The International Directory
of Published Authors and Illustrators of Books
for Children and Young Adults.
Find artists and writers to present at your school, library, bookstore, conference or other venue!
The authors and illustrators found on the Author Illustrator Source website are very good at working with children and youth, and they love doing so. Author Illustrator Source is here to connect the exciting and enriching experiences of visits by authors and illustrators with those who want to arrange a presentation at a school, library, conference, bookstore or other venue.
Author Illustrator Source often serves as the catalyst that forms a bond between the published professionals and the librarians, media specialists, teachers, administrators and others who are interested in arranging a visit. In order to make the process more informed, clear and successful, we present the following suggestions:
How do you invite an author or illustrator to your school?
- Take some time to brainstorm ideas about what you would like the author/illustrator visit to accomplish, and what you have on hand for resources to facilitate the visit. Who is your primary audience? What age level(s) are you focusing on? What aspects of your curriculum do you want the visit to address? Which author/illustrator has produced some of your children’s favorite books? What is your budget, and is there any “wiggle room”?
- Search among the listings on this website to find an author/illustrator whose work seems appropriate to your needs, and whose fees seem like a good fit for your budget. You can search by author and state to find someone nearest to your venue.
- Contact the author/illustrator of your choice and express your interest in exploring a visit. Be as specific as possible regarding the age level of your audience, the kind of visit you envision and the dates that you have in mind. School Visits are usually broken up into several days and sessions. It is wise to check with the author or illustrator about how many days she/he has available for a visit and how many sessions can be presented in a day.
- Fees vary and usually depend on the details of the visit. Most authors and illustrators must take into consideration that they are missing work time to speak, and most expect travel expenses in addition to their speaking fee. A widely known, award-winning author or illustrator might cost $1,000 a day, but an author/illustrator who is just starting out, or who is from your region, might be available for $500. If you look at the authors and illustrators listed by us you will see a wide variety of fees, some of which are negotiable. It is customary to have a check for the agreed-upon fees and travel expenses ready to give the author or illustrator at the time of the visit.
- If there are no listed authors or illustrators who live close enough to your community, considering the budget that you have for funding a visit, we recommend that you contact the publisher of the author or illustrator whom you would most like to visit your school. Most publishers are happy to help you arrange visits by children's authors and illustrators. Usually you would contact the publicity department at the publisher. You may find the address and phone number of most publishers by searching online, by looking in the WRITERS MARKET annual publication in your library, or by visiting the Bookwire website and browsing through the listings.
Where do the funds come from to pay for a school visit?
There are many possible sources for funding school visits:
- Your school, library or organization may have discretionary funds that could be budgeted for future school visits.
- Many educators write grants to obtain funds to cover several school visits within the year.
- Other educators hold book fairs, or other fund-raising events, and use the proceeds to help fund school visits.
- PTA fund-raising activities could be allocated for author/illustrator school visits.
Preparation is always the key to maximizing the effectiveness of author/illustrator visits.
- Ask the author what she or he needs for program space, presentation times, program support and so on to ensure quality presentations.
- Schedule some "breaks" between one or more of the sessions, so the author or illustrator can regroup and refresh. Some schools set up a "Lunch with the Author" for a few selected students who would most benefit from a small group meeting. (The author will appreciate the meal!)
- When arranging the visit, check on food and lodging preferences, if applicable. Put everything in writing and make sure to spell out the date(s), time(s), fees, expenses and equipment needed, as well as the grade levels of the presentations, plus any other details of importance to you and the author or illustrator. Most authors and illustrators provide a contract for their services
- Make sure the students are familiar with the published works of the author or illustrator. Taking this approach will almost always assure that significant questions will be asked and students will be more focused during the presentations.
- Most Authors and Illustrators will gladly autograph copies of their books. You may want to contact a local bookseller to see if they would support a book signing at the school. The bookseller would then order a supply of the published books for purchase by teachers and students. Some Authors and Illustrators will arrange to bring their books with them to be available for sale and autographing. Advertise the visit widely to parents, students, teachers and the community. Send reminders about book purchases and times of the signing and presentations the day before the visit.
What kind of follow-up is best?
“Thank you” notes from students and teachers are always appreciated. Some authors and illustrators value a letter from a librarian, teacher or principal that can serve as a reference for future visits. Think of the visit as the beginning of a relationship between a creative professional and your children—one that can continue to broaden the children’s horizons and enhance their learning experiences, all while inspiring young minds to pursue their own creative interests and employ their unique skills and talents.