Saturday, 4 April 2015

Books Talk Back delves into the world of funding for writers

Isabelle King is Words And Women’s Marketing Assistant. She also runs her own literary events’ organisation called Books Talk Back. Recently Isabelle held her fourth BTB event which explored funding for writers with guest author Jamie Rhodes. Here is her account of the event:

'On March 23rd 2015 at The Rose and Crown Pub, South Ealing, in a cosy, intimate corner suitably named ‘The Library Space’ where shelves of books and, indeed, garden gnomes reside, my latest addition of Books Talk Back took place.
The fourth in my series, I was keen to maintain the same sense of individuality I have strived to achieve throughout by giving the events a central focus, specific to the career of the guest author involved. Norwich’s event with YA writer Hayley Long, for example, was all about writing for the teen fiction market, whereas Naomi Wood’s event at The British Library, following the success of ‘Mrs Hemingway’, angled more towards literary fiction for adults.
Jamie Rhodes’ first book 'Dead Men's Teeth' was funded by Arts Council, backed by British Library, Spread The Word and The Writers Guild. The book is a richly compelling, gothic short story collection inspired by the objects in the British Library archives. Jamie is a fantastic public speaker and frequently gives talks on how aspiring authors can follow the right steps and adapt their work relevantly to secure funding from arts organisations and institutions with a view to gaining that most sought after and dreamy of rarities in a writer’s life; time to write. Sigh. And so, Jamie’s presence posed a brilliant opportunity for me to host an event which focused on funding for fiction writers.
Oh, one slight problem-funding is a topic which makes me want to curl up into a ball beneath my desk and start chewing on the corners of my manuscript. All those forms, the references, the endless paperwork and ticking all the right boxes, oh the boxes! How could I comfortably discuss this for two hours?
But Jamie’s warm, engaging manner which struck a perfect balance of focus and fun, made the audience and participants, myself included, instantly relaxed and we felt encouraged to ask questions from the word go. His anecdotally detailed insight covered all aspects of finding funding, from the practicalities of filling in Arts Council forms to the art of strategic tea drinking, all delivered with wonderful warmth and humour. He also has an endearing resemblance to Jon Snow from ‘Game of Thrones’ which, in its own way, proved a relevant and helpful attribute. 
 Here’s a handful of Jamie’s funding tips which I think will be useful for the purpose of this piece-
-If applying for Grants for the Arts from Arts Council England, it’s a good idea to apply for the Grants of 15,000 or under as opposed to over, as you have a better shot of receiving funding from this category.
-Have a clear and detailed plan of your project’s objectives and ensure you can prove the deliverability of achievements and outcomes of the project.
-Jamie approached MardiBooks with a view to publication on securing the funding. MardiBooks are a high quality e-book publisher and provide an exciting new publishing platform for new writers. In choosing MardiBooks, Jamie wanted to show that he was engaging with the ever developing digital era. Think about ways that you can adapt your application to engage with the moving times!
-Become a member of the Writer’s Guild. Jamie received invaluable help from his mentor at the Writer’s Guild. If you do not meet the membership criteria, you can become a candidate member.  Details are on the website
-When having an interview with someone important, if offered, always accept a cup of tea. It shows that you’re willing to engage. What’s more, don’t be afraid to be specific about your tea. If you have two sugars, take two sugars! It shows that you have good decision making skills and are not a push over!
Don’t miss Jamie’s future events for more advice. Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieERhodes and check out ‘Dead Men’s Teeth’ on the MardiBooks website
It was great to receive positive feedback about the event on social media and to hear that that the audience and participants found the evening fun and informative. Even the garden gnomes will testify that they had a fine time. I look forward to reading their future literary works. 
If you would like to attend a future Books Talk Back, get in touch
Also, I too engaged with the digital era and got a website'

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