September 12, 2018
School Visit Pricing – A Look at the Data
by Michelle Cusolito and Jeanette Bradley (SCBWI PAL Members)
On March 15, 2018, we launched an anonymous, online survey with the goal of collecting data about author and illustrator compensation for school visits. We are happy to make the statistics we gathered available to our SCBWI PAL colleagues.
Pricing transparency helps us all. Knowing the going rate in your region, your genre, and your career stage is key to pricing your services to maximize your ability to book school visits at a price that is fair and respects your time and expertise.
We asked survey respondents to give us their “average full-day charge for an in-person school visit.” Below you will find our survey responses.
- 8% of respondents did all of their school visits for free.
- Among respondents who charged for their school visits, the average rate was $1,002.
- The most common day rate was $1,000.
- The middle 50% of respondents who charged had day rates between $600 and $1200.
Who are the creators at the top of the range? The top eight percent of respondents – those who charged more than $2000 for a full-day visit – had an overall higher-than-average number of books published, awards, and were more likely to have published a NYTbestseller. But the most striking thing about this group is that all of them indicated that a booking agent or their publisher books at least some of their school visits.
The following charts all exclude the respondents who did all of their school visits free of charge, in order to better represent average rates for creators seeking industry standards.
Analysis Based on Book Category or Format
Other Key Findings:
- There is some variation in average pricing depending on the category/format people write or illustrate.Respondents who write early readers earned a higher average rate, which appears to be function of those authors having published more books.
- Career stage matters! The average for debut authors is around $600.
- Self-published authors are earning much less than traditionally published authors, though some commented that they exchange book sales for school visits.
Regional pricing differences are fairly large. School visits in the Northeast have an average daily rate $283 higher than those in the Midwest.
Respondents who booked their school visits through a booking agency charged an average of $538 more per day than those who did not.
Respondents who won a major ALA or ALSC award earned on average $480 more per visit than those who did not.
31 percent of respondents had received a starred review on their most recent book. Starred reviews have an impact on the amount respondents charge–each star appears to add value.
17 percent of respondents have had at least one book on the NYTbestseller list. Bestseller status translates into an average charge $708 higher than those who have not had a NYT bestseller.
For the full survey results please visit Michelle’s blog: Polliwog on Safari
About the authors of this study:
Michelle Cusolito won the 2016 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award for her picture book Flying Deep (Charlesbridge). She has worked as a fourth grade teacher, a curriculum specialist, and an adjunct professor.
Jeanette Bradley has been an urban planner, an apprentice pastry chef, and the artist-in-residence for a traveling art museum on a train. (Yes, she is a data nerd who can draw.) Her debut picture book Love Mama was published by Macmillan/Roaring Brook Press. It contains no cities, pastries, or trains, but was made with lots of love.