Author + Illustrator Visits
Do you have questions about author/illustrator school vistits? What about for an aquarium, museum or other event? Authors can be meaningful additions to both formal and informal S.T.E.A.M. curriculum. For the curious but cautious, we have gathered information from authors featured on our site and from resources around the web on what to expect when planning author visits from cost to content.
VIRTUAL AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR VISITS
The most affordable way to have an author or illustrator visit is a virtual visit. The content of these visits can range from a read-a-loud with a Q +A, to an all day workshop. Virtual visits allow educators to invite an author located anywhere in the world right into their classroom. Not all authors and illustrators participate in virtual classroom visits, but after COVID, more authors than ever have the capacity to not only run a virtual visit, but also make them meaningful.
Most people probably think of in-person author and illustrator events as traditional events. Often these events are more expensive because they require the author to travel and potentially stay overnight in a hotel. Usually, whoever is hosting the event is responsible for covering the author's speaking fee, travel expenses and incidentals. Although in person events tend to be more expensive, the value students get from meeting an author or illustrator in real life is usually more lasting than a virtual visit.
Workshops are another thing to look for with author visits. Some authors offer more interactive events like writing or drawing workshops with smaller groups of kids. Even if they haven't listed this option on their website, don't hesitate to ask about it. Authors and illustrators are creative people and many like a good challenge. Some actually thrive better in workshop situations than in front of a giant school assembly. It's always a good idea to play to your guest's strengths.
Just like any other career, authors need to generate income. So, you should expect to pay an author or illustrator to come for a classroom visit. With the exception of World Read Aloud Day where many authors offer free virtual visits to classrooms, the cost of a virtual visit is usually around $200, with outliers in both directions. The cost for having an illustrator or author for the day ranges from $400-$1000, again with outliers in both directions. This does not include travel, room and board.
It can be easy to feel discouraged by the cost of inviting an author, but there are usually local, state and federal grants that classrooms can apply for to host authors. The same local business that sponsor basketball games or school performances may be interested in helping bring and author in. Schools located close to each other can also work together to host an author and share the cost. While selling the author's book is helpful and a good idea to do at an event, the amount an author gets from the sale of a book is actually quite small. Book sales alone usually cannot cover the authors personal costs of a school visit.
If you are interested in booking an author or illustrator, a great place to start is their website. Many have contact forms that allow you to reach out to them directly or they provide the contact information for the booking agent they have hired to field speaking invitations. Below are some additional resources with information you may want to review before contacting an author for an event.