FundsforWriters - March 17, 2023 - On Book Signings

Published: Fri, 03/17/23


VOLUME 23, ISSUE 11 | MARCH 17, 2023


Message from Hope

Sometimes you just have to ask. 

Conferences charge admission fees. Did you know that you can ask the conference leader if there are scholarships, fellowships, or co-op opportunities to have part or all fees covered? Sometimes they are income-related and other times you have to volunteer and work for the conference in exchange. They often do not advertise these opportunities. Just ask.

Libraries rarely pay authors to come speak. Did you know that libraries have budgets of their own, and each library usually has a Friends of the Library affiliated with it, with its own budget? They might not be able to pay much, but $50 at least covers your gas. I just made such a plea to one that didn't compensate. Now they are. 

Magazines and newspapers often ask writers to write articles for free. Tout your expertise and experience and show them what you have to offer then explain that you take your writing seriously, as more than a hobby, and ask to be compensated. 

Ask for compensation. Be willing to say no. The more you write for free, the more people expect you to write for free. You have to draw a line somewhere. 

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A reminder about where I'll be these next few weeks. I'd love to see you!

March 21, 2023 - Moveable Feast, Hot Fish Club, Murrells Inlet, SC - later also signing at My Sisters Books at 13057 Ocean Hwy, Pawleys Island, SC

April 20, 2023 - Edisto Library, 1589 SC-174, Edisto Island, SC - 4PM

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The writer's tool Grammarly has decided to incorporate AI into its programs, enticing writers, including students, to learn to use AI in their writing efforts. As a result, FundsforWriters no longer endorses Grammarly as an honorable tool.  ~C. Hope Clark

C. Hope Clark
Editor, FundsforWriters
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Prizes awarded in BOTH Fiction & Creative Nonfiction

Winners receive cash awards, developmental mentoring, & an agent consultation

Fiction Judge - Tash Aw / Creative Nonfiction Judge - Patricia Hampl

Open to un-agented writers worldwide, the First Pages Prize invites you to enter your first five pages (1250 words) of a longer work of fiction or creative nonfiction

For details visit 




I'm always posting fellowships, scholarships, and opportunities for writers to attend retreats. Some of them come with the responsibility of teaching, others require you take care of the property, maybe even the livestock. Some have you meeting in groups, collaborating on each other's material. Others throw you solo without internet connection out in the woods or in a loft affair in urbania. 

People are forever asking me if I go to the writing retreats I promote. The closest I've ever come to a retreat was when I was on the teaching staff of a four-day affair that had classes in the morning, offering time to write in the evenings. 

Frankly, this editorial by author Alice Robb brought my deepest fear of a retreat to the surface, and the fact she experienced it gave me a chuckle . . . and gave me pause. Am I not a retreat person?

"I imagined that I would enter a fugue state and write thousands of words a day. I’d discovered that I was not a slow writer, as I’d always thought — just a Twitter addict."

OMG, that statement cracked me up! And sobered me. 

I mostly write in a study at home, overlooking the lake. I have a retreat. Am I afraid to write elsewhere? Not at all. I've written on planes, in restaurants, in parks, and even on the hospital floor beside an ailing parent's bed. I can write anywhere . . . for spurts of time. 

But what happens when you plant me in a place where I have the freedom of writing for, say, five days? I love being alone, but I think I have a bit of an ADHD definition of alone. I might not check Twitter, but I sure check a bunch of other things. 

I may write 500 words then walk the dogs. Another two hundred and check email. Another two hundred and go fold clothes. Go online and research a fact I wanted to be more exact about. Check on FundsforWriters submissions or research another grant for the newsletter.

Not the best habits, not by a long shot if you read all the how-to missives out there. So . . . what happens when you take those responsibilities away from me and all I have to occupy my brain is the blank screen?

I've never done that before. But don't we all dream of being faced with only our minds, our stories, and zero interruptions? What initially sounds like a writer's Nirvana turns into a fear of being unproductive. 

But we can prepare for these isolations. We can outline our story, do research ahead of time, even write long-hand for a change. We can meet with other writers at meal time and toss ideas. We can, gasp, do what language students do when they go abroad and live amongst the natives...immerse ourselves in the culture, endure the struggle, and come out on the other side stronger, the "language" more natural, more understood. 

We never know what our reality is for a retreat . . . until it becomes our reality. 

Apparently, The Writers Centre in Australia has decided to no longer pay the winners of their monthly challenge, therefore, removing them as a recommended contest by FundsforWriters.



