This is not about how much money authors make, this is about being asked to do work for nothing. I am not a volunteer writer - this is my career and I spend a lot of time and effort upskilling, refining and preparing so I can deliver information that will be useful and interesting for the audience or participants. Many (paid) folk view the ability to promote as this incredibly valuable commodity for authors. It seems to me that the concept of 'promotion' has taken on this mythical, magical quality as if it always translates directly into significant sums of money. Sadly this is not as true as we would like it to be. And promotion when you are an author of children's books presents some unique challenges when you consider that the majority of my audiences (children from kindergarten to intermediate ages) have very little purchasing power.
I often eye up writing residencies and fellowships with considerable longing: the double dip of desirability of dedicated time to write and often a stipend to value and support you as an author. What's not to love? Well, maybe just the fact that we don't seem to have a lot of residencies and fellowships available to children's writers. If you look at the total number available in New Zealand the majority are geared towards writers of adult material and if they are open to all writers, most of the time they go to those involved in adult writing (the Beatson, The Buddle-Findlay, Berlin, Menton, the Burns Fellowship, University of Waikato, Michael King Fellowship etc...). That's my impression anyway and I welcome your views, opposing or supporting, in the comments. There is the very cool University of Otago Children's Writer in Residence (long may it continue) but if children's writers have to compete with adult writers for the same programmes, for whatever reasons, good or bad, adult writing tends to win out more often than not. Competing doesn't seem like the best idea. I think there is a gap here. I vote we get another dedicated children's writers residency or fellowship. What do you think?