In 2021, two SCWMI-MI members, Kate Rietema and Kinyel Friday, were awarded a Business Development Grant. Today, they would like to share how they used this grant and how it helped them.
What a wonderful surprise to be awarded a 2021 Business Development Grant! I knew I should have a website, and this grant was just the encouragement I needed to get it going. Now, as my manuscripts are being sent off to publishing houses, I feel extra pleased knowing my agent is able to include a link to my new website.
After receiving a recommendation for a web designer, I previewed sites she had created for others to make sure we would be a good fit for each other. Then I browsed lots of author sites, made a list of elements I liked, and began working on my own content. I emailed the web designer a document with everything I hoped to include on my site along with a couple color palettes I liked. The web designer got to work, sending me samples along the way for my approval. Once she finished, she sent me an awesome personalized video tutorial of how to manage and update the website myself. Overall, the process was really smooth, and I feel like she came up with a flow that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve on my own. You are welcome to check it out at www.katerietema.com!
The SCBWI Business Grant afforded many opportunities for my business. Overall, the grant helped me in three major ways:
a. It made me take a more calculated approach to what I put money into,
b. It was helpful at book fairs, and
c. It helped me plan how to sell and who to sell to.
I spent the grant money on promotional items (business cards, QR code cards and sign, and retractable banner), marketing books, and a course on selling. Through these purchases, I learned a few valuable things.
a. People still like paper (ex. I ran out of business cards at an event). Tangible objects are well received.
b. My marketing products enticed fellow authors to get promotional materials. At each event I attended, all authors were learning from each other, from table displays, to banners, to cards, to giveaways.
c. “You are never promoting yourself, only your author self. Your author self is a marketing construct, a brand.” (Stop Worrying; Start Selling by Sarah R. Painter; page 32). For an introvert like me, this puts a unique spin on selling books. It’s almost like you must have an alter ego to sell more products.
d. The course I’m currently taking is having me take a closer look at my products, pricing, how to sell wholesale, and more.
Thank you, SCWBI, for providing me the opportunity to positively impact my business and to advance my business knowledge.
Thank you, Kate and Kinyel, for sharing your experiences!
For more information about other upcoming grant and scholarship opportunities from SCBWI-MI or to donate to make any of our existing grants possible in the future, see the SCBWI-MI website.