5 Ways To Fund Your Writing Project

 
The Distrest Poet,   William Hogarth, c. 1736, Oil-on-canvas,   Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery   ,    Birmingham

The Distrest Poet, William Hogarth, c. 1736, Oil-on-canvas, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Birmingham

 

I came across a news story about a very popular celebrity musician selling their book of poetry for $1 a copy.  After experiencing writers block during the production of a new batch of recordings for a CD, the artist turned to poetry, feeling that much of the lyrical ideas and images that resulted from lyric writing attempts were really poems. With millions of loyal fans waiting for the new CD and tour, it was an easy decision to make this book of poems available for sale. And even if it was never meant as a money-making venture, the result from its sale will certainly make for a sizeable bank deposit. It drew my attention to a reverse scenario: Artists asking for donations and patronage in order to continue to produce their works.

As poets, writers, and other artists venture into making their craft available to the world -- and eventually their fans, the online experience and social media offer easy ways to assist in acquiring funding. An open guitar case in the subway or a desk in the park is still used to request compensation in exchange for an original song performance or a custom poem, but when it comes to creating a new chapbook or self-publishing a more formal collection, here are a few suggestions that can produce the necessary cash:

  

1. Patreon

There are three levels of membership when creating an account with Patreon, a website that allows creatives of all types to connect directly with their audience online, making their content available to followers in a subscription format. A writer or poet could deliver their work directly to an expectant audience as a membership subscription business. Recurring income is collected in exchange for scheduled installments.

This may not seem like a sexy new chapbook, but it’s certainly a positive move in the direction of building an audience and being compensated for your craft. And there are many more tools and informative workshops on the Patreon site to help make the most of this powerful online audience-building opportunity.

 

2.  Ko-fi

For those who prefer a less formal approach, there’s Ko-fi

Often we hear NPR and other non-profit telethon campaigns asking possible contributors to consider foregoing spending their $3 (or more) on a cup of coffee and pitching in for something far more lasting and valuable. Now is your opportunity to do the very same thing. Create an account and add a button to your website to give everyone the opportunity to be generous in their support of the arts:  your writing project.  And it goes without saying, be certain your work is strong – especially since your fans will be skipping a coffee now and then!

 

3. Go Fund Me

Often used to crowd source funds for a new invention or idea, GoFund Me has helped millions of individuals in their personal fundraising efforts. From quickly raising emergency medical funds, to assistance with paying for the recording and production of an indie band’s new CD, and much in between – this could be an easy way to clearly lay out what is needed and present it to your audience for their consideration. GoFundMe is “the most trusted free online fundraising platform.”

 

4. Add a Paypal button to your site – click and donate

How many times have you seen this on a website? It’s there for a good reason – it works! Seamlessly connect to your bank account and allow website visitors the chance to support your writing project. Explain to them what you’ve been working on and what you require to continue. Be sure to post sample poems and pages, as well as frequent updates on your progress. “Reward” generous audience participation and behavior with limited editions, signed books, or other displays of your creativity and gratefulness.

 

5. Social Media / Cry For Help

I’m not going to mention the largest hunter-gatherer of data on the Internet. I’m also quite certain you have your own strong opinion about spending time using it, or being used by it?

I have an artist-friend who has made use of social media over the past years as a way to stay in touch (she leads a nomadic lifestyle), inform her friends, fans, and followers of projects and paths, post travel photos (astounding remote places, oftentimes traveling alone), and very occasionally to make a plea for funds. She lives an adventurous, difficult, and dangerous lifestyle, and definitely follows and relies on her inner promptings. She suffers (unnecessarily?) for her art and there have been times when financial assistance is required. As a friend she is at times infuriating and stubborn, as a human being she is supreme, and those in the know offer support without question.

An artist/writer has a responsibility to their art and calling to follow through to completion, but sometimes too, living gets in the way. Financial support is necessary to make ends meet and keep up one’s strength to continue the process. Being able to ask for help can be a hard lesson to learn, but once it has been mastered, one can push onward to the studio. Knowing you have others awaiting your results might sound like pressure, but it can also be an act of loving support. Their message:  “We’re cheering for you to succeed at this project! Your work is of high value! Keep going! Eat something!”

 

-- Scott Lesniewski, Contributing Editor, Brilliant Light Publishing

Poets Reading the News!

 
©  Poets Reading The News

© Poets Reading The News

 

While researching on the Internet and contacting poets and authors, I came across a website called Poets Reading the News. Although the website is not New England-based (the project was born in Oakland, CA), it does have a number of excellent poems submitted by talented writers from New England, and we look forward to including some of them on our list of Recommended Poets/Writers very soon.

Many of the poems can be an unsettling read, much like today’s headlines, as poets react to current events and topics in the news. I cannot think of a clearer example of poets who illuminate the inner and outer states of our natural and cultural environment.” 

Poets Reading the News was co-founded in 2016 by J Spagnolo and Elle Aviv Newton. PRTN’s mission is to enact poetry’s vital cultural function as a processor for violence, cultural complexity, and political change for a society overwhelmed by the headlines. They’re out “to prove what we know is true: in times of darkness, poetry is essential reading.”

