My hotels are all arranged, my necessary travel items are purchased, and all my host schools are locked in place.
Yes, in exactly two weeks, I hop in my Subaru, named Bowie, and drive out to the western edge of Wisconsin. In fact, two weeks from the exact moment I’m writing this sentence, I should be right around central Wisconsin en route to my anchor point. I’m totally pumped for my Latasha and the Kidd on Keys launch tour.
Getting this whole thing set up has been a lot of work. Fancy that — trying to lock down 20 school visits in a 10-day period, spread across several states, has been challenging! There have, indeed, been some hiccups. As a result, my launch is unfortunately going to be a little smaller than originally planned.
I debated with myself over whether I should even mention what particular obstacles I encountered — but for those of you who have an interest in how these kinds of things work, and for any author current or future who might want to emulate this launch idea, I figured it was worth explaining. If you could care less about how this sausage is made, click ahead here to skip it.
Hiccup #1: Unexpected cancellations. For the first time ever, I had to cancel a couple of stops I’d initially agreed to make. This was disappointing but necessary. In both cases, the host school either fell completely out of touch or waited too long to get final approval from the administration. I’m not a line-in-the-sand guy or the type that puts his foot down very often, but with a trip that has so many moving parts, I had to take my stress levels into account and make some tough choices. I’ll note here that I wouldn’t lay blame on any individual for how these few visits turned out (or didn’t, I suppose); I’m just filing them under learning experiences and moving on.
(Side note: schools that have been pro-active, asked questions, and generally kept in touch — i.e., all the schools I’m still visiting? You so, so rock. Your enthusiasm fuels my own, and I can’t wait to meet you and your students. You’re making my little DIY tour a dream-come-true.)
Hiccup #2: the PSSAs. That’s the name of Pennsylvania’s state testing. In early March, most PA elementary schools are (understandably) in scramble mode to prepare for these, and that made it difficult to get 10 schools that wanted to take time out of the day for an author visit within my tour framework. I did find some schools that saw some value in having an author come and gin up enthusiasm for reading and writing just before the Writing PSSA, but alas, not 10 schools to fill my entire week 2.
So those were the hiccups, which kept me from executing my tour plan to the fullest.
However, there is a silver lining here. Last year, I took part in World Read Aloud Day, which was tremendous fun. Due to the tour, I was going to have to miss it this year, but since it’s now below full capacity, I was able to open myself up again for World Read Aloud Day Skype visits. If I do enough of them, I can sort of fulfill my dream of 10 days, 20 schools, even if it’s not in person.
World Read Aloud Day is on Wednesday, March 6th. Would you like a Skype visit where I read a picture book, do silly voices, and answer questions? Get in touch here. I’ve already got two schools lined up, but I’ll go all day and into the evening if necessary. Your school doesn’t even have to be in America — just English-speaking, since my French is merely suffisant, my Spanish débil, my Italian imbarazzante, and my Ukrainian? My Ukrainian is повністю проклинати слів.