26058146 © Pavla Zakova |




Ready to get unstuck, ignite your creativity & craft some brilliant new stories?

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The 555 Story Challenge was designed for busy writers who struggle to find time for creative work. 

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​​​​​​ - March 21, 2023 - Moveable Feast presenter - 11 AM - 2 PM - Lunch site Hot Fish Club, Murrells Inlet, SC - second signing afterwards at My Sister's Books

 - April 3, 2023 - Night Harbor Book Club, Night Harbor S/D Rec Center, Chapin, SC - 7-9 PM

 - April 20, 2023 - Edisto Library - 4 PM - 
1589 SC Highway 174, Trinity Episcopal Church, Edisto Island, SC - book club discussion with Hope

 - May 1, 2023 - Night Harbor Book Club, Night Harbor S/D Rec Center, Chapin, SC - 7-9 PM

 - June 3-10, 2023 - Writing Retreat on the Maine Coast - Special Guest - Sponsored by Joan Dempsey, author and teacher 

- July 10, 2023 - Night Harbor Book Club, Night Harbor S/D Rec Center, Chapin, SC - 7-9 PM

 - August 7, 2023 - Night Harbor Book Club, Night Harbor S/D Rec Center, Chapin, SC - 7-9 PM

 - September 4, 2023 - Night Harbor Book Club, Night Harbor S/D Rec Center, Chapin, SC - 7-9 PM

 - September, 2023 (date TBD) - Chapin Library, Chapin, SC - 4-5 PM and 6-7 PM - open to the public

Email: [email protected] to schedule  events, online or otherwise. There's starting to be life out there!     



"Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop." – Lewis Carroll


SUccess Story

Dear Hope,

I am a long-time reader of FundsforWriters and am proud to have had several articles published in your newsletter. Today, I'm writing to celebrate a recent success that came directly from an article in your January 6, 2023, newsletter.

Gary Sprague's article on "Discovering Parenting Markets" included several parenting publications I had never heard of before. I had an article I had not yet found a home for, and I thought that Your Teen sounded like it would be a great fit.

I'm pleased to announce that Your Teen accepted "How to Help Grandma Understand the Rules of Her Granddaughter's Sport" and published it on March 6, 2023. 

Thanks so much for always having a great variety of topics in your newsletter!

All the best,
Bernadette Geyer

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If you have a success story you believe was prompted by FundsforWriters, please share with us! Send to [email protected] 

Featured article


By C. Hope Clark

Not long ago, a local literacy group asked multiple authors to appear with their books and promote literacy. They met at a library. They announced it in a few places, but it had little success. The leader sent out an email to attendees and whomever else he knew in his literary community asking for advice on how to make the event better. I took the time to ponder what I considered a successful signing, and what it takes to achieve one. Not one to waste good words, I edited it for this feature piece for FundsforWriters. 

Dear Sir, 

Having done hundreds of signings, I can relate about book signings. They are usually a bust. And if you have an event with multiple authors, it's only as good as the most well-known author, and even that is no assurance of sales because the bigger the gap, the more people spend their money on that author and have none left for the others. 

Books sell based upon word of mouth and influencers, almost since the beginning of books. Books are expensive so most people think hard about the purchase. It's even harder for an author with only a first or second book, because people these days want to know what they are getting, and they learn that through online searches, book reviews, and social media. Yes, starting out can be painful. You are indeed a nobody, and have to prove you are worthy of reading. 

A book signing event has to be heavily touted which a lot of bookstores and libraries do not do, and you would be amazed at how little authors spend or take the time to promote themselves, thinking the books ought to sell themselves and the venues do the heavy lifting of promotion. In my experience (and it's just that, my lone experience), it takes the following to have a successful signing. 

1) The setting needs to be easily accessible. I've signed at bookstores off the beaten path and stores with no parking. People have to know you and want your book badly to overcome those obstacles. Or you refuse the offer. 

2) You need an appealing venue, and hopefully one willing to promote the event. If the venue has an owner, manager, librarian, etc. they need to be excited about the event or they won't help you promote it. How is this good for them as well as you? Keep in mind they expect you to be more excited than they are. When this event is over, you want them wishing you would do another.