Vermont poet and career journalist, Yvonne Daley, delivers her poetry with the  precision and intelligence of a military surveillance drone: very direct and leaving no place to hide. Caitlin Gildrien, also from Vermont, makes us painfully aware of the crisis and suffering in Yemen. “My daughter is also seven years old,” begins the first line of Her Name Means Hope.  Yes, in times of darkness, poetry is essential reading. Some turn for solace and sanity, others for a more accurate way with words to balance today’s media coverage of important issues and events.

 
©  Poets Reading The News

© Poets Reading The News

 

Poets Reading the News has published hundreds of original poems and is also known for curating dynamic, unique events that connect poetry with artists, activism and community. They host open mics, poetry installations, community dialogues, reading series, and appear at poetry festivals and conferences, teaching the art of journalistic poetry at writing workshops around the country.  They are 100% community-funded. 

 

— Scott Lesniewski, Contributing Editor, Brilliant Light Publishing

The Time Is Right To (Self) Publish Your Book

 
Check out  Brilliant Light Publishing’s  growing list of author  Resources  and  Links

Check out Brilliant Light Publishing’s growing list of author Resources and Links

 

Scroll through our Resources/Links page and you’ll quickly see there is a lot of support for a new writer, both online and in your own writing community. And established authors can use some guidance with the current online tools and social media resources available to nearly everyone who can plug in – tools that can be used to promote their writing talent and events.

Many writers are using social media tools and finding routes towards making themselves known to readers, eventually gathering an audience and a loyal following for their work. These new pathways often do not involve a traditional publishing house, as authors have turned to independent small publishers, cooperatives, online magazines and journals, blogs, and self-publishing. The Internet has indeed changed everything related to book publishing.

Robert Spencer’s historic novel,  The Spinster’s Hope Chest  was recently published by Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative © Robert Spencer

Robert Spencer’s historic novel, The Spinster’s Hope Chest was recently published by Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative © Robert Spencer

Maine Author’s Publishing , current catalog cover © Maine Author’s Publishing

Maine Author’s Publishing, current catalog cover © Maine Author’s Publishing

A recent visit to the Waterford Library in Waterford, Maine and an introduction to local author, Robert Spencer, opened my eyes to just how committed some writing communities can be to their fellow authors. His historic novel, The Spinster’s Hope Chest was recently published by Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative.

Maine Authors Publishing & Cooperative is an example of one of the many independent book publishing resources available to a New England author looking to have their book produced and published.  All aspects of book production are handled, from editing and proofreading, cover design and page layout, to printing, distribution, and marketing. Creating promotional author websites and educating authors about marketing are also part of their expertise. The Spinster’s Hope Chest by Robert W. Spencer and many other titles from local Maine authors are included in their current catalog. You can find them online at: www.maineauthorspublishing.com.

© Green Writers Press

© Green Writers Press

© Green Writers Press

© Green Writers Press

In a similar spirit of community and assistance to new authors ready for publication, Green Writers Press, located in Vermont and led by the talented publisher and poet, Dede Cummings, is dedicated to “spreading environmental awareness and social justice by publishing authors who proliferate messages of hope and renewal through place-based writing and environmental activism.” They are a small organization, but accept submissions of poetry, fiction, short story collections, environmental essays, children’s picture books, artwork, and photography, and also are interested in hearing from readers, writers, and artists. Writers can also submit to their literary magazine, The Hopper, for a small fee to offset costs, or on occasion for free by following their social media for free openings.

 
Michael Boezi,  a former publishing professional, is on a mission to educate authors, and other creatives on the proper use of social media and the Internet to market their work.

Michael Boezi, a former publishing professional, is on a mission to educate authors, and other creatives on the proper use of social media and the Internet to market their work.

 

Michael Boezi, a former publishing professional, is on a mission to educate authors and other creatives on the proper use of social media and the Internet to market their work. With his many years of experience in the publishing world, Michael started Control Mouse Media to teach authors how to avoid the pitfalls of book promotion. His knowledge of social media tools, online marketing, and using ethical ways of creating “a buzz” for content has helped many to achieve their publishing and publicity goals. His podcast, blog, and online materials are constantly being updated, and his expertise and track record has caught the attention of Emerson College, where he teaches a project-based grad-level course.

Levellers Press , located in Western MA, was formed in 2009 by the workers and owners of Collective Copies. © Levellers Press

Levellers Press, located in Western MA, was formed in 2009 by the workers and owners of Collective Copies. © Levellers Press

One more honorable mention is Levellers Press, located in Western Massachusetts. Formed in 2009 by the workers and owners of Collective Copies, Levellers Press know all-too-well the ever changing publishing world. Owning their own printing and binding equipment, which allows for print-on-demand titles, has provided a vehicle for their authors, as well as other self-publishing writers. A quick look through their catalog of excellent books will inspire and encourage any author interested in stepping out.

