Workshop Transcript

Marketing to Schools

with Dianne de Las Casas


Verla: Here they all come, Dianne

Verla: right on time

Dianne: Verla, can you make sure I don't get booted?

Verla: I'll do my best, Dianne....

Gail: Verla does not have that power

Dianne: Thank you

Verla: But if you do....just come back. We will definitely wait for you!

Lyra_: all Verla can do is promise not to PERSONALLY kick you (g)


<<< NOTE: Lyra is Linda Joy Singleton>>>


Dianne: Lyra, tsk tsk

Verla: WHAT? I don't get to kick her?

Suzy-Q: Verla you behave

Verla: Rats. Lyra takes ALL the fun out of everything....

Dianne: I have a LOT to talk about!

Verla: mumble grumble grumble....

Suzy-Q: although I did bring the silly string.

Verla: Oh, Dianne...I can hardly WAIT!

Verla: Gail...that was a mistake!

Dianne: We sure have a full house!

Verla: Goody, everyone is arriving on time, tonight

Lyra_: good topic & speaker (g)

Verla: Yep

Dianne: Lyra, you're too sweet! :)

Lyra_: (g)

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to MARKETING TO SCHOOLS Workshop now in progress


Verla: Okay, folks...It is now time for the workshop to begin. Everyone, please take a chair and let's get started. I don't want to miss a MINUTE of Dianne's presentation!

Verla: Would you please introduce yourself, Dianne, to those who haven't met you...

Dianne: OK, let's get started.

Dianne: I am Dianne de Las Casas, a professional storyteller known as DIANNE and THE MAGIC SUITCASE.

Dianne: I live in the New Orleans, LA area


Dianne: First, I'd like to ask everyone to hold their questions

Dianne: until I ask for them.

Verla: Okay


Dianne: You may want to grab a pen and paper to jot down some notes because I have some information you may want to record.

Gail: Or you can read it on Verla's website.

Verla: Dianne, I will post this workshop on my website afterwards so they can get the info from there, too.


Dianne: Marketing to schools requires a plan. First you must establish your goals.

Dianne: You've published a book. Now you want to establish yourself as a touring author, speaker, or workshop conductor.

Dianne: Maybe you want to do all three. Great. You must map out a plan.


Dianne: Use the 5 Ws as an outline - Who, What, Where, When, Why.

Dianne: WHO? Who will be the target of your marketing campaign?

Dianne: 1. Who is your primary market? You must first establish your primary market.

Dianne: If you are writing for school age children, you may want to market to elementary schools to grades 5.

Dianne: 2. What schools should you visit? How far should you travel? Of course, only you can answer those questions.

Dianne: Once you decide where you are willing to travel, you can plan accordingly.


Dianne: WHAT? What are you marketing?

Dianne: 1. Determine what you are planning to market. Are you promoting a new book? Are you promoting yourself as a speaker?

Dianne: Are you promoting a creative writing workshop for teachers and/or students?

Dianne: 2. When schools spend money on programs, they want reassurance that what they pay for has educational value for the students.

Dianne: Tie in your topic to the current school theme or weave elements of the curriculum into your topic.

Dianne: Make it obviously educational as well as entertaining.

Dianne: 3. Tailor your marketing materials to be pleasing to the eye and easy to read.

Dianne: I recommend a brochure or nicely designed flyer.


Dianne: Remember the three Ps of marketing - Presentation, Professionalism, and Pizzazz.

Dianne: Presentation - Is the information clearly presented? Are the ideas clearly outlined?

Dianne: Professionalism - Do the materials look professional? If it is a photocopy, is it clear of smudges and lines?

Dianne: Pizzazz - Does your marketing material have pizzazz? Does your material possess that certain something that will differentiate you from all the others out there?


Dianne: Any questions so far?

Verla: What if you are promoting all of those things, Dianne? A new book, yourself as a speaker AND a creative writing workshop? Is that okay, too?

Dianne: Absolutely. The more versatile you are, the more the school can find a way to hire you.

Verla: Good.


Lyra_: are you promoting book(s) when you speak Dianne?

Dianne: Lyra, I don't promote my books but I promote literacy.

