Finding Book Publishing Grants
According to some polls, 80 percent of Americans would like to make a living as an author. Are you one of them? Did you know book publishing grants are available?
With an ever-growing variety of self-publishing services available, this goal is, in a way, more attainable than ever. To do self-publishing right, making sure you reach readers and make money, you will need to fund a self-publishing plan that provides for marketing, distribution, and professional presentation.
One option for authors looking to fund a self-publishing endeavor is to look for writing grants. Most of these grants can be used to get your book off the ground, or to cover self-publishing costs, in addition to the living costs and research which grants are most often advertised for.
Create a Compelling Proposal
The key for any writer is to track down appropriate grants, and to create a compelling proposal to use the funds for self-publishing. This task can be somewhat more challenging for first-time writers, as many grants are geared towards authors with an existing public platform, or proven experience in a field such as environmental science.
However, with the right research and a well-written proposal, it is worth exploring even for first time authors – especially those writing in an academic field. In any case, the key is to find the grants that are right for you and your area of writing.
One starting point for the search for grants is your state’s arts commission. Every U.S. state has one, and if you contact your state, they will be able to offer advice, and you will likely be able to subscribe to a mailing list or newsletter. They may even offer events, classes, and other educational resources for writers.
Employees from these commissions specialize in finding opportunities. Some of these commissions offer regionally or nationally available grants too; it is wise to connect with the Arts Commissions of nearby states in addition to your own. Some writers can even serve on a grant panel without special qualifications, offering an opportunity to learn how to craft a grant proposal.
Book Publishing Grants Resources
You can find links to your state’s resources here.
Some counties and municipalities may offer small grants as well.
Other grants are available from a range of sources. Writing conferences will sometimes offer funding that is not widely advertised.
Libraries will offer grants for certain types of research. Organizations such as the Sustainable Arts Foundation will offer grants for writers in specific circumstances. For example, their grants focus on supporting writers with children under 18, to help writers balance their career with the demands of raising children.
The National Endowment for the Arts offers grants for individual writers. The Awesome Foundation Grant offers 1,000 dollars to pursue creative projects, with no stipulations as to the final product, and also boasts a quick and simple application process.
Many grants, such as the Arts Writers Grant Program, focus on specific subject matter – in this case, the grant is aimed at writing focusing on contemporary visual art.
Have a Marketing Plan
According to the online resource center Fundsforwriters.com, grants aimed at self-publishing will be most readily available to writers with a developed platform and a well thought-out marketing plan, who can demonstrate an understanding of how to sell and distribute the book.
So you may want to investigate and even select your services for self-publishing before applying for such a grant. Often, self-publishing grants are given to writers who partner with a nonprofit or educational organization to publish and distribute a book that aligns with the mission of the organization.
The new phenomenon of crowdsourcing also offers opportunities for self-publishing funding. Sites like Kickstarter.com, Indiegogo.com, or Gofundme.com let you bring your idea to a mass audience without the limitations involved in applying for traditional grants.
This new option is especially worth looking into for first time writers who may have more difficulty with other grants. Alongside the growing options for self-publishing, crowdsourced funding provides a key alternative for new writers.
Applying For Book Publishing Grants
For most writers, the process of applying for a grant for self-publishing represents is the most challenging part of finding funding. Applications can consume time that could be spent writing, and competition for grants can be significant.
According to Writer’s Digest, the best approach is to select a few grants at a time that appeal to you and that suit your work and circumstances, rather than applying for as many grants as you can at one time. Finding and applying for the right grant is perhaps the main key to getting results.
Most grants will call for an artist’s statement – a broad introduction to your body of work or one specific project. It should include an overview of the basic ideas in your work, summarized in a few sentences or a short paragraph. An additional paragraph can describe how these ideas are presented in the work. The statement should be as straightforward and businesslike as possible.
Be sure to follow any instructions in detail for a grant application, and make sure your presentation is neat, organized, and of course, legible. Make sure to send no more than the requested number of pages from your work, and avoid using a font smaller than twelve points, tiny margins, or single spaced pages.
Highlight Your Best Work
It is important to make your work easy to read and accessible for readers. Needless to say, be sure to choose the right sample, from your strongest work. The first paragraph or page should draw in readers and judges.
For authors planning to self-publish, the key to a good grant application will be to lay out a plan for distribution and marketing. An existing public platform will go a long way, but you will also benefit from a detailed plan to get your work to readers.
Plans to use a high quality self-publishing service with resources for distribution and marketing will likely be more convincing than a bare-bones approach to self-publishing. Make sure you present a plan for areas like these that are easily overlooked in self-publishing – marketing, distribution, as well as professional composition.
With these tips in mind, even first time writers may be able to fund their self-publishing endeavor with help from grants. As long as you find the right grants for your work, craft a compelling application with your best samples, and present a plan for areas that are sometimes neglected in self-publishing, grants are absolutely an option worth investigating.