Grants for writers

Most authors make a liv­ing through mul­tiple income streams. These include book advances, roy­al­ties and spin off art­icles, as well as fees for for­eign dis­tri­bu­tion, movie rights, etc. Authors in Canada may also receive annu­al pay­ments from the Public Lending Right Program and Access Copyright. Many coun­tries have sim­il­ar pro­grams.

And then there are grants. These usu­ally involve a cash pay­ment of $500 to $20,000 and can buy a writer time for research and writ­ing or cov­er travel expenses related to their pro­ject. Different coun­tries, states and provinces and some muni­cip­al­it­ies offer grants to writers.

Some grants avail­able to writers in British Columbia, Canada, where I live include:

BC Arts Council

The Canada Council for the Arts

Access Copyright Foundation 

You can check out the links page at The Writers’ Union of Canada to find more Canadian arts organ­iz­a­tions that provide grants to writers.

Applying for a grant is tempt­ing and some writers make a good por­tion of their income this way. Obtaining fund­ing can mean the dif­fer­ence between fin­ish­ing a book in a timely man­ner or hav­ing to space the pro­ject out over time due to tak­ing on oth­er short term writ­ing gigs to pay the bills.

But grants are a lot of work. Most require a detailed out­line of your pro­ject, a budget, a resume, a list of pub­lic­a­tion cred­its, let­ters of ref­er­ence and writ­ing samples. I recently applied for an Access Copyright Foundation Research grant for the book I’m writ­ing about cou­gars.

I’ve writ­ten – and received – grants in the past so sat down to determ­ine how much time this applic­a­tion would take. I estim­ated two long, full days at the most. At the end of five days I staggered out of my office clutch­ing a 28-page doc­u­ment.

Do I think the time spent was worth it? If I get the grant, the answer will be a resound­ing “Yes!” But even if I don’t receive any money, it was still a worth­while endeavor.

Why? Because it forced me to cre­ate a detailed plan for an import­ant aspect of my research. I now know who I want to con­tact and what I want to ask them. I also have a pro­jec­ted timeline of how long the research will take. (I don’t know if that last bit should make me happy or want to cry — if my estim­ate of the grant applic­a­tion pro­cess is any­thing to go by, the research will take at least twice as long as I expect it to!)

So, if you’re think­ing of apply­ing for a grant, be sure to weigh the time com­mit­ment against the bene­fits. That said, an import­ant thing to remem­ber: If you nev­er apply for a grant, you’ll nev­er get one.




This entry was posted in Inspiration for your writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Grants for writers

  1. Paula says:

    Yes, the waiting’s the hard part, isn’t it? Congratulations on your Ontario Arts grant!

  2. Good luck with your grant applic­a­tion Paula. I applied, too, and am anxiously await­ing the yea or nay that will make the dif­fer­ence in my writ­ing life. Here’s hop­ing we both get good news in the next few days…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *