Monthly Archives: October 2013

Skype author visits – the hows and whys

I recently began doing Skype author visits. These are virtual school visits done via a Webcam.  I have done one and it was a fun and rewarding experience. Here I will share my experience and how to get started. (Note: when I say author, that can also man author-illustrator or illustrator.)

The Hows

First of all, you need a Skype account. You also need a computer that has a Webcam and microphone. If your computer doesn’t have these, you can buy them. You don’t need headphones or a mic other than the one that’s built into your computer. You don’t need special lighting, but you should be in a well-lit, quiet place when you do a visit. Obviously, you need a fast, reliable Internet connection, and a computer that can handle Skype video (most can). You don’t need the Skype premium account. You can use the free one.  You can’t do fancy things like split screens in the free one, but that’s OK. You can sign up for the Skype account on

The  Skype an Author Network  is at It used to  be called the Wet Paint wiki, but is now Wiki Foundry. It’s free, has no ads, and is run by a librarian and an author. What’s not to like?  Take a look around at what other authors and illustrators are doing.  Logging in and finding and editing your page can take a little getting used to, but once you do it  you will realize it’s very simple.

You can post text, links and photos on your author page, and videos in their video gallery. Videos are particularly helpful to show to teachers. Testimonials from teachers and principals would help you get work. If you are just starting out, try doing some volunteer Skype or in-person visits to get recommendations. Sometimes a teacher will have kids write thank- you letters. These are wonderful keepsakes.

Linked In is another good place to promote your Skype  author visits.

Here is my page on Skype an Author. As you can see, it has my basic info and images to my books. I may update it. I have had several inquiries so far.

Many authors and illustrators, including myself, offer a free short visit, such as 15 or 20 minutes, and charge for a longer one. You can set prices for varying lengths of visits.  If you have NO experience in teaching or author visits, you might want to do some volunteer or low-cost Skype visits. Spread the word. You can use the SCBWI speakers bureau on their site (if you’re a member), and of course to schools via your own network, blog, and social media.

My First Visit

I did my first visit as a volunteer for Read Across America. Someone from the school contacted me via Skype an Author. When I signed on it was a great moment to see all those little faces in the computer screen, and they could actually see me! Still feels futuristic to me. I was a bit nervous the night before and made sure to dress as I would have for a regular school visit. Except from the waist down… then, I could keep my PJ bottoms on if I had wanted. (If that’s not a reason to do Skype author visits, I don’t know what is!)

The school sent me their Skype name ahead of time and I called them at the planned time. I read my book Ralphie and the Swamp Baby to them. They had read it and were ready with questions. The teachers facilitated. It wasn’t a long visit and went very quickly. It was a lot of fun. It would have been great to record the visit, but I could not find free or low-cost software to do so. If you have a video camera set up or someone who could film you and your screen that’s one way to record it. I don’t feel I need to record the visits; I “recorded” it in my mind’s eye and it’s a fun memory. I e-mailed them a PDF project related to my book for them to do after, as the teacher had already prepared them with reading the book before the visit. I would like to make more use of these assignments. A teacher’s guide to your book is a helpful resource.

It would be harder to do an art or writing project with the kids on Skype than it is in person. But there is always a creative solution. On my Skype an Author Network page, I mention that I could do a two-part visit where I read to the kids and give them an assignment, then in the next visit I help them present it.

I happened to see this post on children’s author Margot Finke’s blog from just yesterday. Here she describes an international Skype  author visit. I like that she finishes with a song.

The Whys

As Skype author visits become more common, schools will integrate them more into their curriculum. They are great time savers for busy authors, and they are often money savers for schools, who won’t have to pay transportation expenses. It gives author and illustrators a great way to visit schools they might not have otherwise, and for children to interact with authors and illustrators they might not have otherwise. So it’s a win-win.

Children’s book creators are, of course, ahead of the curve with technology. I took Mark Mitchell’s amazing course, How to Be a Children’s Book Illustrator, taught on a Wiggio group with live crits via AnyMeeting.

What I was most glad about was that emotional connection between author, kids, and book was still there very strongly with the Skype visit, just as it is in person. The children were clearly excited as was I. As we head into ever more highly developed technology and faster Internet connections, expect more use of live, interactive school visits.

An Interview with Noah St. John

Thanks to John Kremer’ Book Marketing Tips, I have the opportunity to participate in Noah St. John’s blog tour to promote his new book, Afformations, and in return, Doodle Soop (tha’s me) gets a link back via his blog tour page.  I did an email interview with him. If you read the book or the free chapter you can get from his site, you will learn that afformation are a new type of affirmation in which instead of making a positive statement, you ask yourself a positive question. For instance, with  an affirmation you might say,”Today is a perfect day” (even if it’s not, the idea is that if you believe it, it will come true. Sadly, this does not always work). An afformation would ask, “Why is today a great day?” Then you yourself would answer the question, thus giving yourself a roadmap to making it a perfect day.

As artists we need to practice positive thinking. Besides doing Afformations, please check out the Afformations book site, as it’s a great example of book marketing.

