Author Visits

What People Are Saying About My Presentations:

author-visits“Mike talked to close to 250 students . . . yet his energy never faltered. The enthusiasm Mike brings to his presentations, as well as his ability to explain difficult scientific concepts in understandable terms, kept the students excited and engaged. Cathy Sutton, Media Specialist, Zionsville West Middle School.

“[Mike’s visit] was one of the best experiences of my teaching career. The kids LOVED him!  Sometimes authors are more reserved, by nature, but Mike Mullin was charged! He interacted with the students, brought a large volcano replica with him, and even broke a cinder block with his bare hands! In the writing workshop part he taught the kids how to come up with some writing ideas and how to write a compelling story. He even told the kids that if they want to be good at something they need to practice for at least 10,000 hours to become really good at it. That really stuck with my kids throughout the rest of the year.” —Ann Hagedorn, 8th grade language arts teacher, Tallmadge Middle School.

“[Mike’s] humor and energy captured the attention of the teens while his details about the research behind Ashfall enlightened many.” —YALSA’s The Hub.

“After your amazing, fun and informative session about Ashfall, I was pumped to read the book! Honestly, I never thought before hand that I’d be reading this book. I’m more of a . . . fantasy kind of fan. So I was open to anything whenever I went to the library to check out Ashfall. After a two week wait for the book to finally be mine, (There had been a crowd that had hit the library before I could, to check out your book.) I wondered just what I was in store for. From the minute I opened your book, remembering the beginning scene which you had memorized and recited to our school, I was /hooked/. I couldn’t put the book down!” –Kaitlyn, student at Washington High School.

“Mr. Mullin is as dynamic and energetic as his volcanic subject. He thrilled Pierce students with a breathtaking summary of what his novel’s reluctant hero had to face in order to be reunited with his family during the worst natural disaster in American history. To keep the pace of his visit at high intensity, Mr. Mullin donned his taekwondo clothing and proceeded to chop several heavy construction bricks in half.” –Ted Zagar, Media Specialist at Pierce Middle School.

“Thanks again so much for the fantastic writing workshops you offered to the students at Frankfort High School.  I have your broken cement blocks on display in the library and the students love them, they can’t get enough of your book, and are so excited about the next one. Lunch with the author was a huge success and the students have thanked me over and over for including them in that experience.  You have a dynamic personality that really connected so positively with our students.” –Jane Holden, Media Specialist at Frankfort High School.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have three author visits a year for the last few years, and Mike is the best we’ve had so far.” –Lisa Talbert, Media Specialist at Century Junior High.

“Thank you so much for Skyping with us today!  The kids really, really enjoyed it–you were great!  In fact, one of the students immediately afterward said he was “in the mood to write” and came back in to the library, sat at a table, and wrote for twenty straight minutes.  Good stuff!” –Kenya Arrants, K-12 Teacher Librarian, Madrid Community Schools


How Much Does a Presentation Cost?

My in-person author presentations are $700 per day plus travel expenses (mileage/airfare and hotel if necessary). Three or more days in one area are $600 per day. Local visits (Hendricks, Marion, Johnson, Hamilton, Morgan, Putnam, Montgomery, and Boone counties in Indiana) are $600 per day and no travel costs will be charged. Half days (one or two presentations) are $400. A half-day visit must actually require five hours or less, including travel time. One local presentation is $300. I’m happy to do up to five presentations in a day (please leave time for meals, breaks, and book signing, though!) I’m also happy to present at more than one venue during a day–often two libraries will share the cost of a visit, for example. My Skype visits are free. If you’d like to schedule a presentation, email me at


Presentation Topics:

How Is Taekwondo Like Writing?
This is my standard 45-70 minute author talk. I teach participants how to break things with a hammer-fist, how to become better writers, and a little bit about the Yellowstone supervolcano. I also discuss the importance of determination, resilience, and grit in achieving life goals. I’ve given this presentation to as few as ten participants and as many as 2,100. It works equally well with middle school, high school, and adult audiences. I generally don’t need a microphone unless it’s a very large auditorium or gymnasium–if a microphone is provided I prefer the lavalier style. A table for my props and a source of power are helpful. I provide all other supplies needed. Usually includes a taekwondo demonstration in which I break a concrete block with my bare hand. (Yes, really.) This program works great in libraries and bookstores also.