Dianne: I will be promoting my audiocassette when it is completed.

Verla: (Good for those of us who DO have books!)

Dianne: You don't need books to promote yourself in the schools.

Verla: What DO you need, Dianne? If not books?

Dianne: Sometimes, your life experiences alone may qualify you as a great speaker for certain topics.

Verla: For instance?

Dianne: Verla, if you were once a drug user, you might have a great program on saying NO.

Dianne: Of course, it doesn't have to be that drastic.

Verla: LOL. I can't do that one, I'm afraid!


<<<NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud>>>

Dianne: Moving on to the next section.

Verla: yes Ma'am

Dianne: WHERE? Where do you find your contacts?

Dianne: 1. You need to create a mailing list. Every state in the US has a State Board of Education.

Lyra_: (Moving On is Verla's book!)

Dianne: You can contact the Board of Education and find out how to obtain a Directory of Schools.

Verla: Ah HA!

Verla: I didn't know about that, Dianne!

Dianne: Each state publishes a Directory of Schools complete with all the information you need to market to schools.

Dianne: Names, addresses, grade levels.

Dianne: Some states even offer the directory on diskette or on pre-made address labels.

Gail: Convenient

Lyra_: for any charge?

Dianne: There is a fee but it is affordable. In Louisiana, the directory is $15.

Verla: How do you find out where the Board of Education for the State is?

Dianne: Verla, you can look in the blue pages of the phone directory under State listings and find out the number for the Board of Education.

Dianne: Or, you can use the search engine on the web and search for it that way. I know California's has a website.

Verla: Thank you, Dianne

Dianne: 2. You can use a mailing label company such as PCS Mailing List (800-532-LIST).

Dianne: They can target specific markets and customize a mail-out for your but their services aren't cheap.

Dianne: If you are looking to target a large market and would like some help, they can save you a lot of time.


Verla: Oh. I see. The mailing label company is NOT the source of the Directory of Schools, but is an entirely DIFFERENT place to find markets, right?

Dianne: Yes, Verla, the mailing list company is yet another source.

Verla: Great!


Dianne: 3. Obtain a listing with a booking agency.

Dianne: An agency such as Young Audiences, Inc. lists performers, musicians, storytellers, dancers, and authors.

Dianne: Inquire about a listing. It costs nothing up front. The fee is taken out of the client's payment to the agency.

Dianne: Young Audiences comes out with a new catalog every school year and sends it to schools in your area.

Dianne: Young Audiences is a national not-for-profit agency promoting arts-in-education.

Lyra_: do you use this?

Dianne: Lyra, yes, I am listed with Young Audiences.

Lyra_: how often do you speak monthly?

Verla: Do you get much response from it, Dianne?

Dianne: Verla, it helps me get bookings. And some schools won't hire performers who aren't listed with YA!


Dianne: 4. Obtain a listing with your State Arts Commission.

Dianne: Some states have an artist roster in which they list performers, artists, and authors.

Dianne: This listing is free. You have to fill out an application.

Lyra_: interesting

Dianne: The listing is sent to schools, libraries, and organizations across the state.

Dianne: Through this listing, you have credibility. You can be selected for a presentation, artist residencies, and workshops.

Verla: How can you find out where this is located and how to find out about it, Dianne?

Dianne: Verla, getting to that.

Verla: okay

Dianne: To find out if your state has an artist roster, check out the website of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies -

Verla: Ah HA

Dianne: It provides a link to all the state art agencies.

Verla: :-)

Dianne: To be accepted on the roster, you have to demonstrate professional credibility and submit supporting bodies of work.


Dianne: Any questions now?

Verla: Yes. I didn't understand that last comment

Verla: Submit supporting bodies of work

Verla: What do you submit?

Verla: (NOT dead bodies, I'm sure!)

Dianne: If you claim to be an author, you must submit your writing.

Verla: a copy of your book?

Dianne: If you are a storyteller, you must submit audio or video tape of a performance.

Dianne: Verla, they usually ask for manuscripts of published works.

Verla: Right. That's what I meant.

Dianne: Rather than the book itself.

