- Will you visit my school, bookgroup, writing class, bookshop, festival or knitting group?
Yes! I’ll come to talk to most people/groups who want me – as long as I can get to you! If you are in the UK, this is usually possible. If you are in a different country, it can get very expensive, so isn’t always possible.
If you want me to come to a school, read on. Most of the answers below apply to you. If you are inviting me to anything other than a school, please email me or get in touch via my Facebook page or Twitter and give me some more details, and I will let you know what I can do and when I’m available. I am happy to visit children and adults, and will do events with groups of all sorts of sizes.
Please note, much as I would love to visit you without charging, we authors have to make our living just like everyone else, so this usually isn’t possible, sorry!
My minimum charge for any event is usually £150 plus any travel expenses. (This would be for a one hour max event.) In extreme circumstances this is negotiable, so do please get in touch anyway, and we’ll see what we can arrange – but please don’t ask me to come and do a day’s work for free, if you can possibly avoid it. You wouldn’t ask your plumber to do that, would you? (Would you!?)
- How long will you come for?
If you live locally (and that means in Cornwall, so probably doesn’t apply to many people who are reading this!) then I’m happy to come to your school for a half day’s event.
If you live anywhere other than Cornwall, I can visit your school for a whole day, or even more than one day. Because it takes so long to get pretty much anywhere from where I live, it’s not really possible for me to do less than a day’s visit.
- What kind of things will you do when you come to us?
- I can do all sorts! The main things that I do in a school visit are talks or writing workshops.
- Tell us more about the talks.
- I will talk to your class or your year group about being a writer. My talks are very interactive (I like to know about you as much as I like to tell you about me!) and involve a lot of ‘show and tell’. I will answer questions about writing and will talk about all sorts of aspects of the life of a writer. When I give a talk, I’m happy to talk to a group of anything from one class to 200 children in one go.
- Tell us more about the writing workshops.
- I have run lots of writing workshops, with both adults and children. I like to have at least a two-hour session for a writing workshop. I work with smaller groups for writing workshops. One class maximum at one time.
- Which year groups do you work with?
- My talks work best for years 4 to 6 in primary schools and Years 7 and 8 in secondary schools. I will run writing workshops with years 5 and 6 in primary schools, and also with any secondary school classes.
- How many sessions will you do in a day?
- In order for everyone to get the most out of my visit, I would prefer to see a maximum of three groups in a day. This is sometimes negotiable, depending on circumstances, but I would definitely never want to do more than four sessions in a day. It’s just very hard to give you a worthwhile experience if I try to squeeze in more than this.
- And now the big question – how much will it cost?
I charge the rates that are recommended by the Society of Authors. At the moment, that is £400 for a full day and £300 for a half day. You will also have to cover my travel costs, including an overnight stay if needed.
Please note, I am VAT registered, so you’ll also need to add VAT to these prices.
- Is there anything that we should do before your visit?
- Yes please! I will be your best friend forever if you can do these things before my visit to your school:
- Have one main contact person who is in charge of liaising with me throughout the arrangements.
- Make sure that this person is going to be in the school on the day of my event!
- Prepare your children by telling them a little bit about me in advance. You can do this by showing them my website and my books, or even reading a little bit from one of my books with them. If you can get them to think of some questions to ask me in advance, that would be great. And if you would like to do some other work with them, contact me and ask for some ideas. I’ve got lots!
- Make some sort of arrangements for selling my books on the day. I don’t sell my own books, but am always happy to work in conjunction with your local bookshop, or with a teacher at the school. You can order my books directly from my publisher on a sale or return basis, with a 25% discount, so you can actually make some money for your school and possibly cover the costs of my visit on the day! I’m happy to help you to get in touch with the right people to do this.
- Send a letter out to parents of all the children I’ll be visiting, letting them know I’ll be there and that their children can buy books and get them signed on the day.
- Get some showcards from my publisher, so that the children can see I’m in school that day. (I can put you in touch with the right person for this.)
- What about on the day?
- If you could do these things on the day, I’ll be your best friend with pink spots on!
- Make sure that the person who has organised the event is there to meet me at whatever time we have agreed for me to be there.
- Make sure that the receptionist knows I’m coming, so that I don’t get a complete blank look from the first few people I encounter!
- Try to make sure I know where I’m going, throughout the day! (Including where to get some food at lunchtime and where to eat it please!)
- * I’ll bring an invoice with me. If you can pay me on the day, that would be wonderful. I know this isn’t always possible, but if not, it would be great if you could give me an indication of when I am likely to receive payment, so I can keep on top of my own records.
- Please make sure that there is always a teacher in the class with me. I like the teachers to be in charge of crowd control, so I can just have fun! (This one is also a legal requirement actually, so it’s not just me asking you to do it – it’s the law!!)
- OK, this all sounds great. We want you! What do we do next?
- Email me and tell me where and when you want me to come!
- It’s so unfair! I live in the US and I want you to visit MY school! Is there any way you can do this?
Well, I do sometimes do a book tour in the states, and we always incorporate some schools on these. Or if your school has just won the lottery and you can afford to fly me over, then I’m more than happy to do that!
There is one other possibility. Skype! I recently did a Skype interview with a class, and it was lots of fun. If you are interested in doing this, get in touch and let’s see if we can arrange something. I charge half my normal fees for this – and obviously there are no travel costs involved!!
- I’ve got some more questions that you haven’t answered here. What do I do?
- Email me or get in touch via my Facebook page or Twitter, and ask away!
I hope all this helps – and hope to meet you soon!