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Author Visit FAQs

How do you invite an author to your school?
E-mail is very efficient. All authors on our list have e-mail capabilities on their web sites and welcome inquiries. Publishers will forward mail to authors, and some publishers will arrange visits for their authors as well.

What if there are no authors in my area?
Most are willing to travel great distances in order to visit schools.

What will it cost?
Fees vary and usually depend upon details of the visit. Most authors must take into consideration that they are missing work to speak, and most expect travel expenses in addition to their speaking fee. A widely known, award-winning author might cost $1,000 a day, but a writer who is just starting out, or who is from your region, might be available for $500. Authors are happy to quote fees when asked.

How can we insure the success of our author visit?
The single most important thing is to prepare the students. Students who have heard or read the author's books will be eager to meet and question their visitor. Art activities pertaining to the books also increase the interest and excitement of students. In general, the more preparation teachers do with their classes, the more successful the visit will be.

  • Have someone prepared to introduce the author in an enthusiastic and knowledgeable manner.
  • Make sure you have provided the equipment the author requested.
  • Wait until all classes are seated before introducing the author.
What if we find one of the author's books objectionable?
It is wise to familiarize yourself with the author's books before you invite them and discuss any problems before plans for the visit are finalized. Authors are very sensitive to censorship of their books.

Will the author sign their books?
Most authors speak in order to promote sales of their books. If the author is not bringing books for sale, you should plan to order books at least three months in advance of the visit and make them available for student and teacher purchase.
The author will be delighted to sign all purchased books but cannot sign slips of paper. In order to have happy students, it is a good idea to create a simple bookmark with the author's signature so all students can have an "autograph."
It is far more meaningful to a student to present their book to the author and watch them sign it than to have teachers turn over stacks of books for signing out of the students' presence. Write each young person's name on a slip of paper to tuck in their book to prevent spelling errors.

How far in advance should we plan an author visit?
Some authors are scheduled a year or more in advance, and others are more flexible. One year lead time is a good idea, although it doesn't hurt to ask if you need someone sooner.

What kind of follow-up should we have?
Thank you notes from students and teachers are always appreciated. It is nice to have acknowledgment that the visit was well received. Some authors value a letter from a librarian, teacher, or principal that can serve as a reference for future engagements.

Is there anything else we need to do to have a successful visit?

  • Ask about food preferences if you will be providing a meal or meals.
  • Ask about lodging preferences if the author will spend the night.
  • Put everything in writing including dates, fees, equipment, times and grade levels of presentations, and any other details of importance to you or the author.
  • Have a check ready to present to the author the day of the visit unless other arrangements have been made in writing.
  • Advertise the visit widely to parents, students, and the community.
  • Send reminders about book purchases and times of presentations the day before the actual visit.

© 1997 James Magdanz, Illustrations © 1996 Dianne Widom
From Alaska Northwest Books

For information contact Jim Magdanz

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