Verla: Oh. Really? So NOT the published book, but just the manuscript of the book?

Dianne: Saves you money not having to submit one of your books.

Dianne: Precisely.

Verla: Okay


Dianne: Next section.

Lyra_ This is HELPFUL!

Dianne: WHEN? When should you send out your marketing materials for optimum results?

Verla is all ears...

Dianne: 1. The best time for a mail-out to the schools is in the early spring.

Dianne: That is when principals, teachers, and PTAs are planning their next year's agenda.

Verla: Before school lets out for the current year?

Dianne: Often, they budget money for programs at this time.

Verla: Like NOW?

Dianne: Before school lets out - LIKE RIGHT NOW!

Dianne: HURRY!

Verla: Gulp. Like two weeks ago or a month ago...

Lyra_: that's a good tip, Dianne

Dianne: 2. Or you can split your mailings.

Lyra_: not that it will matter for me THIS year

Dianne: For beginning of the year to mid-year bookings and after holiday bookings.

Dianne: For beginning of the year bookings, mail out in early spring.

Dianne: For after holiday bookings, mail out in October, before the holiday rush.

Dianne: Not too close to the beginning of the year because schools have too much to do then.

Dianne: Any questions?

Verla: Dianne, I think lyra is mistaken. She thinks just because she doesn't have a book coming out this year, she can't do school visits. But she has published 19 books in the past...and I believe she can market herself as an author and TEACH the kids workshops on how to write...right?

Dianne: Verla, Lyra is VERY qualified to speak in the schools.

Verla: SEE, lyra?

Lyra_: thanks

Dianne: It's one way to keep yourself marketable.

Verla: Right.

Dianne: You make yourself the topic of conversation.

Lyra_: I'll just stick a sign around my neck: services for sale

Verla: LOL!

Dianne: Then schools start demanding you!

Lyra_: That would be be in demand

Dianne: Editors may pay more attention if you have a following.

Lyra_: that's a good point

Dianne: Because they don't have to establish a market for you.

Dianne: You have already established the market.

Verla: Good point, Dianne!

Verla: Thank you

Dianne: Thank you.

Dianne: Next section.


Dianne: WHY? Why should a school hire you when there are so many choices out there?

Verla: yeah. why?


Dianne: 1. Establish a niche for yourself. What are your strengths?

Dianne: How can you present a common topic differently?

Dianne: If your topic is unusual, how does it fit into the school's curriculum?


Dianne: 2. Establish credibility.

Dianne: Tell the schools why they should hire you.

Dianne: You have written a book. What else? Have you worked in schools before?

Dianne: Have you presented programs elsewhere?

Dianne: Anything that establishes credibility will work in your favor.


Dianne: STUDY GUIDES - Create a study guide to pass out to teachers.

Lyra_: Verla has done that

Dianne: 1. Study guides should relate your topic to the curriculum.

Dianne: I make my study guide general. I divide my program into different curricula and list suggested activities for the teachers so that they can follow-up my program with activities in the classroom.

Dianne: Classroom discussion of the contents of the program will further facilitate understanding of the program.


Dianne: 2. List resources in your study guide.

Dianne: Teachers love resources. Your resources could include books on creative writing.


Dianne: 3. For a sample copy of a study guide, send a SASE to Dianne de Las Casas, Sample Study Guide, 1237-D Friedrichs St., Gretna, LA 70053


Dianne: Any questions?

Verla: Hmmm. Okay, my "niche" is historical books for younger children?

Lyra_: how do you decide how to charge & quote prices professionally?

Dianne: Verla, first.

Lyra_: (!!!)

Verla: And, if you are teaching "How to Write" you should make up a handout paper that lists writing activities?

Dianne: Your niche could be history as well as cryptic rhyme. How about a workshop on rhyme?

Dianne: I have a friend who does a program called Reading, Rhythm, and Rhyme.

Dianne: Lyra, now you.

Lyra_: (g!)

Dianne: Obtain the state roster and find out what other performers are charging.

Lyra_: I'm always afraid they'll say, "No, too expensive."

Dianne: Ask your children's librarian for flyers from performers.

Dianne: Check out your local Young Audiences catalog for prices.

