Funding for Writers: How to Get a Grant

grants for writers

Many options exist for authors to find the funding that will jump start their dream career. Grants for writers provide many writing opportunities.

Many independent authors dream of that magic money to jumpstart their careers and support them as they embark in their profession. These are funds that do not have to be repaid and are to aid you in your writing efforts. However, grants are tools, not a mainstay, and as long as we see them as an occasional resource like winning a contest or landing a gig in a magazine, we can utilize them in furthering our profession.

But no two grants are alike. Let’s look at the types of grants out there and see which might be opportunity for your efforts to become a full-time writer.

State Arts Commissions

Each state in the US has one, and each state has different programs. Contact yours and ask for advice. Join their mailing list, keep up with events, classes and grant possibilities. Subscribe to newsletters of the states around you, too, since they tend to post opportunities on a regional and national basis as well. I subscribe to over two dozen of them. Serve on a grant panel and learn how grants are ranked, and learn what makes for a good grant or a poorly designed grant application. You need no special qualifications or degrees.

These arts commissions have a mission to further the arts, and their employees are specialists in funding opportunities. Attend their educational sessions or make an appointment with one of them and pick their brain. Their job is to help you succeed as an artist. You’ll find your commission at or

Artists-in-Education and Artists-in-Residence Grants

These grants are provided by the state arts commissions. Some states require you qualify for a roster from which schools and groups request your name, and the arts commission pays your way to present to schools. Some of these residencies can be for half a day, while others can go half a school year or more. Study those already on the roster for ideas, then connect with teachers to inquire what they need. Prepare your presentation with curriculum in mind.

Local Arts Councils

Not every city or county has them, but many do. Check out the arts scene in your community, because some have small grants to aid you in a project, in a workshop, or in traveling to present or research. You can become an actual part of your local arts council, so if they are heavily into dance and the visual arts, your volunteer time might be enough to convince them to slide into the literary arts as well.


You’ll find retreats in the mountains, on the coast, in the heartland or amidst a concrete jungle alive with traffic. Some allow you to attend a long weekend, while others can go for multiple months. And most retreats offer some sort of grant in terms of a residency. Some are need-based and others are purely determined by talent per samples provided in an application. Here are a few:

Weymouth Center in Southern Pines, NC –

Artists’ Enclave at I-Park in East Haddam, CT –

Ragdale Foundation Residencies at Lake Firest, IL –

Ucross Foundation in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains –

A Studio in the Woods in New Orleans –

Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, VT –

Centrum Artists Residencies at Port Townsend, WA-

Byrdcliffe Arts Colony at Woodstock, NY-


Writing conferences often have scholarships that aren’t widely advertised. If you seek to attend a conference, contact the organizers and inquire as to the availability of this assistance. As a minimum, they might offer a work-study program where you donate time in exchange for fees.


Most larger libraries and some specialized smaller libraries have grants to aid writers seeking specific kinds of research. Every presidential library has these fellowships.

Educational Institutions

Some colleges and private schools offer residencies for writers to write in peace while occasionally offering teaching services over a short period of time. Or these residents can serve as advisors to students, or provide public presentations. Usually a masters degree or above and proof of publication are required.

Professional Organizations

Romance Writers of America,, Mystery Writers of America, Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have grants of some sort. Some are for conferences while others are for medical and legal emergencies. Professional organizations work to support its members, and small grants are often part of the package.

Fiscal Agents

In the United States, the IRS income tax code drives a lot of grant activity, mainly in terms of who receives the money. The majority of grants in this country are designed for groups, not individuals like you, so you might consider requesting a school, nonprofit or other group to sponsor you, serving as your fiscal agent. They can apply for grants you cannot as a sole person, and as a result, they receive a percentage of the grant to cover their administrative needs. For a better idea on how to pursue the fiscal agent route, go to and . Search for “fiscal agent.”

Grants are diverse, so if you want to add these to your toolbox of funding resources, take your time to study them. The amazing thing about grants is that once you win one, others become easier. Grant providers respect each other for making good decisions.

You’ll find more grants once you start looking, and you can start looking at these sites:

FundsforWriters –

National Endowment for the Arts –

Michigan State University –


Self-Publishing Packages


Related Posts
Have You Considered Entering A Writing Contest?
One Writers Conference Can Be All The Catalyst You Need
Ignore This Holiday Self Publishing Timeline At Your Own Peril
The Two Paths Of Book Publishing [Infographic]
How To Use 100 Print Books To Promote Your Self-Published Book [Infographic]
Book Publicity Tips From An Industry Veteran



  1. I have one novel published. one being published, and three in preparation to be published. I am
    looking for funds to assist in marketing those published and to aid in processing the others.
    Thank you for the information you have displayed.

