Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why Professional Writers won't come to your school for free

You'd love to have an author come to your school to talk about research and writing. So you take the next step and write to a few of them, inviting them to come.

Why then does it surprise you that your chosen ones won't come for free? Shouldn't they do it as a gift for the children? (After all, they write children's books, don't they?)

Nikki Grimes has written an excellent blog post
listing some of the many reasons that authors and illustrators charge for speaking to schools and groups.

I agree with all of it.
Writing is our business.
Income from writing and speaking goes toward feeding and clothing our children/ paying our bills/ etc.
Would YOU take an unpaid day off from work, get up at 5 am to drive several hours to another school, give four presentations, plus socialization with the organizers, then drive back home again through rush hour traffic -- for free? Not to mention the preparation time and the recovery time from being exhausted. Writers lose several working days doing this.

Oh, you say, but so-and-so will come for free. They've self-published their book and only require us to sell X-many copies of it to the children.
My response is -- have you read this book? Is it even up to the writing quality that you require of your students? Compare it to the literary quality of books produced by real publishers -- publishers who pay the authors/ illustrators and spend a year helping the author make this book the best it can be.
(You do know that self-published authors pay someone to print their book and it gets very little editing, don't you?)

Which book would you rather your students read to encourage them to enjoy reading and to learn good writing skills?

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