Writing for Kiwi Children and Arranging School Readings

By 01 June 2020

First Steps to Becoming a Children’s Author

How to get bookings:

• Join up with New Zealand Book Council and ask if you can be one of their writers in schools – they take new intakes twice a year.

• Set up a website and have a page where people can book you to do privately‐arranged author talks and workshops.

• Approach Storylines and Book Council and ask to be included on their website. You will need several mainstream titles published in order to qualify. If you area member of New Zealand Society of Authors, you can put an author profile on their website.

• You could also join the following to belong to their booking system: Kiwi Write4Kidz and illustrators at Sandra Morris illustrators agency

About the Bookings:

How much do you get paid?

 If you are going through NZ Book Council you will be paid for a half day morning $220, half day afternoon $185, full day $260. You can also charge for petrol (kilometres x .70c) .

 You could set your own rate see New Zealand Society of Authors for recommended rates or Kiwi Write4Kidz authors in school page. Also see attached

for recommended minimum rates.

Soliciting for work:

 Join NZ Book Council and get your bio on their website.

 Set up a webpage or blogspot promoting your services.

 Join Kiwi Write4Kidz or Sandra Morris Illustrator’s agency to get your profile on their website.

 Ask the Christchurch Library to put your profile on their site.

 Design a pamphlet or leaflet and send it to schools in your area or wherever you

wish to go. Make sure it has how much it will cost them and any hidden costs such

as travel expenses.

How long do they speak for and how many students are to be in the audience?

 You can discuss this with the school when making the booking.

 As a guideline: no more than 20‐30 minutes for Junior school, 30‐40 minutes for middle school and senior school, and 50 minutes for Intermediate age students and one hour for high school age students. However, one presenter has persuaded schools to do 1½ hour sessions. If you do lots of small presentations you’ll be repeating yourself over and over again and after a while you forget what you’ve said and what you haven’t said so keep this in mind.

 Always have a 10 minute transition period between each session. Always take your morning tea and afternoon sessions.

 If you’re starting out you might prefer to do one classroom at a time. Once you are getting into the swing of it you can sometimes talk to 1‐4 classes at a time. Anything over 120 and you have to be a skilled storyteller – you’ll be using microphones, need to use lots of dramatisation and props etc. The bigger the crowd the less intimate it is.

What presentations could you offer?

• You can do author talks on your books and how you write.

• If your books fit a theme offer those to complement their curriculum.

• Write up a workshop you can offer to schools such as writing a picture book or a micro subject like ‘showing not telling’.

• You can also give author talks and workshops via skype or other online devices making it easier to talk to audiences you might never get the chance too.

How can you arrange book sales and signing?

• If you have your own books to sell, it is essential you check with your publisher first. Advise the school beforehand that you will bring them along for the library, teachers and or students to buy. Design a leaflet with the prices. It pays to offer schools a 20% discount. To attract more buyers offer 10% to students (or round it down to the dollar).

• You could also contact the local bookseller and ask them to make up a voucher to give to students. They would bring their money in and buy it on the day or take the voucher to the book store after school. Put a time period limit on the voucher use.

• Make sure you have enough time for signing and you aren’t doing it when you need to have lunch etc.

• Sign pre‐loved books in the library that need a signature.

How are you paid?

  1. If you are going through NZ Book Council they will arrange payments. Don’t forget

to fill in your evaluation and time sheet form and send it back to them.

  1. If you have come to an arrangement with the school for a fee, send the invoice to the

school a week beforehand and advise the school you want payment at the time of

the visit.

  1. Make sure you say whether the price is GST inclusive or not at the time of the

booking. Make sure that your invoice says ‘Tax Invoice’.

Prior to the Visit:

  1. Write up a speech, lesson plan and or PowerPoint presentation well in advance.

You will need to practise it often so that you are confident with it beforehand. If

you are new to author talks, trial it out at local schools for free a few times.

  1. Make sure your talk includes a variety of styles: Getting audience participation

– by asking audience questions, getting children to role play or read part of the

book, students holding props; use a variety of visual displays such as

powerpoint, artwork, puppets, stuffed toys, and other props; and use a variety

of delivery – dramatise it, whisper or use loud voice to get their attention, tell

stories, use quotes or facts, read from your book; and excite the students with

giveaways such as pens, stickers, bookmarks, badges, posters, books and

perhaps include a competition of some kind. Think about all this when

designing the talk.

  1. Confirm with the school the day, time, address and contact person.

4 Check they have your books. If they don’t refer them to an online independent

store such as a children’s bookstore, their local bookstore – ring them to advise

them of your visit, or sell it to them yourself.

  1. Print out a map – see Wises maps for directions map directions .

  2. If you are travelling some distance and staying for a number of days clarify

accommodation and travelling expenses.

  1. Clarify parking arrangements

  2. Clarify your needs e.g. whiteboard, water, table, eraser. If you need a data projector

advise whether you have a stick drive or laptop.

  1. Clarify if meals are/are not being supplied and if so, any dietary requirements.

  2. Confirm session times (and size of class) – ask for itinerary to be sent to you.

  3. Confirm expectations of the visit e.g. workshop or author visit, particular theme,

book etc.

  1. Clarify what students will need to bring e.g. paper to write on and a pen/pencil.

  2. Advise the school of your website and send them any promotional material for them

to use to promote your visit e.g. poster for them to put up in library.

  1. Ask them to advertise your visit in their newsletters

  2. Ask if they are contacting local media and whether you are needed for interviews.

What you need to do on day of visit:

 Leave plenty of time to get to school. Make sure you have all your props, books,

laptop/stick drive with you.

 When you are shown to the place where you are giving talks make sure you have

water and all your needs. Ask them to set up projector and laptop if required.

 If you have to move between presentation venues make sure there is someone to

escort you to each venue and carry props etc.

 Ask if there are any special needs students or relevant cultural/religious issues.

 Ask where the toilets are located, how to get a drink etc


• You do not have ‘duty of care’ for the children you are speaking to, so the class

teacher(s) need to be present during the whole presentation. You must never be left

alone with a class or any small group of children.

Scheduling and presentation:

• When scheduling presentations allow sufficient time between sessions for you to

take a break and these include lunch and toilet breaks

• The school should let you know beforehand if they wish you to contribute to the

school in addition to their scheduled presentation, e.g. speaking at a school

assembly, handing out awards etc.

• Ask to be introduced or tell them you would prefer to introduce yourself if that is

what you prefer.

• Take a book along to the staffroom. At some schools the teachers sit in their little

groups and forget to talk to their visitor.

What should be done after the visit?

• Ask if they want a quote from you for their school website and perhaps get a quote

from you for your website.

• If the media didn’t come to the presentation send a digital photo with copy to your

local media organisation. Ask the school to put it in their newsletter and on their

school website – and ask them to link to your website!

• If photographs are taken during your visit ask them to send you copies.

Author Guidelines for a School Visit

For further tips see New Zealand Book Council site for information about procedures and tips on how to make your author talk successful.

Recommended Minimum Rates of Pay:

For Schools:

Half day (max. 3 hours) $220.00

Full day $300.00

Workshop copyright fee $ 50.00

Online sessions per 45 minute session $ 50.00

For Public Appearances (conferences, festivals, residencies, writers centres, tertiary institutions)

Whole day $800.00

Half day $400.00

Per session $200.00

Note: Ask presenter if price is GST inclusive

Travel Expenses:

Travel Expenses includes travel to and from school

If using own car x 0.70c per kilometre

Or travelling by air (standard airfares)

If presenter is travelling to another city include:

Accommodation costs at $100 per day

Per Diem of $50 per day.