Live Literature, Author Fees and Free Events

  • Scottish Book Trust champions the rights of authors and advocates for the value of their work
  • Live Literature brings authors into communities across Scotland and advocates for authors to be paid for their time
  • Authors should be paid for their time and their work, except in exceptional circumstances that are agreed in advance with the author
  • This information is for both event programmers and authors

Scottish Book Trust believes that being a writer, poet, illustrator, storyteller, playwright, screenwriter or graphic novelist should be a sustainable profession that is open to everyone. This is why our programmes advocate for authors to be paid fairly for their work when they carry out events.

Scottish Book Trust pays authors a full fee and expenses directly when they carry out sessions as part of the Live Literature School Residencies programme and the Scottish Friendly Book Tour. Schools are not charged to receive or deliver these events.


Live Literature fee and recommended rates

The Live Literature fee is £175 per session. We also pay VAT if it is claimed, as well as expenses within set guidelines.

This is not a recommended fee, although we recognise that many authors and organisations in Scotland use it as a benchmark. Authors working through Live Literature may charge a higher fee if they choose to do so. If you are an organiser paying an author outwith our programmes, please confirm the author's fee directly with them before confirming the booking. 

The fee covers:

  • a session that lasts around an hour (no more than 90min) 
  • the preparation necessary and reasonable for that session

We do not recommend using Live Literature sessions to hold writing competitions. Adjudication for competitions must be paid separately, appropriately and at a rate that is at least equivalent to the Living Wage.

Authors should be paid for the following additional work:

  • extensive event preparation above that covered in the fee e.g. devising a brand new workshop or researching a new approach
  • reading time, if the author is judging a competition or providing feedback on written work
  • creating new work e.g. commissioned pieces

For further guidance on industry standard rates, please see Creative Scotland and the Society of Authors (‘Where We Stand: Festivals, teaching and appearances’; 'Minimum Practice Guidelines 2016'; ‘Guidance on rates and fees’).


Live Literature and free events

As set out above, Scottish Book Trust champions the rights of authors and advocates for the value of their work. Paying authors means that an event programmer can choose from a broader range of expertise, representing a more diverse range of voices, and support the future of literature as a sustainable career.  

Please note that this does not apply to events included in your publishing contract that are agreed between publisher, author and agent.

As an author, we understand that sometimes you might want to volunteer your time as a professional because a charity, cause or school means a lot to you. Examples of this include: a school you attended or a school that your family attend. We have been asked how it is possible to do this in a positive, constructive way.

Here are some ideas for authors at various career stages:

  • Rigorous feedback. Are you just starting out, or are you working with a new audience e.g. an age group you’ve never worked with before? Do you have a brand new workshop you’d like to test? You could agree to carry out a one-off session or small, fixed number of trial workshops – quoting your normal fee – in exchange for detailed feedback, if this would be valuable in developing or expanding your practice.
  • Donation. Are you an author or creator who would like to donate your time? Ask for a fee and accept it when it is paid to you. Then donate it to a charity or organisation of your choice – this could even be the same organisation that just paid you. If you are fortunate enough to be in a position where you do not need the fee, you have protected that choice for future authors who may rely on such fees to live.
  • Encourage them to look for funding for future projects. Even if you’d like to keep volunteering your own time, the organisation may be able to pay other authors to carry out events. Donate your time with a note of what a session would usually cost and specify that you are choosing to waive that fee on this occasion. Many project managers use past budgets as a starting point when applying for funding; this means their future project budgets can take into account the cost of paying authors for their work.


For enquiries about the Live Literature fee, please contact