After hosting many authors over the years (see tags for previous post) I've decided that a successful visit is due to lots of advance planning and a little bit of good luck. Selecting the right author is half the battle, so I'll offer a few tips that seem to work for me. I'd love to hear your tips as well. Please comment!
Choosing the right author for your school:
1. Browse your shelves for ideas. Look at which books circulate frequently.
2. Talk to kids (Granted they will probably say Rick Riordan or Suzanne Collins, but it's great to get their ideas).
3. Ask teachers for input. This builds collaboration and buy-in for the visit.
4. Browse author websites to get a feel for their body of work.
5. Try to choose an author that may appeal to a range of readers.
6. Watch author interviews on YouTube to see the author in action. Is he/she engaging?
7. Listen to authors at conferences.
8. Ask other librarians for recommendations.
9. When in doubt, just go for it. Trust your instinct and book that author!
10. Low on funding? Avoid the authors who will come to your school for free unless you've heard them and know they're really good. A bad author visit is counterproductive to your cause. Better to Skype with an interesting author for free or at a reduced cost.
What's worked well for you?