You want a piece o'me?

All Hail the Mighty Snark (with Respectful Regards to Killer Yap)!

I'm a children's author with a couple of books under my belt, and I was recently approached by the local education authority about doing some school visits and, if that works out, possibly conducting creative writing workshops for gifted and talented pupils in the area on a regular basis. This came about through the aegis of a friend who works for local government and had passed on my name and details.

I have just had a very positive meeting with the lady in charge of this kind of thing, and although I had made it clear that I was willing to visit schools for free, she did bring up the possibility of payment for doing the work. My question: if some money does materialise, should I have them send it to my agent so that she can remove her 15% commission, even though this work is not strictly related to my writing and has not so far required her involvement?

Double check with your agent. The answer is probably no but I don't know what's in your specific contract with her.

I don't take a commission on anything but what I sell, or cause to be sold. Thus, no commission on speaking engagements.


Deirdre said...

I'm a children's book author who has done school visits, and I know many other authors who conduct presentations and workshops for schools. I have never heard of anyone's agent getting 15% of this income. And yes, you should be paid for this work (because it WILL be work). Freebies should generally be reserved for underfunded schools, and even then, many schools have government and/or PTA funding that's specifically earmarked for author visits. Best of luck and have fun with the kids!

Simon Haynes said...

Check the industry rates for this kind of visit. The Australian Society of Authors publishes a fee schedule for everyone to use, so when schools ask about visits I just send them a copy.
It's pretty good money, too. In fact, in many cases you should just forget about getting published and go do school visits to talk about ... no, wait. Well, it's good pay in any case.

Nut said...

Phew... When I read the tittle, I thought Ms Snark was in a militant mood, and went on a spiky rampage. Hunting down nitwits and what not... I was pretty scared there, for a moment. Thanks for sparing us, if even for a day, Oh Great and Powerful Snark Hunter.

Zolah said...

Thanks Deirdre and Simon. I'll definitely bring fees into the discussion at the next meeting, and I'll let my agent know what I'm up to, but will stand my ground on any suggestion of commission taken (we only have a verbal contract, so we negotiate most issues as we come to them).

Thanks for the advice Miss Snark. Would Killer Yap like some of my irish whole-tail scampi, or is he more of a sorloin type of a guy?

Carmen said...

I can't see the agent asking for a commission unless the agent had something to do with arranging the speaking engagement.

Bella Stander said...

I've never heard of a literary agent getting a commission on a speaking engagement. The only way that should happen is if said agent got you the gig through their speakers' bureau (which very few agents have).

Nessie said...

Ok well what if an author wins an award for their piece? Is that prize shared with the agent?