Do you charge for school visits? How much?
This is a question I am often asked by other writers and discussed in writer’s groups.
My answer….Yes! I have always charged for school visits–even before I had my books published and I was publishing short stories and articles. Children’s writers have always made supplemental income from their school visits. Now, in the days of cheap ebooks, that supplemental income is more like regular income!
So, I thought I would break down some of the things I charge for, and what I don’t charge for, and what can be negotiated. I am not listing my fees for the visits because I think each author should check with your local area for how much other authors are charging. I live in the Seattle area, and often, I need to charge for travel time in the fee.
If you want to learn more about school visits, a good blog to follow is School Visit Expert.
So here, we go…
- Study Guides: Each of my books (STAINED GLASS SUMMER and WEAVING MAGIC) has a free study guide on my website which can be downloaded, printed and used for a small group discussion, individual reading, or a whole class. I am a certified Washington State Teacher in grades 4th-12th for Language Arts (including writing, reading, and literature). So, the study guide is a really good deal because it’s written by an educator as well as a writer.
- SKYPE Q and A: I will do a twenty-minute SKYPE visit to any school or small group who has read one of my books or is going to read one of my books.
- Mentoring: I do not charge to mentor young writers and this is taken on a case by case basis depending on the writer, their needs, and my time commitments.
- Book Signings at libraries, bookstores, conferences, etc. I never charge for book signings. Never.
Most of the Time FREE:
- A One-hour Q and A author sessions to groups of local students who are in career classes who are learning about being a writer. This might include a panel I speak on or a session where I speak to small groups of students about the career of an author. By local, I mean the communities which surround me, do not take more than ten minutes to get to, and where I go on a regular basis. These include: Everett, Snohomish, Arlington, and Lake Stevens. This area can also include Cannon Beach, Manzanita, and Seaside if I am out on the coast. These visits are no more than one hour, I bring some of my writing things (contracts, edits, first publications), and we talk about the career of being an author. This is not a workshop. It is not a part of other workshops I might be giving. It is a one-time, Q and A one-hour session and I do these on a case by case basis.
- Book Groups: If a group of local (see above for the communities which are local to me) have read one of my books and want to have me speak to them for an hour, most of the time, these are free. I say most of the time because sometimes these include a 90- minute workshop and those are not free. If the community is not local, I can do a free SKYPE visit with the group for a Q & A.
Visits with Charges:
- School, library one time visit workshops. Usually these are 90-minutes, take place in one day, and involve three parts. I talk about being a writer and show a Power Point for the first fifteen minutes or so, I present a workshop on some element of the craft of writing (you can see all my workshop topics here, but I also work with teachers on their specific needs), and then the last part of the workshop is the kids write and we share our writing. Most of these I speak to two or three groups of students. These visits involve a contract, and usually I set them up about four to six months ahead of time–this is due to scheduling and the paperwork with the districts.
- On-Going Local Workshops: These are usually after school clubs, or in the summer where I am teaching a series of six workshops to the same group of kids. There is most often a theme or a focus to the session and I always take home the kid’s writing to review and comment on during the six week session.
- Grant Based Local Workshops: These most often are the workshops I do with the teens in detention. They run for a period of time, we obtain grants for the workshop, and they are scheduled four to six months ahead of time.
- Conference Workshops: Some conference workshops are paid, the majority are not, although there is a discount on the registration. Conference workshop terms are most often set by the conference.
- Mentoring Adult Writers: Most of the time, when I receive a request from someone who wants to write for kids, I refer them to a local SCBWI Meeting where they can get more information, or I refer them to a few books I have found helpful or the Institute of Children’s Literature on-line class. I usually do not offer consultations to adult writers although I do offer paid manuscript critiques.
- Manuscript Critiques: I critique manuscripts as the following: Picture Books and Short Stories for Kids are $75. Middle Grade and YA up to 50K words are $250 a manuscript. Romance novellas up to 30K words are $150 and a 50K word romance category book (sweet, contemporary or inspirational only), I charge $250. I do need to see the manuscript and the writing before I take on any manuscript critique. My manuscript critiques are developmental critiques only (I focus on the plot, character, and theme.)
I always bring books to sell and sign. My books are published with small publishers, so I buy the print copy, at cost, from the publisher and sell them myself. Sometimes I sell one or two copies, sometimes a handful, sometimes I sell none. I also bring copies of either bookmarks or postcards and emphasis that my books are published with digital first publishers and ebooks are great to buy!