Author Archive: Stanley

Stepping into self-publishing (so far)

I’m on a path to self-publish. I would have gone the traditional route, but the agents I asked to represent me told me no. Most of the time, I didn’t get past the intern.

As of now, this is the path I’ve taken:

  • I wrote a novel.
  • I did my own editing, several times, which meant I rewrote the novel several times. (When people ask how many novels I wrote, should I include the number of rewrites?)
  • I joined a small critique group where we meet in person. This took some doing since I live in a small town, but I think it was important. I tried online critiquing where I did much more critiquing than I received.
  • I sent my (again) rewritten novel to a professional editor who I paid.
  • I’m accepting or rejecting each comment by the editor. Soon, I’ll have a final novel (final because I’ve got to move on with life).

Getting to this point was easy because I knew where to go. The next steps include relying more on interacting with people, processes, and software where the details are unfamiliar and unclear. Like learning how to swim while drowning.

Here are the next steps (as far as I know):

  • Get a book cover and inside design. I know what I want, but I need a trustful designer and exactly how to use a cover and book design.
  • I want to go “wide” making my book accessible on several platforms meaning different companies and their software. I know what platforms, but not the details on how to use them. That room is dark.
  • Marketing is a whole other thing, menacing and also dark. Very dark.

I’ll push on looking for the light switch or a flood light.

Brief Outline for Grant Proposals

I think I got this from a grant writing class I took. I can only claim summarizing the information to fit into this blog post.

A grant proposal starts with identifying and documenting the need for a project. This includes finding statistics to demonstrate a need is compelling. Data strengthens a grant request by explaining the need exactly.

State the project’s objectives (at least three), the expected outcome for each objective, and when these outcomes will be achieved. Also, what is the evaluation process to know the outcome was achieved?

Put this all together and build a description of the project by identifying who will be helped, what activities will improve the lives of these people, and who will do the work to include partnerships. Foundations want to know there are other organizations helping with the project. The more the merrier.

The other most important section is the budget.

Expenses are divided between programs (good to mention) and operating or overhead (bad to mention). Under program expense, list everything except things considered capital expense such as equipment or personnel benefits (considered overhead). Salaries are all right most of the time if they are for the program. Avoid operating expenses (private donations can fund these). More importantly, list exactly what the foundation money will buy.

List other funding sources (match the list of partners). Most important, state how the project will be sustained and funded in the future.

Overall, a grant writer should note the capacity and resources a nonprofit has to successfully do what they said they would do. A foundation wants to feel good about giving out their money. Build confidence, trust, and strength that what a nonprofit does with this money will help people.

Where to Lead Yourself

There are many choices for a writer when they publish. As an example, a writer can decide to write for money, write for attention, or write to produce quality writing.

Of course, all three would be good, yet generally only one takes priority. It depends on what the writer wants out of their writing life. Whichever way a writer chooses when publishing, each provides readers with a variety of reading choices (a good thing).

Many times, writing for money means volume writing (such as many novels in a short span of time). Writing for attention means getting on someone’s best seller list or get an invite to an award’s dinner. While producing quality writing can help with these priorities, it is not necessary.

In my case, writing is not about the money since I have another income (although I could use more income). It would be nice to have some attention, such as an award, but toys take up all my shelf space. This leaves me trying to write better.

This takes time, at least for me. It will be a long time before I have multiple box sets. It’s already been a long time and I have yet to publish my first novel. I hope to change that in the next few months. I also hope I don’t get an award. I like my toys.

Relationships Again (because they are that important)

I wrote two blogs on relationships. This third blog is about building and keeping a relationship between a nonprofit and a foundation.

Relationships are the most important asset a nonprofit has, which is why this is my third blog on the subject. Whenever a foundation provides money, they show confidence in the nonprofit’s success and the nonprofit has a mission matching the foundation’s goals. A basic relationship is created representing an opportunity for the nonprofit.

The nonprofit should take the lead in further developing a connection with the foundation. There are plenty of advice on business relationships. However, I think it is best that the nonprofit keep things simple.

After receipt of the money, the nonprofit should encourage continued contact by:

  • Sending the foundation a quarterly newsletter that includes testimonies, a calendar, and information about the community the nonprofit serves. Do not include politics or gossip.
  • Invite the foundation to events. If the foundation is too far away to attend, provide updates on the event.
  • Try to visit the foundation at least once. Face-to-face meetings and maybe a lunch go a long way to cementing a business relationship. When meeting, never talk politics or gossip.
  • Call as a follow up to previous conversations. Do not make up things to call. When calling, keep things friendly, but not personal. Do not talk politics or gossip.
  • Whenever contacting the foundation, never ask for or discuss money. This is not about getting more, but about building a relationship so the money will continue to come.

It is sincerity that makes strong relationships. A nonprofit (or anyone) should develop a strong connection because it builds trust. With trust, there is confidence, opportunities arise, and things are easier.