How To Have a Successful Author Visit

my author visit at smart cookie II 073113

my author visit at smart cookie II 073113Hey folks! I just want to share with you how one can have a successful author visit. I've done a few of them; most have been great; while a couple have been okay, but all in all, I love presenting my books and character Loopiethotamus to a school full of budding little world innovators!! Here goes....

1. Prayer, prayer, prayer!! Yes, I am a Christian and I love my Lord Jesus Christ. In everything, I make sure I pray and allow Him to be in control of all things! We can't control other's actions, or lack thereof, but we can sure go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to guide our mouths, minds, hearts and spirits! Love me some Holy Spirit!!!

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare!! There is nothing like being fully prepared to get up in front of how ever many children and teachers and give your all. Before the visit, make sure you have the school contact person's email and phone number. Ask as many questions as possible of that individual so you are prepared for the day. It's also nice to request that that contact person, usually the librarian, prepare the students of your arrival. My character has a value motto which has a lot of different core values that explain who is he is. I make sure to share that with the librarian so that when I come in and discuss it with the kids, they’re not looking at me with that “deer in headlights look;” you know the one!

3. Don’t procrastinate until the last minute!! This kind of goes along with preparation, but you want to make sure you are really thinking about all that you want to do in the day so that you are ready to go! If you’re going to do a PowerPoint presentation, make sure you have looked at it more than once to verify everything in its proper order. If you are going to have activities, make sure you know exactly what you are going to be doing and that you have everything you need.

4. Rehearse the day with someone you know! It’s really cool if you have kids of your own because you can just sit them on the sofa and go over your entire presentation with them. They make for good listeners- sometimes! LOL! But, it’s nice to rehearse so you can determine any issues early on and fix them before the big day!

5. Make it fun!! There’s nothing like a boring author visit. I don’t want to see kids yawning and looking up at the ceiling counting all of the ceiling tiles. Of course, depending on the age level, there will be kids that have short attention spans. Yet, I want them to be engaged and enthusiastic. I want them eager to ask me questions and show that they are having a good experience. Wow! Those are a lot of “E” words I just used! But, seriously, I want to provide excellence to the kids and have them leaving excited for me to revisit. Wow! There I go again with those “E” words. My son’s name is Elijah, so go figure! LOL!

6. And lastly, once the day is all said and done- Look for God’s purpose in all that the day presented itself with. If you messed up, because truly, no one is perfect and we can mess up sometimes, don’t beat yourself up about it. God will bring another opportunity for you to do a better job. Look for ways to improve yourself. Try something new. But most importantly, be YOU!! Well…at least the high-spirited, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed YOU!!

Author, Ayana Sala Baugh of the children’s book series, “Loopiethotamus, the Chihuahua Who Thinks He is a Hippopotamus.”



Twitter: @Loopiebooks


The Miracle in Finding My Illustrator


When I finished writing the first book and felt it was time to have it illustrated, my husband told me he would do it. This was back in 2007. My husband tried to draw the character, but I had it in my head how I wanted the character to look. I always knew he would have to be cute and adorable. I always knew Loopiethotamus would be wearing a hippo suit with a zipper and his initial “L” would be hanging from his zipper. My husband decided it was time for us to search for an illustrator.I prayed about it and heard the Holy Spirit tell me to continue writing and an illustrator would come. So I did just that. I continued writing and a few weeks later my husband suggested I go onto a website called where freelance artists request work. My friend Nicole and I went onto the website and posted the job of illustrating my book. About thirty illustrators applied for the job. I checked out all of their work and was blown away by the illustrations done by artist Mike Swaim. There was this one drawing he had done with a duck in a pond at night with twinkling stars in the sky. I always remembered picturing Loopiethotamus under the stars. I chose Mike and our connection started from there.

Mike and I talked a lot about what I wanted out of the illustrations. I found that he was easy going and always available to answer any questions or concerns I may have had. He drew the rough sketches of Loopiethotamus and my heart almost leaped as I saw my beloved character that I had inside of me for five years coming to life. Everything that I ever hoped for in Loopiethotamus was being formed.

I always write out all of my illustrations for my books before giving it all to my illustrator to illustrate for me. He draws them in the way that I request, but always manages to add little touches to them and I really love that. My illustrator Mike and I are in sync with one another and I think in all aspects of your life it’s really important to make sure things flow well.

I am so blessed to have found such a wonderful illustrator in Mike Swaim and I look forward to working on many more projects with him. It is so critical to never give up on what you want and to strive hard to make your dreams come true. In believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, I know He will help me to attain the dreams and goals I have for myself and He will do more in seeing them come to life right before my eyes.

Believe in Yourself or At Least Start with Just Believing

Dare to Dream 1Loopiethotamus' character allows you to believe even when others put you down and try to convince you otherwise. It takes courage and strength to keep on moving when others try to make it impossible. With children, it's so important to instill confidence in them. It's so important to encourage them to be the best they can be. Sometimes it can be very difficult to believe in yourself. If you have been told time and time again that you’re nothing, you begin to believe that you’re nothing. But for God.

But for God, that He allows people to come into your life that truly only see the goodness in you. These people help you to see the greatness in yourself too. It may take a push, a knock, and even years, but when God has something for you, He has it, and His promises never are broken. God has a season and right time for everything. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. God loves the children; they are His blessings. Never allow someone to make you feel less than what God says you are, His child. You were created by Him for greatness! Reach for the stars and always remember that the sky is the limit! Take heart and know- Matthew 19:26- "With God, all things are possible."