Without further ado, here is the interview:


Because of the nature my blog, I’d like to focus on Afformations as it relates to artists and writers. How can Afformations help artists and writers with their creativity?

Afformations are empowering questions that immediately change your subconscious thought patterns from negative to positive. Afformations are all about helping a person understand who they are and the value they bring to the world. Many artists and writers don’t understand their own value and therefore, sell themselves short. Afformations can help you realize your true value and start getting paid what you’re worth.

For example, George from Texas was one of our clients who came to us after he’d been working 80 hour work weeks and was near the point of exhaustion. After using Afformations, George started his own business and is now on track for $6 million in annual sales.


Do you believe in the inner child?

I believe most adults are carrying around a lot of what I call “head trash” that keeps them stuck.


How can Afformations help people overcome the negative messages of their childhood?

Most people are unconsciously going around asking themselves negative, disempowering questions like, Why am I so stupid? Why am I so fat? Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I make more money?

When you ask lousy questions, what do you get? Lousy answers. And that creates a lousy life.

Afformations are empowering questions that immediately change your subconscious thought patterns from negative to positive – by changing your beliefs about yourself and your relationship to the universe.

This in turn allows your mind to focus on what’s RIGHT about you, rather than continue to focus on what’s WRONG with you.


Rejection is the norm in the publishing field and one has to be tough. Can Afformations help with handling rejection?

Thousands of people have written to me from around the world, thanking me for giving them “the missing piece” to an abundant lifestyle and helping them overcome rejection.

For example, Susan from California came to us “penniless” (her word) and $56,000 in credit card debt. She had also spent tens of thousands of dollars on every “self-help” program out there, but was definitely struggling.

She heard about Afformations from a friend and decided to try it. In less than 6 months, Susan had found a job as a TV producer for a national television show, built a six-figure income, and has just finished writing her first book.


Motivation is key for any artist. Does your book help with motivation?

The word motivation comes from the Latin word movere, which means “to move”. That is also the root of the word motor.

Think about motivation like driving your car. Most people are driving down the road of life with one foot on the brake. Just as they start to get close to success, they subconsciously sabotage themselves and slam on the brakes!

That’s one reason The Book of Afformations contains more than 2 dozen real-life case studies of people who’ve used Afformations to grow their business, make more money, and finally find the freedom and happiness that had eluded them all their lives.


What if your day-to-day life competes with your creative time. Can Afformations help you compartmentalize?

While they’re enormously important to change your life and get the results you’re looking for, Afformations are just one of the pieces of my Power Habits System where I teach The Power Habits of Multi-Millionaires.

One of the Power Habits is to Master Your Systems. We don’t live in the Information Age; we now live in the Information Overload Age. That’s one reason most people are so easily distracted and feel overwhelmed with too many choices. And that’s why it’s so important to Master Your Systems, particularly by actively turning off the Internet during creative times.


Artists and writers don’t just want commercial success, we want to make a difference. Can Afformations make you look deeply into yourself, and at the world and nature, so that you can make a meaningful contribution through your art?

You’re right, money is not the reason most artists do their art. It’s the desire to, as Steve Jobs said, “put a dent in the universe.” I call it to leave a lasting legacy.

That’s why it’s important to focus on what you want in terms of commercial success, but also focus on the difference you want to make with your art or whatever you do.

What you focus on, grows. That’s one reason Afformations are so effective and so powerful – because rather than continuing to beat yourself up and listen to your head trash, Afformations will help you realize that you are far more powerful than you think.

Thank you so much, Mr. St. John. It has been an honor having you here!






About Noah St. John

Noah St. JohnNoah St. John is famous for inventing Afformations® and creating customized strategies for fast-growing companies and leading organizations around the world. His sought-after advice is known as the “secret sauce” for creating breakthrough performance.

Noah’s books have been translated into ten languages and he appears frequently in the news worldwide, including CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, National Public Radio, PARADE, Woman’s Day,, Los Angeles Business Journal, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Bottom Line/Personal, Selling Power and The Huffington Post.

Get up to $500 worth of bonus training FREE when you order The Book of Afformations at


Free Museum Days Nationwide!

Came across this great free online resource– a site  that lists discounted  and  free museum days nationwide (gardens and zoos, too) for different cities across the U.S. Now you can criss-cross the land visiting art museums for free, including the Art Institute  and Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Children’s Museum of Atlanta;  New York’s Bronx Zoo, MOMA, Frick, and Moving Image; SF’s Exploratarium and Oakland’s Oakland Museum of California; the Harry P. Leu Garden in Orlando; San Diego’s Air and Space Museum (NYC should put air and space in a museum too!) Philly’s Please Touch Museum (ooh, I like that!), and pahk your cah in Boston’s Hah-vad Aht Museum. And many many more, each city with a handy calendar. There’s even an iPhone app.

Free museum days nationwide, now that’s a nice perk.

To the free museum site crew, I salute you!museum with people

Here’s their Twitter feed.