Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What Authors Must Do to SELL Books - Fun Stuff + Hard Work.

Okay, let's get the important things
out of the way first.

I am this week's guest on

With host:
Suzanne Lieurance.

Date / Time: 9/2/2010 12:00 PM
Call-in Number: (646) 716-9239

This week's show is a previously recorded
interview with me, chatting about

my 9th book + other fun stuff.

I am the featured author this week on

National Writing for Children Center
Adding a comment could win you one of my books!

Read their terrific review

"Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind."

I am still basking in the afterglow!


for some serious business . . .

School Visits

This week, an author's list I am on has been
batting around the pros and cons of
doing school visits.

Here are my thoughts:

A few years ago, many authors made a lot more doing school visits than they did on royalties. This has changed. As daily newspapers, CNN and radio news tells us, public schools are in deep financial trouble. Most don’t have the big bucks to spend on our fees, and many parents can’t afford to buy our books. However, if you are lucky enough to live in a more affluent school district, remember that each school has its own ideas about how to handle an author visit. There is NO one rule that fits all schools. What I advise, is to personally contact whoever is in charge of author visits, and ask what they want from you: time allocated, any small teaching element needed, the number of classes you will visit, etc. Then you have to negotiate until you are both satisfied with what YOU bring to their table. Fees are very negotiable.

Never do it for free. It is very true that people do value what they pay for – schools included. Yet where once you might have received $500 for the day, now you might only receive $100.
Yet remember, whatever you are paid, you are still putting your name and titles out there in the hope of HOOKING KIDS on READING.

Always ask for some sort of fee when you go to a school, visit classes, read your books, and provide whatever else the school wants you to do for each class. Even if it is only $50.00. Schools will really value you , your time and your writing talent, if YOU put a dollar value on it as well. For some reason, many writers feel what they do is somehow unworthy of payment. Their time and talent is not worth hard cash. PHOOEY! If we don’t value ourselves, then no one else will either.

When schools are in an affluent area, they should pay a reasonable fee for your services – at least several hundred dollars for a well presented visit and book reading. In the less affluent areas, negotiate a fee you are both comfortable with. But some fee should be paid in acknowledgment and respect for your services, time and talent.

If you are famous, with awards and lots of books, you can probably charge big bucks - and get it! However, in these tough times, look into the financial situation of the school districts you plan to visit. Then negotiate you fee. Sometimes, you have to negotiate what they want from you, with what you are prepared to do. These days you need to go in with negotiating everything a probability – especially your fee.

Once you get the go-ahead, consider
pre-selling your books to the school.

When I did school visits, I gave them order forms ahead of time, to send home with the kids. This listed my books, a small blurb about each book for the parents information, + the prices. It also had my e-mail address, and the website where parents could go and view the books and illustrations for themselves.
I knew ahead of time the number sold, and ordered them from my publisher in one large lot. Some publishers, like mine, offer schools a nice discount. This worked well for me, and saved the teachers having to make up the order forms themselves.


Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques

My 9th Book

"Ruthie and the Hippo's Fat Behind"


  1. Wonderful!!! I'm sooo impressed Margot! Way to go!

  2. Thanks Nancy. This has been one terrific week for "Ruthie"and me.

  3. Thanks for the helpful advice. I hope Ruthie sells like hotcakes.

  4. Me too Janet.

    Thanks for the timely comment.