Friday, July 25, 2014

Handling an Author's Appearance - Debbie Dadey

On Saturday, January 27th, I went to an author appearance at the Doylestown Library. The library’s presentations often focus on authors of books for adults. I wanted to attend because Debbie Dadey is an amazing writer for children. She has authored 154 books, and counting!
I also wanted to attend to see how a seasoned children’s author handled a non-school audience. There were no sign-ups for the event, so there was no way to know who would show up. Here’s the low down—

When I got there the Pearl Buck Room was set up with about thirty chairs in a semi-circle. In the center of the circle was Debbie and her four-foot-long radio controlled inflated flying shark. As kids came in, Debbie offered each of them the chance to “drive” (fly? swim?) the shark. Talk about a kid pleaser!

Before long the organizers had to set up another row of chairs. Then another. By the time Debbie’s presentation began, there was a crowd of approximately seventy in attendance. It was about half adults and half children. I was surprised to see that of the children, about half were boys. 

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. Although Debbie’s newest publication (released earlier this week) is part of her Mermaid Tales series for Simon & Schuster, she is perhaps best known as co-author of The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series, a series with loads of boy appeal.
Debbie talked about her path to publication-including her “never give up” message for adults and children. Then she talked about her newest book, Danger in the Deep Blue Sea

Debbie asked the kids to guess what a mermaid’s worse enemy is. Apparently, sharks are the mermaids’ worst enemies. Humans are the mermaids’ second. She explained that this is why mermaids live at the very bottom of the deepest parts of the sea. Sharks swim nearer the surface and mermaids want to stay away from them. Who knew? 
The Friends of the Library made sea-themed cookies!
She was very convincing. 
Next, the kids were enthusiastic participants during Debbie’s shark trivia session. Then, as the noise level grew, Debbie turned to a short reading from her book. Finally, she turned them loose on the remaining refreshments and a cute craft (making an open shark’s mouth from a folded paper plate). She had talked for about twenty-five minutes.

Some of the kids made the craft, some left, and others got in line for the book signing. Along with a sampling of some of her older books, Debbie was fortunate to get her newest book from the publisher two days before its official release. I waited my turn and got my copy after the kids. :))

Last week, Cynthia Leitich Smith also posted about a book launch event with author appearances by one picture book and one YA author. Refreshments apparently are key!
If you have any tips for a great author appearance, please share them in the comments!


  1. 154 books!!!!? I need to get my act together. Great information. But all I could think all the way through was 154 books!!!!? Really?? I want to be Debbie!

  2. Prolific and a lovely person. Truly a winning combination-and she has three doggy buddies for your Cupcake to play with!