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.”

What Size Should the Book Be?

After I formatted the inside of my book (see the blog post), I tried out different book sizes. I did this while still using MS Word.

A small book of 4X6 or 5X8 created a thick book that I thought would be difficult to handle. It also could be intimidating to read by some people in my genre. More importantly, having so many pages would be expensive to print. Too large of a book, such as 8X10, had fewer pages making it less expensive to print. But it was big and awkward and did not have enough spine to show the title. I also thought the readers might think they were not getting value with a thin book.

For a 68,000-word novel, I chose a 6X9 book, which is popular in my genre. With margins set wide and 1.5 inch spacing between lines, this produced a book of 335 pages and making about 200 words per page. I could have reduced the margins or spacing and put more words on each page, but what I had gave a lot of white space. Based on other books in my genre, I thought this looked more appealing to the reader.

Next, I went to the end of each chapter. If there were one to three lines left, I reduced wording in that chapter which reduced the lines and saved the printing of a mostly blank page.

When done, I saved the Word document as an Adobe file. This mostly locked in the design posing fewer problems when transferring to KDP software. MS Word software can be proprietary and complex causing unwanted format changes when transferring to another software.

I uploaded this Adobe document into KDP.

KDP did make some additional changes to fit the document into their system. However, after reviewing each page of the final document, my novel looked very much like what I had uploaded.

Next came the book cover which I previously blogged about (Part 1 and Part 2). Part 3 will be in two weeks. The saga continues.