10 Things that Keep You from Writing Your Book… and What You Can do About It Written by Patsi Krakoff and Denise Wakeman
9 out of 10 professionals and small business owners have at least one book or information product inside their head, but lack time and organizational skills to get it out into digital or print form. You may cringe when you read this list of ten things keeping you from writing your book, because it rings too close to home for you. You may have already written a book or an e-book, or have come close to starting it. It’s hard, we know it, and we’ve been there too. But go ahead and read this list, see if you can identify, and let’s discuss a possible solution to book writing problem. 1. I can’t seem to find time. 2. Every time I sit down to write I go blank. 3. I need an uninterrupted time period to immerse myself. 4. I need clarity on my message, but there’s no one to consult with. 5. I don’t know where to start or how to organize all chapters. 6. I’m afraid of losing clients and having my business suffer if I take time away from it to write my book. 7. I agonize over writing, grammar, sentence structure and punctuation. 8. I know what I have to say, just can’t put it into written form without losing clarity and impact. 9. I keep thinking about all time involved in writing book, and wonder if it will ever bring me results I want. 10. Once I get it written, I have no idea how to get it formatted, let alone marketed. Ok, you know why you haven't started writing your book. Do you know why you need to write a book? Why You Need to Publish a Book Here are a few reasons why writing and publishing a book is important to you as an independent professional, small business owner, or solo-preneur: 1. Having a book, whether in digital, soft-cover, or hard-cover establishes you as an expert in your field. 2. People buy from people they know and trust; reading your book is one step in creating client confidence and relationship. 3. Once people buy and read your book, they will want more of what you have to offer in way of services and knowledge. Your book can attract readers into your sphere of potential clients; once they have bought your book, they are ready to buy other services from you. 4. Having a published book is a great marketing tool, and people will actually pay for your expertise. 5. Books are one of major sources of passive income for professionals; once it is published it can continue to generate sales for you, over years and while you sleep. 6. If you don’t get a book out soon, your competitors will have edge, because many of them already have one and even two books out. 7. If you are a speaker, they make great bonus gifts and back-of-the-room sales. 8. They provide a platform for you to expose your readers to your mind and your heart, showing not only what you know, but how much you care. You can reveal your deepest philosophies through your writing, as well as your personal stories. Three Solutions to Book-Writing Problem Of course, there is no problem if you’ve got a lot of money. You just hire a book writer. There are many of them listed at Elance.com. Some professionals do this, especially when they need to get something published fast and there are not a lot of complex issues to put forth. But is this really what you want to do as a professional who has an important message to convey?
10 Secrets to Writing Grants that Get FundedWritten by Cheryl Antier
1. Understand needs of grantors. Behind every foundation grant is a philosophy, intention or basic principal. These principles not only determine how grants are funded, if you pay attention, they will also tell you how to approach foundation and what areas of your proposal are most important to foundation. Before you even start writing grant, you need to: Find out about granting organization and understand reasons they are offering grants Determine what they want in return for funds —positive publicity, leverage of funds, provide vehicle for in-house volunteers? Discover who actually will be reviewing your application — is it director, a funding or grants committee, bureaucrats? If information isn’t available on their Website, ask for examples of recently funded projects, and also for some that have been rejected.
2. Develop your proposal to fit application. You have a great idea, you've identified a need, and you've got tools to make it work. And you have found a grantor who shares your goals. But you still have to make sure that your project matches funding guidelines of each potential funder. Make sure major budget items in your project are clearly eligible for funding. If only part of your project is relevant to a particular funding opportunity then find other way to fund rest of project, and let them know (this not only shows them how resourceful you are, it will ensure that you have enough money to actually fund your project). Use restrictions and guidelines of grant opportunity to make sure that you’ve thought your project through and have planned for all contingencies. If you don’t understand what funder needs or wants, ASK — don’t make assumptions. Look at your project through eyes of grant reviewer. Where is your project weak? What are it’s strengths? Are you duplicating services? Do you have capacity to carry out work? If you’ve got any doubts, now’s time to address them. 3. Make sure that you understand and can comply with eligibility requirements and regulations you must comply with. It's a waste of everyone’s time and resources to apply for grants whose requirements are beyond your resources. Be certain you understand what you’re getting into — including grant deadlines, scope of work, reports, etc. Can your organization commit to contract and other legal requirements? If application process takes a long time and funding is not for six months to a year, will your project still be relevant and ready to go?
4. Get a second opinion, and ask for help when you need it. Often people don't flock to help with fundraising activities. (I don’t know why!). But, if you’re new to proposal writing and you’re taking on grant writing job for your organization, once you’ve done research and know what it’s going to take to put together a winning grants package, ask for help you need from others in your organization. Get someone else to proofread your application, and make sure that it’s clear and compelling. A confusing application will end up in discard pile. When possible, ask someone who knows little or nothing about project, because if they can understand need, urgency and goals of project, you have a better chance that so with grant reviewer. The budget is one of most important parts of your application. If you don’t understand them, get help from your accountant or someone who does. Don’t be afraid to ask grantor for help. Don’t expect them to write application, but they can answer specific questions and even help you to brainstorm ideas. 5. Bring your own resources to table. Even if you’re not applying for a “match grant” every funder wants to get maximum “bang for their buck”. Identify partners, associated projects, volunteers, supporters, donors, resources, etc. You want to give them sense that you are able to stretch resources you receive to maximum amount. Provide documentation that you have more time, resources and expenditures invested into project than amount you’re requesting funds for. Funders want to fund projects that are important and valuable. Show that you have resources from a variety of places; broader support better. This will demonstrate that you’re a good risk. 6. Show public support for your project. Every project can benefit from grass-roots support and involvement. Document support. This can come from a record of volunteers, testimonials from clients, newspaper clippings, letters of support, etc. Go beyond support from “usual suspects”. Think outside box — who else in community would benefit from your project, or support it? (Think of corporate volunteers, other organizations who are in a similar line of work, or who have similar issues, your local city council members or other politicians, youth or church groups, etc.) Provide ways for volunteers to help with your project, even in beginning stages. Keep track of hours spent, take pictures, get letters of support.