Choosing & Contacting an author / illustrator

How do you decide who would be the best author to visit your school?

A good starting point in choosing an author is to find out about your class’ favourite authors as well as checking author websites and book-based magazines for authors who may not be so well known.

Local / regional authors are often very willing to visit schools in their area. Independent children’s booksellers will often know about local authors and may be able to give tips on organising visits. Your local library and school library service can also provide advice, if you do not have access to a school librarian.

Authors can often be contacted via their website or their publisher. Larger publishers may have one person dedicated to helping set up author events and may be able to help with suggestions to match events or lessons. Reading Is Fundamental provides a recommended list of authors and costs.

It would be wise to select several possible authors that you might like to invite. Authors are often booked up months in advance and high profile authors like JK Rowling and Jacqueline Wilson would struggle to do any school visits at all. Booking well in advance – some six months to one year – will help you get your author of choice – although not all authors do school visits.

Authors will typically charge £250 per visit, although some fees are much higher. This does not include an author’s travel fees etc that will also need to be considered by the host school. If an author is asked to do fewer presentations, their fee may be lower. It is worth checking whether libraries or bookshops in the area also want to host the author and to share the costs.

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