After all my drama and nervousness, it turned out to be a lot of fun. Once the panel questions were over with, that is. And once that was over, I got to meet with two great groups of kids (and a couple parents).
I started out by asking them if they liked to read. Every hand went up! That's great, I told them, because if you think you might want to be a writer some day, one of the most important things you can do is read. A lot.
Then I talked about what I do. That is, what I write and what I do with what I write. I explained the submissions process, talked about rejection, stressed the importance of patience and persistence, and even shared two examples of actual rejections I had received--one form and one personal.
Lots of questions came after that. I was delighted that the group was so interested. They asked things like: Where do you get your ideas? How do you know which publisher to choose? What books have you written? What is your favorite book you have written? How do you feel when you get rejected? And lots more.
Of course, I also shared examples of my published work. They were genuinely impressed as they passed around copies of Highlights, Fun for Kidz, and Pockets. They applauded when I read one of my poems aloud. And when the announcement came that the session was over, they were almost as disappointed as I was (well, maybe I imagined that part).
It was a good time. I could totally get used to visiting with kids about my writing. Here's to lots of future author visits!