How to Plan an Author Appearance
STEP 1. Start Planning
For an in-person author/illustrator appearance plan six months to one year in advance. For a virtual visit please plan 2-3 months in advance.
What will the day be like?
Who will the audience be? Where will the event be held? Do you want one presentation? Three? (Note: For an in-person visit most authors and illustrators prefer to give-at most-three presentations per day.)
What is your budget?
If possible, have your budget for the appearance pre-approved by your organization before you submit your request to the publisher. A budget for an author appearance would include:
- In-person honoraria (speaking fees established by the author/illustrator) typically range from $500 to $2,500 per day and do not include expenses, for which you are also responsible. For virtual visits honoraria can range from $100-$500 with some authors also requiring a purchase of a classroom set of books.
- Expenses such as travel, lodging, and meals for in-person appearances.
- Copies of the book. The author or illustrator will usually expect you to have their books on hand for signing before or after an in-person appearance. Be sure to place your order well in advance through your local bookstore or wholesale of choice, or you can order through Simon & Schuster.
Which author would you like to speak at your event?
Look through the list of Authors & Illustrators (.pdf) and write down one or two authors or illustrators you would like to have appear at your organization's event. (If your first choice is booked, you need to have alternates.) Start with your first choice; if he/she is not able to do the appearance, try for your second choice and so on. Please keep in mind that a "no" in most cases means "not at this time, but please try again in the future!"See a list of Authors & Illustrators (.pdf)
STEP 2. Request an Author
With your plans in place, it's time to make a request.
It is recommended that you request authors/illustrators through one publisher at a time, since a request is treated as an invitation to come and speak. Your request will be forwarded to the author/illustrator for consideration. In some cases, the author/illustrator will contact you directly to follow-up. What happens next?Fill out the Request an Author Form
STEP 3. Preparing For and Hosting Your Event
You've confirmed with your author. Now it’s time to prepare for your event.
Here are some tips to help your event go smoothly.Order Books for Your Event
Prepare the audience and venue ahead of time
- Order Books for Your Event
- Publicize the event in advance with displays and classroom activities.
- Many authors and illustrators have requested that every student who is going to hear them speak should have read or heard read to him or her, at least one of their books. Preferably several.
- Make sure any equipment needed for the author's/illustrator's presentation is working properly.
In-Person event tips and considerations for authors/illustrators
- Create an itinerary for the author's visit. This may include an assembly presentation, writing workshop, book signing or perhaps a luncheon with faculty or select students. Let the author/illustrator know what you have planned so that he or she can make the appropriate preparations for a successful day.
- Please do not leave the author/illustrator alone with the audience during the presentations, as he or she will be unfamiliar with your facility and routines. A representative from your faculty or staff, or a volunteer, should be available to guide and assist your author/illustrator throughout the day and especially during presentations.
- If the author/illustrator is required to stay overnight, please be sure to ask whether he/she prefers to stay in a hotel or a private home (most prefer some quiet time in a local hotel). Also, please be sure to keep in mind the timing of the appearance(s) vs. the author/illustrator's arrival/departure times. For instance, you would want the author/illustrator to arrive on the day prior to the appearance if the appearance is scheduled to begin in the morning.
- If you are planning a dinner that involves the author/illustrator, check that he/she will be up for it after a long day of appearances. Also, please ask the author/illustrator about any dietary restrictions.
- Please schedule an ample amount of extra time around the appearance so the author/illustrator can take necessary breaks, such as for lunch and a restroom stop.
- Do everything you can to make your special guest feel at home. Try and have someone meet the author/illustrator to take him or her to the event(s) - this is especially appreciated after a long flight! Please remember that although you are familiar with the author/illustrator, he/she probably doesn't know what you look like so please bring a copy of his/her book as a recognizable sign.
- Please pay the author/illustrator on the day of the event and send reimbursement for expenses as quickly as possible. If you cannot pay him/her on the day of the appearance, please notify the author/illustrator ahead of time and work out a payment schedule with him/her.
Virtual visit tips and considerations for authors/illustrators
- Be sure to confirm with the author/illustrator which platform the virtual visit is to take place on (Zoom, Skype, Google Hangout, etc..) and share the necessary information they’ll need in order to join you there.
- When deciding a specific time for the virtual visit keep in mind that an author/illustrator may reside in a different time zone, allow flexibility in your schedule by proposing a couple different time options for the visit.
- Most virtual visits last 40-45 minutes but can be formatted in various ways: a presentation, Q&A session, interview-style, etc.. think about your audience and which type of format might be best, be sure to communicate these preferences to the author/illustrator.
- Please pay the author/illustrator directly by working out a payment schedule with him/her.
And of course, don't forget the key elements on your part that will ensure a successful appearance: ORGANIZATION and ENTHUSIASM.
On behalf of Simon & Schuster and all of the authors and illustrators we represent, we look forward to helping you plan an exciting and inspiring author/illustrator event for your school or community! Thank you for working with us.
Author Appearance CoordinatorSimon & Schuster Children's Marketing
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020