How Much Are Authors Paid for School Visits?

My stipend has increased over time. When I began, I charged $300/day. That included 4-5 programs of 45-minutes each, plus autographing and lunch with selected students.

Over time, I raised my rates – usually by $50-100 each year. Today, with 9 books in print and a decade of experience as a visiting author, I average about 25 school visits each year, and at the end of the year, my stipends usually exceed my income from royalties.

In general, authors and illustrators charge more as they accumulate:

  • years of experience doing author visits
  • books
  • awards

Most authors/illustrators set a stipend based on a certain number of programs per day. Typically, the base rate seems to be for 3 programs per day, with an extra fee for a 4th program. (I learned the hard way that it’s wise to specify how many programs you are willing/able to do. When I first started, I sometimes let schools cram in as many programs as they wished. I discovered that I was inviting abuse – some schools scheduled me for 7 programs, with no breaks, and by the end of the school day, I could barely utter a sentence.)

Usually, authors/illustrators agree to autograph books while on campus, for no extra charge. You may be asked to have lunch with selected students or to be interviewed by the school news team; if you are willing, these “extras” are also part of the basic fee for the day.

Distance is also a factor in setting a fee. Most authors/illustrators charge less, as a courtesy, for schools in their home district. By the same token, they usually charge extra if an airplane ride is involved. Some speakers build travel/lodging/meals into their “long distance” rate; others specify the stipend and add “plus travel/lodging/meals.” (Who makes the arrangements for lodging and who purchases airplane tickets? Usually, the author books his/her plane, but the school arranges the lodging at a nearby motel. The school usually provides lunch on campus.)

Before you visit a school, discuss the amount of your stipend. Some schools will need you to create a simple contract, so they have a “paper trail” for their bookkeeper’s records. At most schools, a check for your stipend will be ready for you on the day you arrive.

For more information about Gail Karwoski, visit her website, or visit the Sylvan Dell Publishing website, For additional inquiries or to schedule an interview with Ms. Karwoski, contact Sara Dobie, Public Relations, at 877-958-2600 or