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would you be happy paying £25 for this?

(39 Posts)
city1984 Thu 24-Jan-13 23:24:47

Ds aged 9 has been invited to attend a morning writing workshop at a local school. They also get to meet an author. (Can't remember name)
Would yo ber happy to pay this?

merrymonsters Tue 29-Jan-13 12:30:03

At our school, the PTA would be asked to pay for something like this.

lljkk Mon 28-Jan-13 17:18:52

DS met Jeremy Strong about 5 years ago, yr3?, and I think that cost £3.
Select group from his Yr8 cohort got to go meet Darren Shan last year and that cost maybe £15.

Those weren't writing workshops, though. Just because someone can write good books doesn't mean they can teach writing, anyway.

Come to think of it, my friend is a published author and he does fantastic full day writing workshops in schools for about £300, typically with groups of 30-60 pupils.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 27-Jan-13 22:10:45

I'm sorry but I too find it a bit steep, maybe there are a lot of expenses.

I know my dh charges around that much for the same type of thing but with music. He pays 3 others as well. They make similar profit with cds

Shallishanti Fri 25-Jan-13 23:20:46

I'm sure author visits and workshops can be excellent for all kinds of students and for all kinds of reasons, I hope we haven't given the impression that they are not valued by parents or we think authors should do them for free- it's just I think schools should pay for them and only ask for a nominal/optional contribution from parents.

katje Fri 25-Jan-13 21:57:23

Oh, and yes, do take him to a festival! Loads of good talks and events and there's generally an excellent bookshop too.

katje Fri 25-Jan-13 21:56:04

It went very well - I heard from quite a lot of the kids afterwards that they'd enjoyed the talks and the books. Some of them write to me after attending workshops and tell me about the novels they are writing! The school videoed the final session so now any teacher who wants to refer to my books in class can show the video.
I think that author visits can give children so much. They get to hear about new books, and their content. They learn about how people go about writing a book. They might get to attend a workshop and learn about creating plots or characters, how to improve their own writing. Most of all they learn that authors are normal - and I hope that inspires them to think that maybe one day they could write a book. I feel this is especially important for kids from poorer backgrounds.
I get a lot of emails from teenage boys telling me that they don't usually read at all, but after hearing me speak they read my books - and what else can I recommend for them to read? Reading helps their education, it improves their vocabulary, their imagination and their empathy.
I do about 30 school visits a year. I find them fun but exhausting - I'm not a teacher and I'd never done any public speaking before becoming an author, so speaking to a room full of teenagers was scary at first. I do it for publicity, of course, and to boost sales, and for the money, but most of all I do it because I hope that the kids will be inspired in some way.
£25 seems very steep to me. I've never heard of such a charge being made to parents. Most of the schools that I go to wouldn't have many pupils that could afford that. I'm actually shocked that a school would ask for such a fee - city1984, could you find out more and report back?

city1984 Fri 25-Jan-13 19:43:41

Sorry still don't have much info. It is being held in the local secondary. The author writes poetry and yes we will have the option to purchase a book. It is also in school time. Starting to think it might be better to take him to a book festival myself.

greenpostit Fri 25-Jan-13 19:25:41

It seems expensive but if my child wanted to go, I would probably pay it without complaint to prevent a problem. I would not like to pay it though!

bossyspice Fri 25-Jan-13 19:25:26

That sounds like a really full day katje and excellent value for money. How did it go? Were the children keen to get writing?

bossyspice Fri 25-Jan-13 19:21:03

Hi all, I'm new to this forum and I am a little surprised at some of the comments on this thread considering so little is known about the event.
Would you like some facts which might help inform a lively debate?
The Society of Authors recommended rate for an author to charge for a days visit is £350. Some bigger names maybe able to charge more. I expect you can find this out from an indivdual authors website. Some big names would not be willing/able to visit a school at all. Typically the author will do between 3 and 5 sessions which maybe author talks, workshop, assembly according to the schools request.
Schools generally have a budget to cover author visits during book week or at other times in the year. If that budget has been cut then I don't know what they do.
The purpose of an author visit is to promote reading and to encourage creative writing amongst pupils. The children really love to meet their favourite authors. They often see them as minor celebrities and once they have met an author they often want to read more of their books.
Some schools arrange for book sales and author signing. Again this helps to engage the children with the book. Hopefully if they have a signed book they will want to read it.
While authors benefit from the sales of their books, the percentage of the cover price that goes to the author is very small. as Katje says maybe 50p. Could be less. If they sell 50 books at a school event they make £25. Often authors will sell no books at an author event because the logistics of notifying parents, getting the books in, ensuring the children have the right money etc make it difficult.
With the exception of the really big named authors or authors who have secured film sales etc, most authors earn very little.
Do you know how many hours it takes to write a book?
Publishing is shrinking and with some books selling for 20p on kindle, the advances authors recieve for thier books is also shrinking. The hourly rate that works out at is usually way below the minimum wage.
Please remember that if an author takes a day out to spend with your children at school, that is a day they are not at their desk writing their next book. They are professionals and should be paid for thier services.
I don't know why this parent is being asked to pay £25. I agree it seems rather steep. Is the event on a Saturday? Has the author rented out the school premises? Maybe the parent who first raised this can give us all the details so we can make an informed decision as to whether it is fair or not.