Dianne: Ask for brochures from colleagues.

Lyra_: I see myself less of a "performer" and more of an "informer"

Dianne: Lyra, you are worth what you ask.

Lyra_: I don't dance, sing, or do hand-puppets

Dianne: But you want to be an interesting informer.

Lyra_: that IS a good suggestion for prices

Verla: Lyra IS interesting, Dianne. I have heard her speak.

Dianne: When I say "performer", I am being general.

Lyra_: Mostly the schools I've spoken for can't afford to pay too much, though

Lyra_: And I'd rather grow as a speaker and make myself affordable

Dianne: This next section will be of interest to any of you that are published.

Lyra_: ok...(ears perked)


Dianne: PREPARATION PACKETS TO SCHOOLS - Send out prep packs to schools after you have made the booking.

Verla: Ah ha. I have made those up already

Dianne: Place all the contents in a folder with a die cut on the inside for your business card.

Dianne: Include a cover letter.


Verla: What goes in them? (I know, I know...You will tell us in a minute!)

Dianne: Your prep pack should include:


Dianne: 1. An 8 1/2X11" flyer. This sign should have your name/logo, photograph, and fill-in blanks for location, date, and time.

Dianne: Print it on white paper so that your clients have the option to copy it onto specialty paper. Provide one and they can make copies.

Verla: You fill in the blanks?


Dianne: 2. Bulletin information - This sheet will contain information relevant to your program for the school newsletter, bulletin, or other media.

Dianne: It can be designed like a press release.


Dianne: 3. Study Guide - One as discussed above. They can make copies.

Lyra_: I've made a press release before--even got a newspaper article from it

Verla: Hmmm. Like a pre-prepared "ad" for your upcoming event?


Dianne: 4. Assembly reminder sheet - If you are addressing students in an assembly, you will need to include this.

Dianne: You will list items necessary for the preparation of the assembly.

Lyra_: what items do YOU need?

Verla: You mean like a microphone, table, overhead projector, room darkening shades, GLASS OF WATER, stuff like that?

Dianne: Verla, yes.

Verla: okay


Dianne: 5. For a sample of all of the above, send $1.00 to Dianne de Las Casas, School Prep Pack, 1237-D Friedrichs St., Gretna, LA 70053

Dianne: SUMMARY - Let's recap.

Dianne: 1. Who? Decide who your primary market is. What grades will you target?

Dianne: 2. What? What are you marketing? Books, yourself as a speaker, workshops, etc.

Dianne: 3. Where? Where will you obtain your contacts? Directory of Schools from State Board of Education, Mailing list company, Listing with a booking agent, Listing on State artist roster.

Dianne: 4. When? When should you send out materials? For optimum results, send out marketing mail-outs in the early spring for bookings for the following school year.

Dianne: 5. Why? Why should you be hired? Establish your niche. Establish your credibility.

Dianne: 6. Preparation packets to schools should be sent out after you have secured the booking. Include: business card, flyer, bulletin information, study guide, and assembly reminder sheet.

LinS: Dianne, I came in late. Sorry I missed so you mind if I ask a question?

Dianne: Lin, ask

LinS: Are you storytelling your own book? Or straight story telling?

LinS: I know a little about your program

LinS: magic suitcase

Dianne: Straight storytelling - folktales and original material.

LinS: we could implment some of your marketing skills in school visits with our books

Lyra_: Do you continue to market a lot or is word of mouth/past contacts getting you enough work?

Dianne: Lyra, I still market because it keeps me fresh and visible.

Dianne: I have to compete with other people out there who also send out marketing material.


Lyra_: how to you balance the travel? Must mean a lot of flying...

Dianne: Lyra, more like driving.

Lyra_: so you don't come as far as to California?

Dianne: I have a backdrop, a sound system, the suitcase, speaker stands, etc.

Dianne: Lyra, If I were invited (and paid), I would visit anywhere!

LinS: do you ever "use up" an area?

LinS: or do you get invited back again and again

Dianne: I keep a log of all the programs I do so that I never repeat a program in the same school or library.

Verla: AH HA! Good plan. Like keeping a log of submissions!