3) There needs to be more than authors seated at tables signing books. That's boring. Have some INTERESTING presentations. If you aren't an entertaining speaker, don't try to do it . . . or else learn how to do it. And no, people do not always want to know why you wrote your book they never heard of. They need to hear how exciting or worthwhile the book is. They need to walk away wanting to check out that book. If you don't have speakers, have an emcee, or background music, or a coffee bar . . . something other than a quiet strip of tables with seated authors, you might rethink what you are doing.

4) You are not a famous author. You wrote a book. There's a big difference. That means right now it's more about the reader than you because you need them more than they need you. Ask readers about themselves. Smile. Be very appreciative of them. Customer service applies here, too. I try not to sit. Look people eye to eye and treat them as special. 

5) Advertise and promote the an author. That doesn't mean a one-time Facebook post. It means multiple posts and getting everyone you know to promote it as well. It means asking commercial venues to post signage. It means taking out an ad in the local newspaper. If you are at an event with multiple authors, each author needs to bust their butt advertising, and yes, sometimes that means coming off the hip with money. Collect money and do joint advertising. Use banners on site and at the table. 

6) Your book table needs to look luscious, not homemade. It needs to look professional. You need to look successful. A good tablecloth, professional signage, LOTS of books on the table (appearing like you have hundreds to sell because you need to keep a heavy inventory due to public demand), and take any and all methods of payment. Cash, check, credit card, Venmo . . . take them. Don't make the buying process difficult. You want it slick. Your first impression reflects on the quality of your writing. If you look cheap, the potential buyer assumes your book is not well done either. 

7) Have someone with you, your assistant. I have someone else handling payment while I only handle signings and conversations. It's a small thing, but it once again gives you a more professional look, plus, if you have multiple buyers standing around, you want to only pay attention to them, not collecting money. 

8) Be professional in your business cards, rack cards, postcards, bookmarks. I quit using bookmarks and started using rack cards once I had multiple books, so people would know in what order to read them. The less wording on any of it the better. Not much more than a website address. Be generous with giving them away. The goal is for them to leave with a good experience even if they do not buy a book, and with the tool in their hand to find you when they get home and wish they'd bought something.

9) Do not give away books, yours or others. Do not swap books. You will only attract people who love the cheap and the free, and you will appear desperate. These people who lean toward the free are not the readers who become fans to sustain your profession. You need to court a base following that buys whatever you write whenever it comes out. The only time I have given away books was to reviewers, and even then, I asked if they were willing to post a review on Amazon and Goodreads. I follow up after 4-6 weeks, asking if they are enjoying the book. You'd be amazed at how many people post the review at that time. After that, I follow up another 4 weeks later. If they don't review by then, I give it up...and remember who not to give another free book to again. But over time, with each book you release, you will need fewer review copies as momentum takes over and your fan base improves. The reviews will then happen on their own. 

10) Food or treats. I have used mints or chocolates at my table before, and while people appreciate it, treats do not make or break book sales. I quit using chocolate, not wanting accidental smears on my books. 

A successful event is only as good as you make it. This is just my experience, and you may agree or disagree with some of it, but that's okay. No two authors are alike. 

BIO - C. Hope Clark is author of 16 mysteries, several award-winning, and several nonfiction books. She is also editor and founder of, chosen by Writer's Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for 20+ years. / 




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$25 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. Submit up to 10 poems from the manuscript, not to exceed 10 pages total, with each poem starting on a new page. The winner receives publication by New York Quarterly Books, 25 author copies, $5,000 prize (not treated as an advance toward royalties), a reading in 2024 in Paterson, NJ to coincide with their book’s publication. Five finalists will receive $100 prize and invitation to participate in the publication reading in 2024 in Paterson, NJ. 

$27 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or prose. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. Manuscripts should be 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (prose). 

$6 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. The winner receives $1,000 and an invitation, with honorarium, to read in the next The Hyla Brook Reading Series at the Robert Frost Farm (or virtual, depending). The reading usually opens the Frost Farm Poetry Conference, which is devoted to metrical poetry. The winner also receives a scholarship to attend the conference. Poems must be original, unpublished and metrical (any metrical form). No translations.

€14 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. Limit 60 lines. Top 10 poems will be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2023. First prize €1,000. Second prize a week in residence at Anam Cara Writers and Artists Retreat. + €300. Third prize €300. 

$23 ENTRY FEE. Deadline April 1, 2023. We welcome all work painted with creative nonfiction’s broad brush: the lyric essay, the hermit crab essay, the braided essay, the memoir, the personal essay, literary journalism, and everything in between. Food essays, travel writing, nature essays, sports writing, and literary criticism will also be considered but should have a personal component. First prize $1,000. Length 500-10,000 words. The Williams Prize welcomes previously unpublished nonfiction on any subject so long as it is well executed. The winning entry, runner-up, and any honorable mentions will be offered publication in the North American Review's fall issue. 