Takver Fri 25-Jan-13 17:47:55

sausagesandwich34 I reckon if she got Tony Robinson & Time Team DD would pay 25 quid from her savings grin

Funnily enough she went to a workshop just like the one in the OP this morning at the local secondary, no charge to us & I offered to take her but school arranged transport.

admission Fri 25-Jan-13 17:17:29

The rules are very clear that if it is in school time and it is clearly part of the national curriculum, then the school cannot charge you, they can only ask for contributions towards the cost.
£25 is a lot in my mind and sounds remarkably like a school trying to recoup some of its outlay on this activity by asking pupils from other schools.

Pozzled Fri 25-Jan-13 13:38:14

My school have author visits at least once a year, with assemblies and workshops. It's always free as far as the parents are concerned- cost is covered from the literacy budget.

meditrina Fri 25-Jan-13 12:46:25

Our school has authors in to visit sometimes. I've never been asked to pay, so it must be covered by the school budget somehow.

katje Fri 25-Jan-13 12:40:23

Oh and the 'small fortune' from selling books. Very small indeed. About 50p a book. So if I did it all for free and relied on book sales to cover my expenses and time I'd have to sell about 800 books per school. At many schools the kids can't afford to buy books, but I see them lining up in the library to borrow my books.

katje Fri 25-Jan-13 12:36:30

I'm an author, I do school visits. Yes, we charge. We're working like anyone else and we rely on these payments to bolster our meagre incomes. If I'm visiting a school I charge £350 for a full day of talks and workshops - at one recent visit I did two assemblies, two workshops and a session with a smaller group of Y8s. BUT I have never heard of children being asked to pay. Usually the school will have a budget for author visits, and this cost is not passed on to parents. Some authors do free promotional visits, but they won't include workshops.

sausagesandwich34 Fri 25-Jan-13 12:33:24

our primary had a whole school visit from an author last week -free but you could buy a signed copy of the latest book if you were badgered enough by your children wanted too

Tony Robinson aka baldrick is doing a Time Team workshop at the local high school this afternoon -again free

£25 would be staying firmly in my purse!

Beehatch Fri 25-Jan-13 11:16:24

Sounds steep. We've had two author visits at school both free, but they do flog signed copies of their books at school pickup - and make a small fortune going by the size of the queues.

WowOoo Fri 25-Jan-13 11:10:48


But if the school was seriously short of funds and I had quite enough spare money I wouldn't. But, the chances of most parents having plenty of spare cash are pretty slim!

mrssmooth Fri 25-Jan-13 11:09:33

No way! Even if travel to/from the local school was involved, it shouldn't cost that much!

learnandsay Fri 25-Jan-13 11:07:27

If she got a boxed set of books, a hot meal and a taxi home all included, then fine.

middlesqueezed Fri 25-Jan-13 11:00:32

In school time we've never been asked to pay for a visiting author. I always assumed they did it for the publicity in most cases anyway. If it's a weekend or holiday event then maybe - depends how good it looks (and it would have to look pretty good grin).

bruffin Fri 25-Jan-13 10:25:51

My dcs have got to meet Anne Digby and Malcolm Rose through school and neither cost anything.
We have never been charged anything for g&t stuff other than travel costs.

Hobbitation Fri 25-Jan-13 10:23:09

That sort of thing should be done in lesson time and be subsidised by school funds/ PTA fund IMO. We've had visiting authors but parents have never been asked to pay.

OmgATalkingOnion Fri 25-Jan-13 10:20:42

No I wouldn't be up for that at all. But then I'm somewhat cynical about the visiting author thing.

It usually means someone self published that you've never heard of coming round the school flogging their hugely £ book to a schoolful of children who have been hyped up to believe the must have the book at any cost.

Now a writing course?? What an English lesson?hmm Well they come free as part of the curriculum don't they?

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