Skype Virtual Author Visits

Meet Jo Franklin via a Skype Author Visit

I love to visit schools and libraries to meet my readers and chat about books and writing. However, I know that it is not always possible for schools to invite me to visit in person, which is why I have joined Virtual Authors so that I can be beamed directly into the classroom over the internet.

Skype virtual author school visits are a great way for me to read an extract from one of my books to an audience of school children and answer some of their questions without me having to leave my desk.

Currently I am offering readings from Help I’m an Alien  and Help I’m a Genius in the UK and I’m an Alien and I want to go home for the US

Help I'm an alien cover

Help I’m Alien – UK

Help I'm a Genius by Jo Franklin

Help I’m a Genius

The great news is that I am able to Skype with any school in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the US or Canada providing the visit can be done between 9.30 and 4.30 United Kingdom time, subject to my availability. If you are not in the United Kingdom, you can use the International time converter  to convert from UK time to your local time.

A visit usually lasts around 45 minutes. There is no maximum group size as long as you have the technology so that everyone can see me.

Virtual visits are also a great way of bringing an author into a home education setting. Why not bring some of your home ed buddies round to make the visit more enjoyable?

What I do on a Skype virtual visit

After saying hello to the class, I do a 5-10 minute reading and spend the rest of the time answering the children’s questions. It’s a good idea to ask the children to prepare the questions in advance.
If your school would like to vary the format then contact me in advance so that we can discuss your requirements. Some schools like to read my book to me and one school dramatised a scene from one of my books including amazing costumes . The direct interaction between author and readers is what matters most to inspire and encourage reading.

What you need for a Skype virtual visit

Technical Requirements

  • HARDWARE: A computer (Mac or Windows) with a broadband connection, a webcam and a microphone.
  • SOFTWARE: If you don’t already have it, you’ll need to install Skype on your computer and set up an account. You can download Skype for free here.
  • WEBCAM: The webcam should be as close as possible to the screen, so that I can see the children’s faces looking towards me.
  • VISION: Ideally the computer should be connected to a large TV screen or white board projector, but as long as there is a screen of some sort that the children can see me on this is not essential. If you’re using a projector in a brightly lit room, it’s a good idea to turn off the lights or close the blinds near the screen or whiteboard so that the children can see me more clearly.
  • SOUND: Sound is important! The children will need to be able to hear me clearly. Your computer’s built-in speakers may not be loud enough for my voice to carry to the back of the room, so you might need to use some louder, plug-in speakers or the TV’s speakers if you’re using a TV screen.

PLEASE NOTE: I don’t have time to offer technical assistance, so if you are new to Skype please make sure that you have Skype installed and you have familiarised yourself with how to use it by making some video calls BEFORE you book a virtual visit with me. If you are intending to use external sound and video and have not done this before, it’s a good idea to test these in advance too.

Other Requirements

  • At least one copy of the book I’m going to be reading: The children are only going to hear a brief excerpt from a longer book. They are going to want to know more. What is the practitioner’s secret ingredient?  How does Daniel get to Kepler 22b? Will Freddo and Gordon the Geek ever be true friends? If you have a copy of my book in the classroom or the library, they can find out the answers to these and any other burning questions about the story they may have.
  • Some questions prepared in advance: I know that children love to ask questions when they have an author in front of them, but as time is so limited it is best if you ask them to prepare some questions in advance.
  • A room full of enthusiastic children: Children will enjoy a virtual visit much more if they are already familiar with my book and are anticipating the visit. Arrange for the library service to provide you with copies before the visit – or you might even buy a few. Set up a book display in your classroom. Feature the visit as an upcoming event in school newsletters and include the address of my web site.

Book Sales

Book sales are not a requirement of me virtually visiting your school. If you would like to order copies of my books from a bookshop then here is an order form for you to use. I’m happy to send out signed bookplates for any books purchased in this way.


Visits need to be booked at least 24 hours in advance. A 45 min virtual author visit with me costs £50 and should be paid in advance. Contact me for payment details.

I reserve the right to cancel a booking in case of illness or to accommodate work commitments. In such cases I’ll endeavor to give schools notice at the earliest opportunity and offer to reschedule at another date.

Please fill in this booking form.

Virtual Author Visit Booking Form

  • Requests from teachers and school staff only please. Your title is needed so that I know how to refer to you in front of the children during the Skype session
  • Please check that you have entered this correctly so that I can contact you
  • Please get your Skype account up and running before requesting a visit. I need your Skype name or a Skype-registered email address so that I can send you a contact request via Skype to confirm contact ahead of the visit.
  • Town AND County or State (eg Leeds, Yorkshire or Springfield, Illinois
  • UK, Ireland, US and Canada. Other countries - please contact me to discuss your requirements.
  • Bookings are for Wednesdays and Thursdays only.
  • Between 9.30 and 4.30 United Kingdom time. Please use the International Time Converter to convert from UK time to your local time. Remember to enter the date for your visit request into the converter, as the time difference may vary at different times of the year
  • Help I'm an Alien - UK. I'm an Alien and I want to go home - US
  • Minimum group size 10 children