Are there subsidies available to offset the cost of author visits?
Yes, we outline the subsidies available here

Why do professional authors and illustrators charge fees?
Professional authors and illustrators make their living from their books. They have spent years honing their craft and have often left professions like law, teaching, librarianship and advertising to write or illustrate full-time, yet the average income for an author in Canada is below the poverty level. Authors do not have pension funds, holidays, or sick benefits. They write and illustrate with a passion because there are stories that they must share. School and library reading fees are a significant part of their income. By hosting author and illustrator readings, you help promote Canadian literature.

J.M Kelly

Why wouldn’t I just get a free author?
You get what you pay for. Beware the book creator who comes to your school or library for “free”. There is always a price to pay. These authors may be “self-published” which means that they paid someone to publish their book, rather than have it go through a rigorous selection and editing process. When people like this come and present at a school, they often push book sales. Why? Because they’ve got a garage full of them. And what about your reluctant reader who spends her hard-earned loonies on one of these books? She could find it a disappointing read. Worse yet, she may feel that the problem is with her, not the book, and she could be turned off reading. That is a high price to pay for a “free” speaker.

What’s the point of an author/illustrator visit?
Students benefit meeting real live authors and illustrators. It helps them realize that regular people wrote the books they love. It is also superb for patterning and mentoring. Librarians tell us that books fly off the shelves after an author or illustrator has visited.

Why do some presenters charge more than others?
The standard fee for seasoned children’s authors and illustrators in Ontario is $250 for a 45 to 60 minute session. On top of that is GST for some, and travel expenses. For those traveling a significant distance, meals and accommodation must also be factored in. New authors charge less because they are just breaking in. They don’t have the same name recognition and so often get fewer requests. What they bring to presentations is fresh and contagious enthusiasm. For a school or library on a tight budget, a fresh new author is a great choice. Many seasoned authors charge more than the standard fee because they are requested so often that they need a way to thin out the requests. Keep in mind that a day of presentations means no writing or painting for that day.

Patricia Storms

How do I select an author or illustrator?
Consider the following: What grade level do you want an author or illustrator for? Do you have specific dates in mind? What is your budget? How many sessions are you looking for? Now, take a look at our presenters. Be sure to click through and read about what their sessions are like, including student numbers and types of books and what costs are involved. Contact us and we’ll go from there.

What’s a “reading” and what’s a “workshop”?
A standard presentation or “reading” generally includes a talk about the book creator’s background, and why they write what they do. This can include intriguing anecdotes, show & tell, plus writing tips. Within this kind of session, the author will read a short selection from one or more of their books. An illustrator will show beginning drafts of artwork and an author will often discuss early drafts of stories. There is generally a good chunk of time given to questions and answers. The audience for this kind of presentation can range from 25 to 500+. A workshop is more hands-on and is with a small group of students — usually 15 or so. The author or illustrator gives a teaching session on a specific aspect of writing or illustrating, the students have an opportunity to create their own work, and then the author or illustrator gives individual feedback to the participants.

Helaine Becker

How do I prepare my class for an author visit?
1. Tell your students ahead of time about the visit. 2. Make books by this author or illustrator available to you students so they can read some before the visit. 3. Encourage your students to research the author or illustrator. 4. Do projects about a specific work. By doing the above, you ensure that your students are familiar with the author and excited about the visit. You also ensure that the questions they ask are value-added.

What should the teacher do doing an author visit?
As the hosting teacher, make sure that the author has everything set up the way they’re requested. For example, is there a bottle of water handy, a chair, a table? Does the author require a microphone? Are the students arranged in the manner requested? Once everything is set up and the students are assembled, briefly introduce the author and then sit down and enjoy the presentation with your students.

Kari-Lynn Winters

Here are a few do’s and don’ts:
* do listen and enjoy * do keep an eye on your students and discipline when necessary * do participate in the Q&A session * do keep an eye on the clock and motion to the author when there are five minutes before finish time * do pay the author either just before or just after the presentation * don’t mark papers or stamp books at the back of the room * don’t whisper with a colleague at the back of the room * don’t leave the room (or if you must, make sure that another teacher is there in case discipline issues arise)
What follow-up activities can I do?
The connection the author has made with students lasts long after the presentation has ended: * Display the creator’s books in the days following the visit. * Use the creator’s books in a teaching unit. * Develop writing or art projects after the visit. * Ask your students for feedback on the visit. * Have your students write to the creator, either by Canada Post or by email.

Can students purchase autographed books?
Some authors and illustrators can bring books. Ask ahead of time. Get a list of titles and pricing. Make up a flyer and send it home with your students. Collect the money ahead of time to avoid a frenzy at the end of the talk.

Can I get discounted (or free) books from the author/illustrator?
Authors and illustrators purchase their own books from their publishers for a price similar to what bookstores pay. It puts authors in an awkward situation when they are asked to donate or discount books. As a rule, authors charge the list price for books, rounding the price up to factor in GST and for ease in change-making. For example, a book that sells for $15.95 in a store would be sold by the author for $17. On occasion, an author may have out-of-print titles that they have purchased at a reduced price and they pass these savings on when selling.