ☺

  3. a literacy or remedial group

Such a schedule allows me to meet — and hopefully to inspire — a huge number of students, teachers and librarians, making the day as profitable as possible for everyone involved.

For further information, contact Meredith Wilson at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

* Why the fee?

Because this is my job. You wouldn’t ask a dentist to check all the second graders’ teeth for free, or a mechanic to rotate all the teachers’ tires. Right? School visits are immensely gratifying, but they’re also a ton of work, and they take time from my writing and my family. That said . . . there are other forms of compensation. If your whole class has read Dairy Queen or Princess Ben, or the drama club has prepared a 90-minute opera based on the life of D.J. Schwenk – I’m intrigued. I’m extremely intrigued. Contact me.

** What’s a presentation?

Anything that involves me presenting: an auditorium lecture, a library book talk, lunch with students and/or faculty, a bookstore tea. More than three, and I turn into a zombie. Please note that this total is for the day, not the school. I’m afraid I can’t teach classes or read student work, but I’m delighted to discuss the writing process and the imperative need to revise – which teachers love to hear even if their students don’t!

You came to my school the other day. And I got dairy queen last year but I just decided to read it after your visit. . . . I hate reading but I had it done in five days. I enjoyed it so much that every where I went I had it with me and on Friday my dad had to tell me to stop reading it cause I went upstairs and before I knew it it was four hours later and I still kept reading.  . . .

- Michelina

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