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How to Get Government Money to Write a Book


According to Publishing Perspectives, over 80 percent of Americans want to write a book. Finding the time and resources, especially when working a full-time job or taking care of your family, can be an obstacle to accomplishing this goal. By funding your book aspirations through government money, such as grants, you can remove some of the road blocks. Having the funds to meet your living expenses can allow you to work less and write more.

Outline Your Book

To prove that you have a strong, well-developed concept, many grant applications require you to outline your book. This can also be called a synopsis. A synopsis, or outline, highlights all the major plot points of the book's storyline. It can also call out instances of character development. An outline demonstrates the story and character arcs, gives away spoilers and tells the grant reviewer how your story wraps up.

Start Writing

You could have a great plot for a book, but if your writing can't accomplish your outline goals, the book won't be successful. Many grant applications require you to submit at least the first chapter to demonstrate your writing ability for the grant application. Any writing you submit needs to be polished and in accordance with your outline. Having critique partners or editors review the writing sample you are submitting helps to put your best pages forward.

Research Grants Available to You

Grants can vary by where you live and what categories you fall into. Funds For Writers website has lists of grants available to writers. GrantSpace.com suggests searching The National Assembly of State Arts Agency (NASAA) directories, your town's arts council and your state's art commission to find writing grants available to you. According to the NASAA site, over five million dollars was awarded in 2013 in literature grants alone. The grants also vary in what they offer. Per the Funds For Writers website, some can cover attending a writers conference while others can pay for you to write for months. Identify what you need to make your book a reality and choose the grant that best suits that need.

Fiction vs. Non-Fiction

Non-fiction grants are more plentiful than fiction grants, however, to receive them you must prove that your book idea has a social impact. For example, the Funds For Writers website specifies that many writers seeking a grant must show the impact the project has on world humanities. The federal Fulbright fellowship program is better known for being awarded to those in fields such as the hard sciences, public health, anthropology and economics, according to Publishing Perspectives. However, the site also notes that creative writers are eligible as well. Over 80 recipients of Fulbright fellowships have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

Complete and Send Applications

Each grant will have its own set of forms and applications to complete, along with the writing samples and outlines. Read all grant instructions carefully to make sure you meet the qualifications to apply. This will keep you from wasting time on grants you're not eligible for. Follow all the necessary steps and supply all the required information. Grant applications are a lengthy process and you don't want to be disqualified based on missing information.

About the Author

Michelle Barry graduated from Salve Regina University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Since then, she has worked as a reporter for the Wilbraham-Hampden Times, an editor for Month9Books and Evolved Publishing, editor and has spent the past seven years in marketing and graphic design. She also has an extensive background in dance.

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