The Big Boom: What Will Happen to Your City When Yellowstone Erupts?
Focuses on the science behind my debut novel. Best for Geology, Earth Sciences, or Environmental Sciences students in groups of 60 or fewer. I discuss the difference between Plinian and super volcanoes, the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI), and earth science concepts including plate tectonics and volcanic hot spots. I make it memorable by discussing how a very large eruption would impact whatever city I’m speaking in. Lasts 40-60 minutes. Supplies needed: overhead projection system with Microsoft PowerPoint. I travel with a Windows 10 laptop and a jump drive, both of which are loaded with the presentation. So we can either plug the jump drive into your computer or your projection system into my computer. I do not have any kind of projection system; you’ll need to provide one.

Writing Funshop
Every participant leaves with the beginnings of their own novel. Requires between 75 and 120 minutes. Best for groups of 10-60 middle school students, high school students, or adults. All participants should come prepared with lots of paper and at least two writing implements. Rooms should be set up to allow room to move around and form teams. Supplies needed: 5-30 random unusual objects (depending on the number of participants), something for me to write on and with that will be visible to all participants (chart paper, and chart markers, a white board and dry erase markers, chalkboard and chalk, or a document camera and paper). Here’s a photo album a teacher at St. Mary School in Columbus, Ohio made during my writing workshop there. Here’s a short description you may use in promoting a writer’s workshop, “What do S.E. Hinton, Christopher Paolini, and Kody Keplinger have in common? They all published their first novels as teenagers. You can too! This isn’t a workshop; it’s a funshop. Come prepared to be loud and crazy, to break things, and to write like hyperactive ferrets. If ferrets could write. Which they can’t, but that’s beside the point. Everyone will leave with a plan for writing their first novel!” Here’s a Wordle that a group of students created in response to my funshop.

Skype Presentation
All students should read ASHFALL before the presentation. (Note that this ONLY applies to Skype visits–I’m completely fine walking into a room of people who’ve never heard of me during an in-person visit.) I start with a short introduction and reading, then take questions. Lasts 30-40 minutes. Best for groups of 30 or fewer students. My Skype handle is–please call me when you are ready to start. All Skype presentations are free. I’m also on Google+ if you prefer to use Hangouts for our video chat. If you’d like some ideas on preparing for a Skype visit, check out this blog post by a school librarian who hosted Kate Messner.

How Censorship Hurts Kids
Every library and school serves kids who desperately need books that are frequently challenged or banned. You’ll come out of this workshop with a better understanding of why fighting book challenges is so critically important to those whose voices are often least heard: children. Includes a role-playing game, interpretive dance, and book discussions, drawing from my personal library of hundreds of challenged books. Appropriate for groups of 30-100 librarians, parents, or teachers. I gave this talk at Northern Illinois University in July 2013, and it was the top-rated activity that day, with 70% of attendees citing my talk as the most exciting part of the day-long workshop.


How to Schedule a Presentation

Email me at If you’d like to discuss a presentation on the phone, let me know and I’ll email back my cellphone number.


How to Prepare for a Presentation

author visits imageFirst, read this post by author Cynthia Leitich Smith. She does an amazing job explaining what goes into a successful author visit.

Make sure you have copies of my books available well in advance. Everyone should have an opportunity to buy or check out a book before I arrive. Make sure everyone on your team knows about and promotes the presentation. English teachers, Earth Sciences teachers, school librarians, administrators, public librarians and booksellers can all contribute to making it a successful visit. You can get books from your local bookseller (find a local independent through Indiebound); from Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore; via wholesalers such as Baker & Taylor, Ingram, or Follette; through Publisher’s Group West; or directly from Tanglewood Press. I can provide books at signings myself if no other options are feasible. If I’m providing the books, please assign a volunteer to handle sales so that I can focus on my presentation and autographing.

If you’re feeding me as part of a day at your school or library, any kind of food is fine. I like nearly anything and have no food allergies. Healthy options are much appreciated, though. My shirt size is XL and I don’t want to grow it to XXL! Thanks.

Here are a few sample flyers and posters that librarians have created to promote my visits. Feel free to download and modify them for your own visit if you wish:

Flyer by Margaret Sullivan
Green Poster by Becky Ruberg
Red Poster by Becky Ruberg
Poster by Cathy Sutton

Need ideas about how to promote an author visit at your library or bookstore? Here are ten of my favorites.