• Be decisive about what fee works best for you.
• Don’t be defensive about your fee.
• Silence is your friend if you have to negotiate your fee.
Rule of Thumb #1: Be decisive about what fee works best for you
Authors’ and illustrators’ fees for school visits are all over the map, so you’re free to come up with your own figure. If you’re at a loss of where to begin, check out publishers’ sites for their author and illustrator appearance pages to get some examples. The median fees (not the average) will guide you. For example, here’s what I found at the site of Little Brown Young Readers division, a publisher’s grid that includes 80 authors and illustrators from 22 states, DC and one Canadian province.
Primary grades or “All Ages” (30 author and illustrators)
NEGOTIABLE = 2
N/A = 2
Authors/illustrators who post a local plus non-local fee = 13:30
Local fee range = $500 – $2000
Median local fee = $775
Non-local fee range = $450 – $5000
Median non-local fee = $1250
Grades 5 and up (50 authors)
NEGOTIABLE = 5
N/A = 2
Authors who post a local plus non-local fee = 13:50
Local fee range = $250 – $1500
Median local fee =$500
Non-local fee range = $100 – $5000
Median non-local fee = $1,000
Rule of Thumb #2: Don’t be defensive about your fee.
If people question your fee, just say, “This is what I charge.” You don’t have to do a dance or explain why you’re worth it. Just know that you are worth it!
Rule of Thumb #3: Silence is your friend if you have to negotiate your fee.
I was a garage sale recently. A shopper showed interest in a table and chair set. My friend blurted, “It’s $60 or best offer.” She should’ve just said, “It’s $60” and let them make the next move. Her next action would then be determined by their actions or comments.
With school visits, don’t take a potential host’s silence as a “no.” Don’t assume they can’t afford you. They’re thinking it over. If they counter with a price or ask if you can do any better, you can either choose to negotiate or stand with your original fee. And your silence in this exchange is just as significant. When you don’t chatter, good things can happen.