Pushing Toward Publication, Again

My blog post from two weeks ago exclaimed I would, “. . . work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.” My plan was to blog about this experience.

I did work on a new book size, but it was a pitiful amount of effort. My excuse I gave myself: I was finishing another book, which I really was doing. Yet, the real reason is that I’m overcome with caution about making my book available to more people. What would these people think about it?

The caution is stifling my motivation.

Without marketing, in KDP no one will look at my book. There are too many being published every day there. I may not find any readers on other publishing platforms, either. Why should I worry what people thing about my book when there may not be any readers to do that thinking?

I apologize for this being a whiny blog post. I have another two weeks when I hope to be blogging about my work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.

That sounds familiar. I think I might have heard it before.

Getting Emergency Grant Money

Grant money is slow to get. There’s the application period, evaluation phase by the foundation, approval (hopefully), and then a period of time before the nonprofit gets the check. What if a nonprofit needs money now?

The “now” can be some catastrophic event like a hurricane, wildfires, or a virus that affects a lot of people. When this happens, foundations send checks out of cycle and without the need for much paperwork. Yet, there are “now” events that affect only one nonprofit.

This is why relationships are important. But, don’t run to a foundation asking for help when something happens. Evaluate the emergency situation, gather facts and data, reasons for the emergency, and plans for a solution. It is very important to lay out all this information before meeting with the foundation’s board members.

A grant writer should write up a complete explanation with a way-ahead. Most people understand that emergencies occur; however, they are not willing to give money that may not solve the problem. The key is assuring confidence the emergency is under control.

The emergency may not be in total control by the nonprofit staff and leadership. Yet, it should be enough that there is a reasonable chance of success. Foundations (like most people) enjoy honesty.

I wrote this blog because of a recent similar experience. A nonprofit I worked with was renovating an historic building. Of course, old buildings do not like to be renovated. When they are opened, they reveal surprises.

I convinced the nonprofit staff to step back and evaluate the situation. The building was still standing (yeah!). The immediate goal was to keep it that way. We are in the process of collecting photographs, getting help from a local architect, and presenting our findings to a local foundation. A work in progress, but things look hopeful.

Size of the Book (Again)

I read recently a blog about book sizes. The blog author, and people commenting, generally agreed that a book size of 6X9 is considered amateurish whether self-published or by a press. My book is 6X9.

I went back over my notes and realized I ended up with 6X9 because KDP pushed me toward that size by making it the default. So, I am revisiting my book size.

I read that I should look at my genre, which makes sense. In young adult science fiction, the popular books are 5X8 or 5.5X8 or 5.5X8.5. So, I’m going to reduce my book size, but by how much?

I don’t want the page count higher than what I have (335 pages). I do have room to reduce the margins and line spacing while keeping enough white space on each page. This makes it easy to read, if someone ever reads it.

To reduce my book size, this week I will play with the inside format and bring the book size down. I’m going for 5.5X8. Also, I have a new cover!

My book designer through Reedsy came up with a design that I like. My plan is to leave KDP alone right now since that is working and work on uploading a new book size and cover into IngramSparks publishing.

The adventure continues.

Getting Beyond the Current Issue

Here comes the obvious: the coronavirus has impacted getting grants.

The rejections I and others receive usually explain how funding was redirected toward coronavirus issues. Or there are more requests because more nonprofits have lost donations and are applying. I think another big reason is the downturn in the economy and drop in investments. Foundations are understandably cautious about spending money. I would be.

Yet, this blog is about looking ahead in a positive way.

I’ve already written about how to work toward a post-virus future. This blog is about dealing with the frustration that nonprofit leadership and staff may express as grant requests are rejected and donations drop. It’s easy to say “Keep Calm and Carry On”, but it’s not easy to deal with lost income and rejection.

I can only offer communication as an option. In a crisis, people should talk. This includes those working for the nonprofit, volunteers, and grant writers. Discuss funding issues more often. Encourage each other to find new resource opportunities. Contact other nonprofits with a similar mission, even those in another state. Share information instead of competing for resources.

It is important not to let the rejections and frustrations take over. Not only for the nonprofit’s leadership and staff, but the volunteers and grant writers as well. Support each other. Maybe even invite some foundation members to join in a conversation of how to get beyond the current issue.

As Studs Terkel said, “Hope dies last.”