Another long stretch has passed, but I have returned, and as promised, “let’s talk money” as it related to authors’ visits to schools.
In fact, there is still time to book an October author visit through Young Alberta Book Society (YABS). The organization’s program is huge and multifaceted. Artist eligibility is not easily achieved, but since participants are established professionals, those on tour during the October “Taleblazers” festival are asked to set their own fees. For a half day, $300 is standard and includes two one-hour presentations. For a full day of four sessions, $500-600 is fairly standard; however, some artists request $700 or more.
Author accommodation, food and transportation are paid by the program, including during the special, week-long Wordpower programs, in which the fees are the same for everyone and set out in the “call for artist” applicants.
With YABS, both schools and writers must become members, but given the quality and variety of available programs, the $50 membership is invaluable. Each year for Taleblazers, writers update their availability, fees and publications. Also, they indicate where they are willing to travel. Then, based on that information, teachers fill in their request forms.
How is the program funded? The school memberships help cover the organizational costs. Authors set their own fees, and also, schools pay those fees as well as a $20 stipend to cover lunch or one meal. To do so, cheques are made payable to YABS, which deducts a small administration fee and forwards the rest to the author or artist. Yes, the schools must budget or fundraise to cover the professional fees, but YABS offers suggestions for fundraising, and each year, one lucky school will win a free author visit during the festival.
In a few schools, students and staff may become so inspired by their guests that they decide to set up a writer-in-residence program within the school. In such cases, contacting YABS is a beginning point and then writers negotiate directly with school organizers.
The YABS program is invaluable in assisting writers and teachers to collaborate on programs that promote literacy, learning and the love of words. So, become familiar with it. There is still time to book an author visit for October. Next week, we will talk about money as it relates to the Canadian Authors Association WISP programs, which facilitates author visits to schools in the spring. Remember, a world of wonder and talent awaits the opportunity to connect with your students.