Dianne: Verla, exactly.


Dianne: And I always offer new programs.

Lyra_: how many different programs do you offer?

Dianne: I have ten different storytelling programs and five workshops.


Verla: Wow. But you have been putting them together for a number of years. I mean, when you started, you didn't have that many, right?

Verla: I have started with two programs and will build from there.

LinS: But you are doing your own books right Verla?

Verla: Right, Lin

Verla: Yes. It took me two weeks to put those first two programs together. But now I can give them over and over at different places.


Dianne: Actually, from the get-go, I have offered multiple programs.


<<<NOTE: from the get-go = from the beginning>>>


Dianne: I have to be as versatile as my colleagues.

Dianne: Lots of research, time, and rehearsal!


Dianne: I've only been storytellling professionally for two years!

Lyra_: That's not very long at all--you're really amazing, Dianne!

Dianne: Lyra, thank you.

Dianne: Lots of hard work and determination.

Verla: Wow, Dianne. From your professionalism, I would have guessed longer!

Lyra_: are your colleages storytellers mostly? Or authors?

Dianne: My colleagues are authors, storytellers, musicians, artists, puppeteers, magicians, etc.


Dianne: After 1 year professionally telling, I was invited to tell at a storytelling festival, the New Orleans JazzFest, and made it to the State Artist Roster.

Dianne: I have always done my research.

Dianne: The other thing is that I am always willing to share my information.

Dianne: Professionalism and kindness will always get you business.

Lyra_: true

LinS: An excellent way to look at things

Dianne: What you give away will return to you 100 times over!

Verla: I agree

Dianne: Of course, that doesn't mean we can perform our services for free all the time!

Dianne: We have to eat!

LinS: Will you share dinner with us too??

LinS: haha

Lyra_: need a BIG table, I suspect

Dianne: Lin, I cooked fried chicken tonight.

LinS: sounds good, diane

Verla is in her car....on her way to Dianne's for dinner....

Verla: Out of my WAY, lyra!

LinS: Verla is picking up Linda and Lyra along the way

Verla: Already GOT lyra....on my way to your place, lin...

Lyra_: Did you answer about how often you speak weekly, monthly?

Verla: She speaks a LOT, lyra

Dianne: Lyra, I sometimes perform 8-10 shows a week.

Lyra_: That's A LOT!

Verla: I don't want to do THAT many, Dianne!

Dianne: I do a lot of back-to-back, same site performances.

Lyra_: I'd be content with a few a month

Lyra_: But then speaking is secondary to writing for me


Dianne: Storytelling was secondary to writing for me too.

Dianne: Practice will take you a long way.

Dianne: BTW, I am finished with the workshop in case you didn't know.

Dianne: I tried to stay within the time limit.

Lyra_: round of applause!

Verla: Thank you, Dianne...

Dianne: Oh, one more thing.

Lyra_: turning down applause so Dianne can speak...


Dianne: My handbook entitled, "Minding Your Own Business - Office Savvy for the Professional Children's Entertainer" is available for $13.00 including shipping.

Dianne: It contains all of the above information plus more.

Lyra_: I've seen the book and it's VERY good.

Dianne: It has been newly revised!

Verla: And it is a GOOD book! Lyra has seen it, Dianne. She saw mine.

Dianne: Lyra, thank you.

Verla: Hmph. I do not have the revised copy!

Dianne: Verla, if you would like the new pages, send me a SASE with $1.24 postage.

Verla: AH HA

Verla: Okay, Dianne. Thanks.

Dianne: Verla, make sure it is at least 9X12 envelope.

Verla: No problem, Dianne

Dianne: Thank you for listening to my workshop.

Dianne: I hope I was helpful.

LinS1: I wish I could have been here earlier

Verla: It was GREAT, Dianne. I learned a LOT

LinS1: I'll have to wait for Verla to put the transcript up to see everything I missed

Lyra_: It'll be posted, you won't miss anything

Verla: I'll post it later, lin. You can read it on my webpage

Dianne: Thanks.

Verla: Thanks a MILLION for the GREAT workshop, Dianne. It was EXTREMELY informative and helpful!


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Verla Kay

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