Author Archive: Stanley

The Changing Criteria for Grant Applications

I have been researching grant applications and found that many foundations are funding only COVID-19 issues. However, I did find some foundations who are not only continuing their regular grant process, but have broadened their acceptance criteria to allow for more applications not related to COVID-19.

As an example, I recently wrote a grant request for a nonprofit who did not qualify a few months ago. The foundation changed the criteria by dropping some of their restrictions. Also, they extended their deadline allowing more time to apply.

With donations down, it is important for nonprofits to find other revenue streams. I always keep an eye out for those foundations that have similarities to a nonprofit’s mission, but do not generally meet the selection criteria. There’s always a chance that these close-but-not-close-enough foundations will change. And many do make changes during upheavals in the economy or other events (like now).

If the foundation’s website does not show any updates, call them. There are some who have changed things around without updating their website. (See previous blog posts about maintaining relationships.)

I usually spend just a few minutes a day researching grants. That way I feel it is less like a job, which is important since I’m supposed to be enjoying this.

Opinion piece: I saw many nonprofits had to close because the government did not consider them essential. Even though the nonprofits were addressing critical social needs in the community leaving people to suffer. What is essential and what is not has not been clearly thought out.

My Self-Publishing Progress – The Book Cover Part 2

In my last post, I said, “There are many blogs about writers trying to self-publish. Unfortunately, this is another one.”

So, I continue.

Part 1 was my issues with getting a book cover. After searching and failing to find a designer, I paid and subscribed to Adobe. I downloaded the KDP book cover template as a .pdf and designed something with my limited knowledge.

I used my cover design to publish the KDP ebook and print version of my novel High School Rocket Science (For Extraterrestrial Use Only). However, the cover could use more work.

So, I researched designers on Reedsy. This time I asked Reedsy staff for recommendations and they provided several candidates. As before, most wanted to design a dark cover with reds and greens because that is in my genre. I don’t like those covers and they were unwilling to change.

Yet, I had hope and I did find someone willing to design a book cover that was bright without using all reds and greens. Like Studs Terkel said, “Hope dies last.”

If I like the designer’s work, I’ll use her book cover to publish my novel on other publishing platforms. KDP will be my learning experience and I’m learning that I need to learn more.

But, hey! I’m a published author.

The Future is Coming

COVID-19 is changing priorities and deadlines for many grant applications. While there is money for the coronavirus, most of it will not help most nonprofits. Like small businesses sinking into bankruptcy, nonprofits are headed that way, too. Unless they manage their future.

One of the reasons grant deadlines have been delayed and priorities altered is that foundations are looking at their investments. Money will be tight due to the downward trend of the economy. Yet, like the recession of 2008, things will improve.

I am encouraging the nonprofits I work with to contact the foundations helping them in the past. Seek out and continue the relationships. During downturns and with reduced funding, foundations want to reduce risk. They are more likely to provide for nonprofits they funded in the past rather than recent ones.

Nonprofits can do more by looking for in-kind donations and volunteers. Plan for a lack of funding and seek non-funded options.

There will likely be despair. Yet, this is a right-now situation.

If you are a nonprofit who has been around for a few years, your mission has become important to many people. The positive impact to the community has been felt. Seek out businesses, government, and organizations who want to make sure the nonprofit does not fail. I hope the government and organizations help small businesses, too.

My Progress in Self-Publishing – The Book Cover

There are many blogs about writers trying to self-publish. Unfortunately, this is another one. And, this is the worst kind of blog post — one where the self-publishing effort is in-progress.

I’ll start with after my book has been edited to the point where I felt it could be read without too much wincing by the reader. My plan is to “go wide” meaning I will not be exclusive to any one platform (i.e. KDP Select). So, the first place I went to publish my book was KDP.

I learned how to format the inside of the book and had no problems with the upload. I could feel the tingle of excitement to be a published author. I felt the dread that strangers would read something I wrote. Yet, all my in-progress slammed to a halt when I attempted the book cover for the print edition.

I hate the book covers in my genre. Everything is dark with reds and greens. My novel has humor and satire and is optimistic. I want my cover to be bright and the designers I found disagreed with me. So, I designed the front and back covers separately using MS Publisher.

However, I do not have the software nor expertise to design book covers and I knew my design needed more attention. I tried to find a book designer again. I am still looking.

While looking, I started learning the software to design a book cover. This is my novel and I am paying the designer. Why can’t there be a compromise?