Self-Publishing—Is It a Career?

I will publish my second novel at the end of this month. I plan to publish a third by the end of October and more next year. Have I established a self-publishing career? A few authors call their self-publishing endeavors a career by diversifying their creativity and making a livable income. Along with publishing books,[…]

The Problem with Name Dropping

In an application, some grant writers list names from the past and present that are associated with the project. The writer, sometimes with the nonprofit’s encouragement, see the names as important and recognizable. But are the names important and recognizable to the foundation? Usually not. Even if a foundation member recognizes a name, they may[…]

Opening the Self-Publishing Door

I’m about to self-publish another book. They are short stories about commuting on a train, which I did going to the Pentagon for over 25 years. After my first book last year, I learned some things. Last time, I designed my cover and it was not good. So, I had someone else design the cover,[…]

Which is better—Donations or Grants?

They each have their advantages and disadvantages. Most donations have no restrictions.* People give to support the mission in general. Most grants have some type of restriction. Foundations tend to fund specific projects. Nonprofits should use donations to fund expense areas that foundations do not fund, such as salaries, and use grant funding to support[…]

Flashbacks

Keeping a story’s timeline accurate is important for many reasons to include controlling flashbacks. I have read flashbacks that were to be one year ago, but were several years based on events. Or a twenty-year-old who five years ago was eighteen. The seasons seem to confuse writers. Going back one season from spring is winter,[…]

Balancing Act

A nonprofit should balance their funding sources between donations and grants. They need to use equal effort in achieving funds from both. I have worked with many nonprofits and almost all of them rely on either donations or grants for the majority of their funding. Yes, they get involved in the other funding source, but[…]

Naming or not a Fictional Character

There are two kinds of characters in a story. One who has a name and one who does not.* Characters who have an impact to the plot and appear in more than one scene should be named. They are a significant part of events and move the story along. Characters who perform a function, without[…]

Asking Again for Money

I’m applying for a grant that the nonprofit received last year.* I wrote last year’s grant, too. The easy thing would be to copy and paste last year’s information into this year’s application since little has changed in the foundation’s guidelines. Also, last year’s application worked, so why change it? This is the wrong thing[…]

Keeping Track of Time

When I’m writing a story, I try to maintain a consistent timeline. Even in science fiction, time progresses in a logical direction. The story can jump around, but the orderly passing of time should be maintained. This may seem obvious, yet I have read novels where the author confused the passage of time in the[…]

Important Jobs in a Nonprofit

This blog post continues a recent blog post about nonprofit positions. Nonprofit employees are categorized as operations (general overhead) or programs (specific to accomplishing the mission). I’m writing about the operations side since program people are unique to each nonprofit. The most important employee is the executive director. However, many nonprofits have no other operations[…]

Heroes Need Friends

Recently I listened to a podcast* where the guest speaker talked about characters. One thing the guest speaker said was that a hero** should not be a hero alone. Every hero needs others to help them do heroic stuff. I’ve read stories or watched shows where the hero took on the villain alone with maybe[…]

Professional versus Volunteer Grant Writer

There are two types of grant writers—someone paid by the nonprofit and one who is not (a volunteer). I’m a volunteer grant writer which means I provide my services without compensation. But I know professional grant writers who each formed a company and are paid for their services. Professional grant writers are paid either hourly[…]

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