$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. Submit a Creative Nonfiction piece of up to 25 pages (other submissions will be considered for publication at our normal rates). Winner offered a $1,000 prize and publication in next year's Fall or Spring issue.

$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. Submit up to four poems (maximum of ten pages total), typed, single-spaced. We accept one winner (other submissions will be considered for publication at our normal rates). Please include all your poems in one document, but make sure each poem starts on its own page. We offer the winner a $1,000 prize and publication in that year's Fall issue. 

$20 ENTRY FEE. Deadline March 31, 2023. We accept one winning story up to 25 pages (other submissions will be considered for publication at our normal rates). We offer the winner a $1,000 prize and publication in that year's Fall issue. 




Deadlines June 1, 2023 and September 1, 2023. Fast Track Literary Grants are intended to support new or existing public literary programs such as (but not limited to) writers series, festivals, conferences, workshops, or writer’s residencies at schools. Awards are $3,000 or less.

Open May 15, 2023. Closes July 14, 2023. This grant opportunity will fund projects that: spark dialogue about the impacts of mass incarceration on Illinois communities; produce public programs that champion the experiences and perspectives of those impacted by the carceral system; shift the narrative around mass incarceration; and aid in network-building and nurture partnerships between people building a truly just society. Limit $5,000 for individuals. 

Deadline April 16, 2023. The Arts & Culture Alliance (ACA) is pleased to announce American Rescue Plan Renewal Grants, a Federal funding program made possible through the generosity of the City of Knoxville and Knox County. The grants are designed to aid East Tennessee’s pandemic recovery by supporting local jobs, boosting tourism, stimulating the local economy, activating neighborhoods, and conducting education programs specifically targeting K-12 students in underserved communities to help them regain ground lost during the pandemic. Arts and culture projects that provide opportunities within communities historically underserved and/or disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and local neighborhoods are encouraged. Awards for artists living full-time in the City of Knoxville range from $500 to $15,000. 

Deadline April 1, 2023. RISCA Community Engaged Project Grants (CEPG) provide grants of up to $3,000 in support of arts and culture projects that are directly and actively engaged with Rhode Island residents. Projects must be artist instigated and organized, outside of institutional support and structures. Open to projects of all arts disciplines, from artists and creatives of all levels, these experiences should welcome non- or new- artists to engage in making, experiencing, or learning about art as an active participant. The project should directly benefit the public in Rhode Island and/or engage a specific Rhode Island community. You can apply for any amount between $500 and $3,000 – we strongly encourage you to apply for the LEAST amount of funding you need to do this project. Money is limited, and we want to be able to support as many artists as possible.



The New Republic welcomes freelance pitches and unsolicited submissions via email. If you are pitching an idea for an essay, reportage, or other nonfiction, briefly explain your angle, why it’s timely, and why you’re equipped to write it; generously hyperlink any references and citations in your pitch, so the editor can easily vet it. If you are sending a completed submission, briefly summarize it in your email and either embed or attach your full article. In all cases, include a brief biography and links to examples of your work. The New Republic does not publish fiction. They do favor stories that focus on the US, but not exclusively! Pieces about other places in the world that have a connection or tie in to US politics helps. Pays 50 cents to a dollar a word. 

Pitch to write on the form link above. Pitch Katie Hammel, Content Marketing Director. Seeks once-in-a-lifetime/one-of-a-kind experiences (e.g. beach where you can see more wild bears than anywhere else, hotel inside a 5,000 year old cave, kayaking on the clearest lake in the world). Length 500-600 words, and pays $250+.

Comstock’s is the premier monthly business publication in California’s Capital Region. Serving Sacramento and the nine surrounding counties for more than 30 years, Comstock’s is the voice for business and quality of life in our region. Comstock’s considers pitches for both print and web-exclusive stories, written by professional journalists or independent writers. If you’re new to us, the best place to start is with a web story. heck out the navigation bar on our homepage for a list of the main topics we cover (e.g., transportation, real estate, health care, education, development, law and government, cannabis, food and agriculture). Seasoned writers are welcome to pitch stories for print; many of our departments are written by regular columnists, however, we are open to Taste and feature story pitches. Print features run 1,600-2,200 words. Taste stories run 1,300 words. Web stories are 600-1,500 words. Our rates vary depending on the assignment, the writer’s experience and our relationship with the writer. Our kill fee is 25 percent. 