    Lew Ankeny
    503 636-1273

  2. I have written a Christian book that teaches the value and importance of having a one on one daily prayer relationship with God. It is inspiring and faith filled and uplifting that would benefit many people who are in need of daily inspiration. I am in search of funding to self publish my book. I feel my book will be of great value to the many people who read it.

    Thank you!

  3. I’m writing a christian book about how to train oneself up in thier Christain faith. Using the United States Navy Seals,and their training techniques to keep motivited, when the chief Master Sargent rings the bell and taunts them to quit during Hell week. In like matter our mind listens to the voices around us that tells us to quit and give up. I been doing research in my Bible and online about Navy seal training, spirotual warfare, and physical warfare. I believe this book will inspire those who read it.

  4. I am on the last chapter of a parent book that is faith based, however, it doesn’t just speak to Christians. It examines multiple parenting issues, that can alert parents to the needs of children. Children are experiencing some very serious problems. I believe this book will bring healing and restoration to parents and children.

    • Hi my name is Catherline, I like the fact that you wrote a faith based book. I have finished writing my manuscript but dont have funding to publish my book. Do you know where or how I can get funding for my book?

  5. I’ve written a very cute children’s book about loosing your first tooth. I need help with funding for publishing, editing and illustration. Any advise??

  6. Halo. I want to publish aviation technology textbooks for Kenyan secondary schools in Africa. This is the first time ever the books will be published. I am seeking financial assistance to see the idea off the ground. Kindly give me some advice.

  7. I’m an actor,musician,painter&writer living in Cross River Basin,W/Africa,whose untapped culture’s still fresh.I have written seventeen books(novels,poems&paintings)representing the same culture as an exposition of my people.I need money to start publishing my works in books,films&music.How do I find it?

  8. Live in Vegas and ready to put more of my books out. I’ve tried Kindle…ots a nightmare. I’m a Author, songwriter, lyryst and also poetry. I have 6 albums, maybe 10 finished short stories, 2 Indie films but I don’t want anymore of my work stolen. Looking for grants and a good agent to move forward.

  9. I am looking for funds to get my books published. One of the books that I want to get published is a women’s book based on women that have been sexually abused, and they are carrying the pain on the inside. Although the tragedy is over, they have never forgotten the pain of hurt. And, if order for love to enter their heart, they have to let go of that pain.

  10. Two years ago I wrote a guidebook to help educate people on how to conduct a profitable estate or moving sale for a loved one, or how to make some much-needed extra cash by selling vintage items most people might consider worthless. I’ve been the CEO of an estate sale company for over eight years and have witnessed far too many treasures being sent off to the local landfill by mistake.
    Recently, I paid a producer to create a commercial ad for my book and I need to find a grant to help get the ad noticed.
    I’m also a contributing writer for DoYouRemember?.com and have a blog.

    • Hello! My name is Bruce Scott, and I am an author. I have been working with a grants research specialist. She is helping me with locating funding. She’s on Facebook. Her name is Sylvia Donigan. I hope this helps!! – Bruce

  11. I am Catherine Robinson, and I am a retired educator and my first book is on parenting. It speaks to Christians and non Christians.
    My focus is to find a grant or scholarship for first time authors or for retired seniors.
    Thank you for any resources you can share with me.

  12. Hi. I am a beginning writer who has written poems, and do not have the funds in order to pay a publisher, nor do I know how or what steps to take in order to start. I am also on survival income in order to avoid being homeless. If anyone knows how to get a book published for free with a person who cares, please let me know. By the grace of God, I will pass it on one day. Thank you.

  13. I am a Zimbabwean writer and have written 3 Christian books titled, ‘Template for Leadership: The Biblical Perspective’, ‘Poetic Word; Ministering through Entertainment’ and ‘Unlocking your Spiritual growth and fruitfulness.’ I got a publisher who is interested in publishing the book on leadership provided I show commitment to buy at least 250 copies for resale by paying for them upfront at the price of $14.99. I am appealing for funding to be able to contribute to the preaching of the gospel ‘to the ends of the earth.’

  14. I have finished my children’s book. It is called Red Lamb and The Two Side Posts. It is currently on Amazon. The barrier I am experiencing is marketing. I need to buy books for my book signing and I need start up money to do this. How can I get some help to further my other dreams which are introducing a way to help children read prior entering first grade.

    Thanks so very much

    Ms. Brown

  15. Having read all of the above statements, and feeling deeply for all the people involved…I find that the ability to get a book published, or even really noticed is next to impossible. I have sent several pieces of material for consideration and NEVER received a single answer, consideration, or kiss my A– from anyone……my belief in the system has gone to He– in a handbasket (computer screen).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.