At Brilliant Light Publishing, we’ll continue to update our Resources/Links page to provide information and support for writers and poets of New England. We look forward to featuring your work and listing your new book on our site!

 

— Scott Lesniewski, Contributing Editor, Brilliant Light Publishing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brilliant Light Publishing Website Launched Nearly One Year Ago

 
We’re pleased to be adding a new area to the site:   Featured Independent Bookstore

We’re pleased to be adding a new area to the site: Featured Independent Bookstore

 

It’s been nearly one year since the Brilliant Light Publishing website launched and we’ve gathered together a list of some of the finest in New England writing talent. What began as a list of Recommended Vermont Poets and their books quickly branched out to include Recommended Fiction and Nonfiction writers, as well as poets from the New England writing community, and covering a variety of topics, including Nature, Travel, and Children’s books.

The Norwich Bookstore is located in Norwich, Vermont

The Norwich Bookstore is located in Norwich, Vermont

We continue to promote the best of New England’s poets and writers, and we’re pleased to be adding a new area to the site: Featured Independent Bookstore. As with our Featured Poet/Writer page, from time-to-time we’ll showcase an exceptional independent bookstore and share some of their staff’s recommended titles by New England authors. Our first offering is The Norwich Bookstore, located in Norwich, Vermont.

We hope that you continue to find our author and book suggestions helpful this summer season, and seek them out at your favorite independent bookstore. We’ll also continue to update our site with author and bookstore events.

We’d be happy to hear about New England writers you’ve been reading lately. One of our favorites is Vermont poet, James Crews.

James Crews reading from his book,  Telling My Father

James Crews reading from his book, Telling My Father

Visit our Featured Poet/Writer page to learn more, and thanks for visiting www.brilliantlightpublishing.com.

 

— Scott Lesniewski, Contributing Editor, Brilliant Light Publishing

League of Vermont Writers fall program

The recent League of Vermont Writers fall program, held on October 6th, was a great success! Each of the three keynote speakers -- Sonja Hakala, Ed Vincent, and Bill Schubart, gave excellent and informative presentations. It was clear from the very positive audience response that each presenter delivered vital information.

Ed spoke from his great experience as a publisher of mystery novels, and demonstrated his expertise, with many stories of how his publishing company works. Sonja detailed the various author choices currently available, from traditional publishing, to self-publishing, to ebooks. She outlined the steps to take, and paths to avoid, drawing on her experience and research used to author her book, Your Book, Your Way. Also, she reviewed publishing vocabulary and which companies could help with the various choices.

Bill Schubart also spoke from decades of personal experience that included numbers to make his point. For example, after outlining the steps to publish, he suggested that for an author to develop a book, pricing could run as much as $2,800 to $3,200. This included the necessary costs to pay critical readers, a copy editor, a literary editor, etc. He also mentioned professional ways to approach bookstores, outlined steps preliminary to printing and promoting a book, and covered royalties from traditional publishers.

The program also included genre break out sessions to help members get to know each other while working on writing as creative groups. The group overall agreed the day was very successful.

On October 8th, Vermont Poet Laureate, Chard DeNiord, conducted a workshop sponsored by Sundog Poetry. His command of the history of poetry was inspiring as he responded to questions. In his critiques of attendees’ poems, he gave examples of specific poets’ solutions to similar issues, along with his own suggestions. It is very apparent that he is an outstanding teacher, and after the session, he read from his own poems.

Welcome to Brilliant Light Publishing

We are excited to launch Brilliant Light Publishing/Media, L3C as a celebration of excellent writing and poetry in New England. We are honored to have Jean Connor as our first featured poet. Her poetry emphasizes a frank beauty that handsomely articulates details, as well as the grand picture. 

Welcome! 

It is instructive to learn about poets’ ideation process. Ruth Stone said that poems floated toward her from the universe. Her job was to grab them and write them down. If she didn’t snag them soon enough, they would float by and disappear forever! Being quick is part of success.

Chard DeNiord in his poem, "The Gift" memorializes Ruth Stone's process.

The Gift

In memory of Ruth Stone (June 8th, 1915—November 19th, 2011)

“All I did was write them down

wherever I was at the time,

hanging laundry, baking bread, driving to Illinois.”

Mary Oliver wrote a two line poem, “Humility.” 

 Poems arrive ready to begin.

      Poets are only the transportation.

 

Begin is the operative word. The arrival is an exhilarating moment. But after the poem arrives, there is still much to do. Revision ideas arrive as improvements, and they are an equally creative and important part of the process. 

We appreciate these extraordinary poets’ results, as well as how they arrived:

Poet Showcase edited by Alice B. Fogel and Sidney Hall, Jr. and published by Hobblebush Books is an anthology of New Hampshire poets. The editors ask the question, “Why do we have so many poets in New Hampshire?”  The poems themselves offer a wide range of answers. 

Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry, edited by Sydney Lea and Chard DeNiord, and published by Green Writers Press states, “With its mystical landscape and fiercely self-reliant citizenry, Vermont has inspired poets from its earliest days.” This certainly resonates. Vermont is an inspiring state to live in and to write in.