Politics and Prose in DC was hosting a presentation with Mr. Brian Lies, a children's book illustrator/author most notably known for his "Bats at the ____" series. Mr Lies was in town for the Annual National Book Festival, gave a fantastic presentation where he talked about how the "Bats" books came about, revealed secret "Easter eggs" within the book, showed original art, present and past (one he did in the 2nd grade, spelling errors and all), and got dared by a child to pick up his over-sized, over 30-lb book that he had made especially for presentation purposes.
Not many showed up for an 11am Sunday presentation, but he still sold a number of books that he frankly may not have (including one to me, and I was NOT planning on buying one). Most importantly, the experience reassured me that it doesn't really matter how famous you are, you STILL might not get a huge audience. You will still have to talk over children and chaos, and you will still have a lot of prep, set-up and breakdown. After everything was over, I watched as he, his wife and one or two others loaded his over-sized book and his musical instrument prop (which was bigger than a bicycle) into a truck. I'm guessing it took at least a half-hour AFTER a half-hour presentation, to accomplish this. He had also been there at least 15 minutes prior to presentation time signing books, so in all, likely had spent at least 1.5 hours NOT presenting. If you factor in travel time, you're frankly looking at 3 hours per 1/2 hour presentation, PLUS prep. time.
As an aspiring author, it is important to see these presentations to get a sense of what authors ARE doing to promote their books. Do they talk about from where their ideas came? Do they draw during their presentation? Do they engage the children in a brainstorm-writing exercise? What are they doing to convince the kids and the parents to BUY their books?
Now, what would YOU do if you were presenting?