Dear writers, artists, and SHAMc supporters, I first learned about C. Hope Clark through her website after reading Writers Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers. I owe much to Hope. Because of her writings I had the courage to introduce myself as a "Writer" when I moved to Safety Harbor in 2008 and continued to pursue my dream. Her weekly e-zine is where I found a call for queries by my agent, and her writing advice has been more valuable than I've read or heard since I decided to take my writing seriously. Thank you for this guest post, Hope. I am inspired once again and I know that this will help our readers. ~ Laura
Writers struggle to earn a living doing what they love. There’s no doubting that. The grand majority of writers have a day job, part-time job or other means of support, because writing takes time to generate an income.
But what are these income options? The Catch 22 rears its head right off the bat. We need credibility to be taken seriously, but we can hardly afford to invest the serious time to write because we have bills, rent and family expenses. We can’t afford to write, but can’t write enough to earn sufficient funds to exist as a writer.
FundsforWriters is a website I developed to post many of these resources, and each week readers learn about calls for submissions from grants, contests, markets, agents, publishers, and more. But let’s get more precise, and more serious. Let’s break down where you might find income for your work, some of which you probably never heard of, many of which can serve you well.
In the United States, the income tax code caters to nonprofits, educational institutions and small government entities when it comes to grants. But there are still a few grant opportunities for the arts. They are competitive, and you have to apply for them like you would apply for a loan, seek employment , or enter a contest. You petition someone via an application. No two grants are alike and no two applications are the same, so you have to focus on putting your best face forward, making the judges wish they were you in your proposal. Some of the individual grants out there are at:
Fiscal Agent Funding
Since nonprofits acquire grants easier than you or I, you might consider letting a nonprofit be your fiscal agent, where they receive the grant to fund your project. Of course the grant has to match the goals of the nonprofit in some manner, but they serve as your sponsor and handle the funds. For instance, a writer might write a book on Revolutionary War history and get the Daughters of the American Revolution to act as a fiscal agent. Of course, the DAR would need to have a purpose for the book to serve their needs as well. That’s not a real scenario, but it does serve as a good example. Learn more about how fiscal agents work here:
Anyone who’s ever collected money to support a child’s sports team or civic organization knows how to ask businesses to become sponsors. Same goes for writing a book or initiating a writing project. Sure, it’s gutsy to request financial backing, but if you are fired up and confident enough about your writing, you can pass that enthusiasm on to others so that they want to support you. This is best used for very specific projects, and you better be prepared to have a package of information that proves you are capable of succeeding.
Investors are sponsors, except they own a piece of the pie. There have been cases where authors offer royalty percentages for financial support. Of course you need to ask an attorney to draw up such a contract. Determine what one percent of your royalties is worth, prepare a package selling your goal, then offer shares to businesses, friends and family.
Crowdfunding is hot and popular because writers are empowered and in more control. You post your project online, offer incentives/rewards for contributions, then when you collect enough pledges, you are off and running. Then when your project comes to fruition, you provide those rewards to your contributors. The wonderful part of crowdfunding is that anyone can donate, and any amount is acceptable. A dollar, ten dollars, a hundred dollars, or more. The contributor decides, and your reward offerings are used to entice him to donate more. Take time to study existing projects on crowdfunding sites such as:
Any type of writer ought to consider writing for magazines. Stop and consider the fact that more readers will read your feature story and bio in a magazine in one weekend than will read your book in a year. Magazines can help establish you as a writer, an expert, or a journalist. Your clips in these periodicals give you credibility. To find these markets, subscribe to one or more of the following:
You may not feel qualified to speak, but sooner or later as an author or writer, you will be asked to stand before people. Consider an artist-in-residence or artist-in-education position via your arts council. You get paid to present to schools and educational institutions. Use your expertise to approach groups and conferences. After you obtain a little experience, consider joining a speakers bureau. Request compensation when you appear at libraries, museums, civic organizations, banquets or conferences.
Writers are usually frightened of such appearances, which is why I wrote The Shy Writer Reborn: An Introverted Writer’s Wake-Up Call. It carries many tricks to help you pull off the speaking gig, regardless of how nervous you are.
Don’t think that because you are writing a book, that a book is your only source of income. That would take years. Funding comes from all types of innovative directions, as long as you envision your writing career as entrepreneurial, not just art.
NOTE: An excellent book on funding for all sorts of artists is: The Artists Guide to Grant Writing by Gigi Rosenberg.
C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com, recognized by Writer’s Digest Magazine in its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. Hope is also a mystery author, with her latest release being Palmetto Poison, by Bell Bridge Books Publishing. www.chopeclark.com
For information on opportunities, events and writing classes in Safety Harbor, visit www.SafetyHarborWritersandPoets.com