13 June 2016

Our title FundsforWriters draws a lot of attention in Google searches, especially if someone seeks money. The people who contact me the most are often:

1) from developing countries
2) brand new writers
3) broke from all other resources and in a financial bind
4) retired academics

A lot of writers think grants and support money are only available for people who fall into demographic, race, age, educational, or ethnic categories ahead of the writing talent, but in every single case, who you are is less important than your project. You present proposals to be considered for grants, and most grantors refuse money for marketing, self-publishing (especially with vanity presses), and living expenses, unless you’re a proven writer, and then in rare instances.

In many of the cases, the individual has decided that writing will elevate them from whatever lifestyle they are in and hope to escape from. Nicely, I attempt to explain that making money as a writer isn’t like deciding to deliver newspapers for extra money. Doing so flies in the face of writers who’ve fought to learn the craft and the business.

I’ve probably been snubbed as much by academics as people from developing countries who want to make six figures writing SEO articles. One scholarly gentleman actually scolded me for not sending him the names of people with means and willingness to support credentialed souls with obvious intellect worthy of such endorsement. Accused me of withholding those names for a selected few.

New writers want financial assistance to break free or justify taking the time away from other distasteful income, and the broke ones are grasping at last resorts, hoping that publishing a book will keep the wolf at bay. Writing doesn’t exactly work that way. Quick money ain’t gonna happen in this environment. We have to learn the craft, then strategically seek the right avenues to publish and market. Grants are out there, but they are a tool, not a God-send.

But regardless the person’s background, request, or experience, I send them to these sources:

1) their state arts council
2) their state humanities council
3) crowdfunding sites (kickstarter.com or indiegogo.com )
4) any nonprofit or educational institution that might be interested in their subject/research. While the institutions may not have the funds, they can serve as fiscal agent, acquiring the grant on a writer’s behalf and administering the grant. See http://foundationcenter.org/getstarted/tutorials/fiscal/ .
5) check out http://www.fracturedatlas.com or http://creative-capital.org/aboutus/whatwedo/services orhttp://www.nyfa.org  – These sites offer to be fiscal agents for grants, and they might have something to fit a writer’s project.
6) local community foundations where small grants are made available to those living in a geographic area.

With the small cost of indie publishing, and the negligible cost of traditional publishing, grants are not needed to become a published author. And most of all, the project is the driving force of receiving a grant. The quality of work, the human message, the overall impact of the art/artist upon society and readers, are what matter. As with writing, it’s more about the impact on the reading public than the author. Remember this when seeking funding: It’s more about the bigger picture.

~C. Hope Clark is a publish of author of the award-winning Carolina Slade Mystery Series, owner and editor at http://www.fundsforwriters.com – Offering tips and tools for serious writers to advance their careers!

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