The teacher turned off their audio to avoid echos, and I couldn't tell if my jokes were going over or not.
It's funny, when visiting libraries and schools, I almost always feel like a visiting celebrity. As a librarian myself, I've arranged author visits, and you tend to want to make them feel welcome. Still, when the host cracks out the donuts and coffee, one can't help but feel a little arrogant.
The more pictures I look at of my visits, the more I realize how few shirts I own.
A fellow author once asked me how much of one's presentation should be pre-prepared, and how much should be off-the-cuff audience Q and A. My experience is that if the audience is coming out of personal interest or is voluntarily there, then you can pretty much wing it. If, however, this is a mandatory thing from one of their classes, be prepared to speak for the entire time. I hate looking desperately at the teachers, hoping they'll throw me a softball question.
My presentations usually fall into three sections: My life, my road to publication, and my descent into alcoholism and poverty. If there is time, I volunteer to read student manuscripts for a modest fee, with a guarantee of later publication.*
"And when I woke up in that Baltimore flophouse covered in my own filth, that's when I got the idea for Deacon Locke Went to Prom."
I find most audience members are very active and involved, especially when I'm getting them out of class. And when you seem to be losing them, you can always make stuff up. One of these days John Green is going to wonder why so many people think he killed my dog.
Big Brian is watching you.
In conclusion, I asked for Poland Springs mineral water, you oaf! I'm not going on now. Forget it.
*Not a guarantee.