Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I arrange an author visit to my school/library/bookshop?
You can write to your preferred author/illustrator at the following address:
Name of author/illustrator here
c/o Puffin Publicity, Penguin Books
80 Strand, London
Please do not email your request.
You may also be interested in Puffin Virtually Live a series of free interactive webcasts from Puffin's bestselling authors. Find details of forthcoming webcasts and watch previous webcasts on-demand. Although we will forward your letter we can not supply authors' addresses for privacy reasons. Similarly we are unable to act as booking agents for events; arrangements for school/library events are entirely between yourselves and the author/illustrator concerned. However, if you are a school with a planned author visit please contact Puffin DK Schools Direct on 0500 807 981. For any publicity material you require, you can contact email@example.com. Please do this at least 28 days prior to your event.
2. Which author should I choose?
The most successful visits are those where the children are already fans of the author. You can approach any of the authors/illustrators that feature on our website or in our printed catalogue, although we cannot guarantee their availability please check with the author/illustrator you would like to visit.
3. How much will an author visit cost?
The Society of Authors recommend minimum rates of £200 for a day and £150 for half a day, but an author is entitled to propose a different fee. The standard charge is £100 pounds in Scotland. You should also cover any travel/accommodation expenses which the author incurs. Regional Arts Associations often have Writers in Schools Programmes and may help with payment. Contact Booktrust for further information.
4. When should I approach the author and what information should I give them?
The earlier, the better that way, you can always approach someone else if your first choice can't make it. Four to six months ahead is about right. Give as much information as possible about your plans:
How many sessions are planned?
What is the duration of each session?
What is the size and agegroup of the audience?
Are there any particular books you'd like the author to focus on?
Once the author has agreed to come, ask about their requirements. Do they need special equipment e.g. a slide projector, or pens and a flipchart? Will they need a lift to and from the station?
5. How should I prepare the children before an author visit?
Make sure they are familiar with the visitor's work beforehand and start them thinking about questions to ask. What about creating a display to welcome a favourite illustrator to your school? In some cases posters are available from Puffin (Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you a batch of posters within 30 days.) Puffin can provide further information about the author check out Authors & Illustrators link to Author and Illustrators landing page for our handy Author I.D. Cards, complete with a photograph, plus full biographies to read on screen or print out. You could also discuss the publishing process and how a book is made from start to finish.
6. How do I organise books for sale at an author visit?
At least a month before the visit, contact your local bookshop or regular supplier. If you experience any difficulty, contact Puffin DK Schools Direct on 0500 807 981. Check with the author which books they plan to talk about and order more copies of those. Let parents know that books will be available for sale. Send out a list of titles and prices (check current prices with your bookseller) so the child can bring in the right money. Alternatively, if children already have a copy of the author's book they can bring that in for signing. Build time for bookselling and signing into your timetable for the visit.
7. How do I get local press coverage for the visit?
Two weeks before the visit, contact the local newspapers. If they are interested in sending a photographer and reporter, fix a time which won't disrupt your schedule.
8. How shall I look after the author on the day?
When they arrive, offer a drink and quickly run through the plan for the day. Most speakers welcome a glass of water, and perhaps a few biscuits! Give the author at least fifteen minutes break between each session and, if they're with you for a full day, give them proper breaks and lunch. Most authors are not trained teachers, nor are they insured to look after school classes, so there should always be a teacher around during the sessions.
9. Useful contacts for author visits
Speaking of Books
Speaking of Books is a service which was set up to provide assistance in the organisation of author visits. They give advice, support and backup that benefits schools, libraries, publishers and the writers themselves. Many leading authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers can be reached through
Speaking of Books.
For more information contact:
Speaking of Books Ltd
John Humphries House
410 Stockwell Street
London SE10 9JN
Tel/Fax: 020 8858 6616
Authors Abroad provides school author visits throughout the UK and abroad, using a hand-picked selection of leading UK Authors, Poets & Illustrators. They work closely with schools, tailoring each visit to meet individual schools' needs and have now worked in more than 5000 schools in the Uk and 200 International Schools all over the World inspiring children from over 50 nationalities about the power of reading and writing.
For more information contact:
Trevor Wilson / Paul Vellucci
Authors Abroad & Caboodle Books Ltd.
8 Rivock Avenue
Tel: 01535 656015
Booktrust and Scottish Book Trust
The Booktrust provides useful help and advice on all aspects of children's books, runs a successful membership scheme for schools and administers the annual national Children's Book Week.
55 High Street
For further information please visit:
10. How can I order catalogues for my school?
Our online catalogue contains all Puffin titles, including new and recent releases plus hints and tips on how to use the online catalogue and browse facility. You can view our most recent catalogue at www.puffincatalogue.co.uk.