A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

I know, the title is an old cliché. Don’t worry, I won’t use any more clichés. This blog is about adding photographs into a grant request.

Many grant applications have an “other” category, meaning the applicant has the option of providing additional information. (If given the opportunity to provide more information, always provide more information.) I add pamphlets or posters or something linking back to the project. I always try to include at least one photograph.

The photograph(s) should involve people doing something directly related to the project. If requesting money for a product, show how that product is helping people. If needing funds for a service, show people receiving that service. The photograph should show the nonprofit making an impact to those in need.

However, be careful with photographs. Everyone looks at them differently. Some photographs can hurt the grant request.

For example, a service like a soup kitchen should show many people being served and not an empty cafeteria with one person. If asking money for a product, show it being used and not sitting on a table where it could look insignificant.

For a renovation project I’m helping with, I show contrasts of what the building looked like and the progress being made. It is important to be truthful, but I do not show the best side needing renovation. Someone may think the building doesn’t look all that bad. Also, I do not show a close up of rotted wood. People may think the building is too far gone and the money will be wasted.

So, just don’t send photographs. Think as much about the photographs as writing the grant. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words. (I didn’t say I wouldn’t use the same cliché.)

What readers look for first in a book

The aim of publishing is to get someone to read what is published. The author will not know the reader, so what can they do to motivate someone to look at their book?

People in the publishing business say the cover is what attracts readers first. I disagree. For many years I conducted an informal, haphazard, non-scientific survey of asking people I knew what attracted them to a book. Very few people said the cover convinced them to look at a book.

My survey group had a list of things they looked at first when considering a book. This included the author’s name, the genre, book reviews, and maybe the blurb. I also consider these things when looking for a book.

While blurbs are important, they are two or more paragraphs and the second thing I look at when selecting a book. I don’t look at book reviews. It’s a lot of trouble finding them and, besides, they are a stranger’s opinion.

As a reader, I look in the genre that interests me. This helps me narrow the search, but for an author their book is sitting there among many other books. On occasion I will look for an author’s name. However, I would have already read at least one of their books.

What attracts me and sometimes my survey group was the title of the book.

A few words across the front cover are the first thing people read. They may glance at the cover, adore the colors, but an interesting title will attract a reader’s interest.

P.S. I will post in two weeks my continued efforts to publish on IngramSpark. Alliance for Independent Authors gave me advice that helped.

Grant Updates

This is an update on two grant projects I recently blogged about.

The first, “Getting Emergency Grant Money” involved a nonprofit that was renovating an historic building and experienced a sudden problem. Work stopped for two weeks while experts evaluated the situation and permissions were renewed. During this time, the nonprofit contacted a local foundation for additional money.

The nonprofit had a long relationship with this foundation. After getting information from the experts and permission givers, we presented a way out of the problem. This was key to winning the confidence of the foundation members. While the amount of money is still to be set, the foundation will contribute as part of an out-of-cycle grant. Help is on the way.

All nonprofits need a foundation they can go to in emergencies because there will always be an emergency. However, these relationships should be nurtured when there are no emergencies. Get to know each other when it is not necessary to do so. (See my previous posts about relationships.)

I also recently blogged “PowerPoint for Money” about developing a short presentation explaining a nonprofit’s project. Nonprofit managers can then give the presentation to people with influence over a business or a foundation.

Recently, a nonprofit member gave our presentation to a local politician. The politician had influence with a foundation that generally did not support the nonprofit’s mission area. The verdict is still out, but things look hopeful. At least the presentation started a relationship.

One of the many jobs for grant writers is helping nonprofits develop multiple and diverse ways to get resources. Many times, this requires creativity. The more different ways to receive resources, the better prepared a nonprofit will be to meet emergencies. As Einstein said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Cover Problems, Again

I attempted to upload my novel to IngramSparks so I would have a wider distribution for my novel High School Rocket Science (For Extraterrestrial Use Only). That meant my book would be available to other markets outside of Amazon. I had one success.

With my KDP version, I had line spacing of 1.5 inches and an okay font. For IngramSparks, I tried 1.15, which was too small. I ended with 1.25 which was good. I also uploaded to IngramSparks using a different font. The text looked better. I was still at 335 pages, which was my goal.

Like with KDP, the cover stopped me. Somehow, I ended up with multiple images on the same cover with no way out. There did not seem to be a way to delete and try again. Obviously, I took a path that I should not have traveled. When the frustration grew, I decided to send a message for help and put it all aside.

At least for a few days. In the meantime, I had a grant to submit. Of course, I am still waiting for a reply from IngramSparks (hope dies last).

This week I will ask a writing group I belong to for help. The Alliance for Independent Authors is a good source that I should take advantage of and not be concerned about seeming too inept.

Writing seems to be more about getting knocked down and getting up again.