July 24, 2002
FUNDING WRITING PROJECTS WITH GRANTS By Danielle Westvang | printable version
WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA?
Don't most writing projects start out with a big idea? It could be something that came to you while you were stuck in traffic, doodled on a scrap of paper during a boring staff meeting, or penned on a coaster while waiting for friends at some trendy new club. If you are anything like me, your best ideas come to you when you're not really trying to come up with anything brilliant.
How many of you actually stop to think about the publishing possibilities of a particular piece before you begin to write it? How many of you get halfway through the first chapter and realize that the funding for the publishing of the book is going to be more than we have to bargain with?
For many writers, the thought of publishing their work is merely a dream. Publishing houses are more discriminate about what type of submissions they accept, and the royalties are slim. Self-publishing is a great option, but will still require operating capital to take the publication from the PC to the printer.
I am here to tell you that the dream CAN become a reality by seeking funding sources to pay the expenses you will incur to publish your own book.
That's right! Let me say that again, your dream of publishing can become a reality by finding funding sources to cover the expenses.
SEEKING ASSISTANCE FROM SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
There are many special interest groups that are constantly on the look out for fresh material. Only you will be able to decide which special interest groups you would need to contact, depending of course upon the work you would like published. A group that would be interested in your project, may not be interested in the project of a friend or colleague of yours.
The best example I can give you is from my own personal experience. The majority of the material I write and publish is geared toward educators. When I am seeking support for a specific publication, I will make contact with groups that I know focus on the particular area of education that I am writing about.
For example, if I write a piece on Attention Deficit Disorder, I will be successful in obtaining support from special interest groups focused on Attention Deficit Disorder. I do not limit my search to just ADD groups. I also expand my search to include groups focused on learning disorders, the medical community, and also groups for or against natural remedies for Attention Deficit Disorder.
Locating special interest groups to endorse your project is a very good way to market your book once it is published as well. If the special interest group supports your publication, they will be more inclined to include it in their own advertising, display it in their offices, or include you in projects where they need product donations like auctions or other fundraising events.
SHOW ME THE MONEY!
The funding sources that you seek will depend heavily on the specific project that you are working on. What you want to do is make a list of all of the funding sources that MAY be interested in the book you are writing.
Use your imagination! Even if you think a source might be "off the beaten path," write it down anyway. You would be surprised how many of my students have been awarded large sum grants from a hunch that they had.
Having a reasonable budget for the project will be very useful in your quest for funding sources. Separate all expenses out into categories such as: Research, Editing, Prepublication costs (such as cover design, ISBN, etc.), Publication expenses, Marketing, Travel, and Miscellaneous. I generally recommend a bumper of 10-20% in each category to make sure that all needs are met.
Don't put your eggs all in one basket!
Large sum grants are great, and we all would love to receive $100,000 for a writing project. In reality, the chances are greater if the grant funding you seek is in smaller denominations.
After you have separated out your budget, you can look for funding sources to pay for each portion of the publishing process. You will be able to find funding for entire projects as well as specific portions of the project. Again, this is where special interest groups may be able to help. Often, groups will contribute a sum of money to ensure that a project gets off the ground. Don't be afraid to ask for support.
TAKING IT FOR GRANTED
There are many different types of grants available to businesses and individuals. The reason why most people do not attempt to locate grant funding is because of the misconception that they are only given out to nonprofit organizations, or that the process for obtaining a grant is too taxing.
Grant writing is not as difficult as one might imagine. You don't have to be a technical writer, nor do you have to hire someone for big bucks to write the proposal for you. You can write the proposal yourself by following the basic principles.
There are billions of dollars that are not awarded each year because those who would benefit from the money do not know that the grants exist, or they feel that they would not qualify and do not even try. The money then sits dormant until it is either absorbed into another fund, or it is awarded. Wouldn't you like to obtain funding for your next book?
To learn more about grant writing basics. I teach a course through Writers Weekly University. It is a 6-week program that offers all of the information you need to know to successfully search, write and submit a winning proposal. Space is limited to 25 students per semester class. For a limited time, I do offer individual coaching for writers who sign up for the course as part of the instruction process.
READ MORE ABOUT DEE'S ONLINE GRANTWRITING CLASS AT WRITERSWEEKLY UNIVERSITY AT:
Danielle is a freelance writer residing in Arkansas. She currently publishes several literary publications for Educators and Childcare Professionals. She has specialized in designing online courses in Marketing and Grant Writing for the last 4 years. In addition to her online courses, Danielle offers assistance to first time authors as a literary publicist.