By C. Hope Clark
When advising clients about their writing projects, I invariably meet someone who will state he needs money to continue writing. And he doesn't. He might need money to self-publish, to attend a retreat and get away for a week, sign up for a class, travel to a conference or do research, but nothing stops him from writing. However, a grant or other financial opportunity would make the journey easier, right?
Grants do exist, but they have rules, just like a publisher only printing certain genres, an agent only representing specific kinds of books, or a magazine preferring exact topics. Finding money for your writing efforts takes time and research for those same reasons. Grant providers have specific missions, and your needs must first fit theirs.
Here, however, are a few resources that you might be able to take advantage of. Remember, you must write a remarkable application or design a sharp presentation. You aren't the only writer attempting to nab these funds, so that means being competitive, like anything else in this business.
SUSTAINABLE ARTS FOUNDATION AWARDS
In recognition of the challenges of leading a creative life while raising children, the Sustainable Arts Foundation provides financial support to writers and artists with families. They offer a number of $6,000 awards in both the Spring and in
Winter. The applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18. They award a number of Promise Awards of smaller dollar figures to applicants whose work may not qualify for the main awards, but demonstrates both skill and potential. As with most grants, your portfolio aids the judges to rank you. They are also interested in hearing about your plans and how this award might assist you in attaining your goals.
In essence, you solicit for sponsors, only you can do it in trickles of money. Post your project, your budgetary need, and your goals on the website and start the timer. People visit the site and analyze the various projects, seeking for someone to assist. Anyone may donate, in increments as low as $1. If you receive enough pledges to meet your goal, you get the money and you're off to create your project. If the pledges fall short by the deadline, no money changes hands. Meagan Adele Lopez posted a call for her self-published book, The Three Questions, then presented a plan, posted a self-made video, and asked readers for $4,400. She received $5,200 and launched a marketing campaign for her book to include a new book trailer, cover and tour. (www.ladywholunches.net)
This foundation provides $1,000 grants to projects that inspire them. They have chapters in various cities of the United States, and are entertaining more cities to start up more opportunities for artists and creative individuals, to even include business ventures.
Locally, you have opportunities like:
• Your state arts commission or cultural agency (each state has one)
• Your local arts council (many cities or counties have them)
• Community foundations (all states have them sprinkled throughout).
Google for these resources, speak to your state writer's organization to see where they get their grants from, go to your state arts commission (see www.nasaa-arts.org to find yours) and ask the experts where artists and writers receive financial assistance in your region. That's what they do for a living. As a minimum, sign up for their newsletter or magazine, to keep up with the opportunities they have to offer which include grants, classes, legal and business advice.
Funds aren't free-flowing by any means, but they are tucked away in places here and there where most people don't know where to look. Your success with them depends on one or more of the following factors: how long you've been writing, where you've published before, how well you write (based upon samples), and the depth and creativity of your writing proposal (your plan for your work-in-progress). Some cater to newer writers. Some prefer those in the midst of their career. Some want to entertain writers with ideas that fit a theme. Some prefer giving money only to writers and artists in specific geographic regions.
Take a few moments each day to hunt for grants if you feel they would be a good tool for your career path. You'll find that those who've landed a grant, often find it easier to land many more.
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com , a website and family of newsletters recognized for the past eleven years by Writer's Digest forits 101 Best Websites for Writers. Hope is also a mystery novelist, and "A Lowcountry Bribe", the first in The Palmetto State Mystery Series, is available via Bell Bridge Books.