Whether you’re off to college, getting certified in a new skill, or trying to land that career you always wanted, we’re your go-to source for all things education and careers. As a freelance writer for BestColleges, you will craft original content covering a variety of higher education topics, including rankings and degree content, career guides, college and career planning resources, student/campus life blog posts, and bootcamps and non-degree educational pathways. You will also work with our editors and copy editors to ensure that all content is concise, grammatically correct, and easy to understand. Our freelance writers are capable of writing for diverse audiences, with a keen understanding of how information and ideas are received by students from all backgrounds. Compensation is $90 for every 500 words.

If you're interested in joining our reviewer network, reach out to us at [email protected]. Reviewers typically have a graduate or terminal degree in their field and several years of relevant professional experience. Responsibilities include suggesting corrections for inaccurate or misleading information, providing clarity on a complex topic, or identifying important omissions.

Deadline April 10, 2023. PUBLIC is an interdisciplinary journal with a core focus on visual art. It strives to be an accessible, smart and beautiful journal about art with the timeliness and visual interest of a magazine, but the longevity of a book. PUBLIC is an interdisciplinary journal with a core focus on visual art. It strives to be an accessible, smart and beautiful journal about art with the timeliness and visual interest of a magazine, but the longevity of a book. Currently looking for emerging and mid-career writers interested in reviewing shows for forthcoming issues. Pays $225 for 1,000-1,300 word texts. Please send pitches to Gabby Moser, Exhibition Review Editor at 

Deadline March 31, 2023. FIYAH is a quarterly speculative fiction magazine that features stories by and about Black people of the African Diaspora. For this call, bring us your colorful stories centered on the mystique and pulsating energy of the bacchanals, the festivals, the soca fetes, and jamborees from all across the globe, time, space, and even the multiverse. We want intoxicating merriment, daring mischief-making, and chaotic melodrama fueled by the riotous revelry of the Carnival. We are only accepting submission from authors from the African diaspora and the African continent. FIYAH is committed to publishing only those works which are entirely created by and original to the human author attached to each submission. If submitted under false pretenses, the piece in violation of our no-AI policy will be rejected and the author will be banned from future submissions to FIYAH. We accept submissions of short fiction 2,000 – 7,000 words and novelettes up to 15,000 words. Poetry submissions should be no more than 1,000 words. Short stories (2,000 – 7,000 words): 0.08/word. Novelettes (<15,000 words): 0.08/word. Poetry: $50 USD. 



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For a limited time, Vinspire Publishing is open to unagented submissions in the following genres: historical romance, young adult (contemporary, paranormal, and fantasy), and African-American contemporary romance. We are always open to unagented submissions for romances with mature heroes and heroines, preferably over the age of 45. Make sure to read our family-friendly statement ( before submitting. 

We are a traditional independent press located in Raleigh, North Carolina, and proudly accessible to all writers of finely crafted contemporary fiction, literary fiction, and historical fiction. Regal House has two imprints: Fitzroy Books that publishes Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, and Pact Press, our social impact imprint, that publishes works that promote diversity, inclusion, and acceptance.

We are currently accepting only the following genres: Women’s Fiction, Romance, Chick-Lit, Mystery (General, Police, Cozy), and Thriller-Suspense. We do not accept erotica, non-fiction, short story collections, or poetry. We do not accept previously published works, including self-published works. We do not accept mid-series books, only first books in a series. No exceptions. Minimum length is 50,000 words.

We are a regional publisher. We publish books about the Northeast. Submissions should reflect a New England sensibility and primarily be set in and tell stories about this region, as well as characterize the culture and people.

Heyday is an independent, nonprofit publisher with a focus on California and the American West. We publish nonfiction books that explore history, celebrate Native cultural renewal, fight injustice, and honor nature.

Groundwood Books publishes award-winning literary picture books, fiction, poetry, nonfiction and graphic novels from Canada and around the world. 






Please forward the newsletter in its entirety. To reprint any editorials, contact [email protected] for permission. Please do not assume that acknowledgements listed in your publication is considered a valid right to publish.

C. Hope Clark
E-mail: [email protected]
140-A Amicks Ferry Road #4
Chapin, SC 29036

Copyright 2000-2023, C. Hope Clark
ISSN: 1533-1326

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