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The details no one tells you about: Provincial Grants

When you become an author, there are little tips and tricks you pick up along the journey, at different times and from different people.

Some of these tips and tricks actually effect your pocketbook, so rather than assuming everyone knows about these, we wanted to provide a short list of things you should sign up for as soon as you have that first book out there in the real world.

This is the second of two posts about this subject (here’s a link to the first), and is not meant to be an exhaustive list, we’re just sharing our knowledge in the hopes no author gets left behind. Each of these grants have their own rules, deadlines and submission requirements, so please go through each website carefully to see if it can benefit you and your writing.

And Joyce and I are from Ontario, so we’ve only every applied for Ontario and Toronto grants. It’s totally possible that we’re missing provincial grants from our list, so please tell us about them in the comments below!

  1. Toronto Arts Council Grants
    This is a grant you can apply for every year for a work in progress. Amounts depend on whether you are a new writer ($5,000) or an established writer ($10,000).
  2. Ontario Arts Council Grants
    Called the Literary Creation Project, this is a grant you can apply for every year that has different levels of funding and different types of projects they fund. From the website:  “Eligibility for this program has been expanded to include writers who have been self-publishing on a professional basis or working professionally in newer artistic disciplines or creative industries. Existing eligibility criteria for traditionally published writers, comics creators, and creator/performers of performance literatures remain unchanged.”
  3. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts:
    The AFA provides funding “Up to $15,000 to support the development of individual Alberta artists, arts administrators, or an ensemble of artists by providing funding for a specific literary arts project.”
  4. The Calgary Arts Development:
    The CAD has a few options for literary folks to apply for grants and support, which they call investment programs.
  5. The British Columbia Arts Council:
    The BCA has a grant called Project Assistance for Creative Writers that is for individual authors that gives two levels of grants – one for $6,000 and one for $12,000, depending on your experiences level.
  6. The Manitoba Arts Council:
    The MAC has at least 10 different options for individual authors with varying grant amounts.
  7. The Winnipeg Arts Council:
    The WAC has two levels of grants for literary artists, up to $2,000 for emerging writers and up to $5,000 for established writers.
  8. Saskatchewan Arts Board:
    The only literary grant we could find on the SAB site was for one called the Independent Artists Program, which supposedly doesn’t have an upper grant limit ?!?
  9. Yukon Government:
    The Yukon government has an Arts Fund that writers can tap into.

The details no one tells you about: Programs

When you become an author, there are little tips and tricks you pick up along the journey, at different times and from different people.

Some of these tips and tricks actually effect your pocketbook, so rather than assuming everyone knows about these, we wanted to provide a short list of things you should sign up for as soon as you have that first book out there in the real world.

This is the first of two posts on the subject, and is not meant to be exhaustive, we’re just sharing our knowledge. Each has its’ own details and requirements and deadlines, so please, read over the websites carefully to see if you can benefit.

If you have other National programs you think we should include, please add them in the comments below!

  1. The Public Lending Rights program:
    A Canada Council for the Arts program, the PLR program “distributes annual payments to Canadian authors through the Public Lending Right (PLR) Program as compensation for the free public access to their books in Canadian public libraries.”
  2. The Access Copyright program and Payback:
    This is an educational payback program, to compensate you for your published work that may be used in a classroom. Instead of tracking and paying for every book and article a teacher uses to teach, you register as an author and get paid a percentage every year. From their website:  “You will be eligible to receive our annual Payback payment. Each year, all eligible affiliates receive a share of the Payback payment depending on how much they contributed to the repertoire of works licensed by Access Copyright.”
  3. National Public Readings program:
    Funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, this is one of the ways you can get booked and paid to present in schools. There are provincial versions of this program as well.

How to find copyright-free images for your posts

This great shot is from

This great shot is from

A blog post that includes an image is far likely to be read than a post without one. But you need to make sure your image is copyright-free. It’s not okay to just take a photo from the Internet.

Here are some tips on getting great, copyright-free images.

  • There are some great, copyright-free stock photo sites. This Entrepreneur article lists 14 of them. For instance, Unsplash has gorgeous landscapes you can use for free. (Note, you must add a photo credit.) And my faves, Picjumbo, which includes photos of food and Pixabay are both searchable and don’t require attribution for most photos. Just be careful you don’t accidentally use a photo that costs money—for instance, Getty images. (Sometimes those images will come up in a search, even on a free site.)
  • Use Google. Put in your key words and click Images. Then click Tools and select “Useage rights.” Choose “Labeled for reuse.” You’ll only get images that are copyright free. (Of course, always click through and check the rights out thoroughly.)
  • Take one yourself. Cameras on phones take some pretty decent shots. Don’t be afraid to get a bit artsy. My photographer friend’s advice for taking a great shot with a phone is: “get low.”

What’s your favourite method of getting great, copyright-free images for your blog posts? Let us know in the comments, below.

Author blog tours: tips

An author blog tour is just like a real-life tour, except instead of visiting libraries and book clubs in person, the author stops in on various blogs, by writing posts. Here are a few tips:

  • Laptop computer with colored booksIt seems obvious, but find blogs that are relevant to your book. Think about all the topic areas in your book, as well as the book blogs you like.
  • Offer them something—like a book giveaway for their readers.
  • Ask them how they’d like you to structure the post. If they don’t have a suggestion, here are some ideas:
    -Proust questionnaire (not all of it—five questions will do)
    -Book recommendations in the genre. (For instance, I wrote a baseball novel, so I might recommend great kids’ baseball or sports books).
    -Answer five writing-related questions about something interesting that happened when you researched or wrote your book.
    -Pick one issue that’s important to you—and relevant to your book—and write a few paragraphs exploring it. (For a baseball book, you might talk about the proposed “intentional walk” rule.)
  • Don’t tell people “buy my book” in the post. That’s an ad, not a blog post. Just having an article (and credits/links) on the blog will take people back to your book and author website.
  • Think about the specific blog you’re writing for and who their readers are, and write with them in mind.
  • Give them a great image to go with your article. Don’t make the blogger search for one—or worse, let your article be posted without one.
  • Include a short, informative bio with links and, if possible, a photo of your book.
  • Social media the heck out of your post. That will help you and the blogger.

Do you have questions about author blog tours? Ask them here in the comments and we’ll do our best to answer them!

Googling yourself

In every webinar and one-on-one session we give, Joyce and I talk about the importance of controlling your presence on the internet. One of the steps in that process is to Google yourself once in a while from different computers. Personally, I have a timer in my calendar that prompts me to Google myself once a month, but you obviously don’t need to be that prescriptive.

This time when I Googled my own name, I found nothing surprising, but Googling the titles of my books, I came out with an interesting finding.

Google: Jewel of the Thames, the title of my first book.

Google: Jewel of the Thames, the title of my first book.

When I clicked on that top link for the Pickering Library, I found that Jewel of the Thames is one of the books in their 2017 ‘Battle of the Books‘ competition.

Long-story short, I emailed the library and thanked them for including Jewel, and am now making arrangements to come by for a visit to these fine students who will be participating in the Battle of the Books.

The Pickering Library Battle of the Books page

The Pickering Library Battle of the Books page

Why Google yourself? This is why:

An important connection is made, the Library gets the thanks they deserve, and maybe some kids get a bit of a real-life thrill meeting a local author.

This is to say nothing of the value to your brand and your book sales.