Funding Canadian SF – Insights from author Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I have been thinking a lot recently about crowd-funding projects and about the funding that goes to Canadian SF in general, and after a great conversation with my friend Silvia Moreno-Garcia, she agreed to write something for Speculating Canada about funding writing projects, and share some of her personal insights. 

I am extremely excited about Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s new book Young Blood and hope that people can spare some resources to support her project and help to crowd fund it into existence and, in the process, help to support our creative community and the production of quality Speculative Fiction.

Here are a few words about funding, the crowd-funding process, albino squid, Canada Arts Grants, vampires, moose, and MRIs by Ms. Moreno-Garcia:

Author photo of Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Author photo of Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia:

It started with the MRI. That’s how this whole fund-your-own-novel project began. [–2/x/166963]

Okay, no, that’s not true. It started before that, but the MRI was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.


A few months ago I decided to apply for a Canada Arts Grant for $3,000. In case you are wondering what that is:

“The Creative Writing Grants component gives Canadian authors (emerging, mid-career and established) time to write new literary works, including novels, short stories, poetry, children’s and young adults’ literature, graphic novels, exploratory writing and literary non-fiction.”

I had been working on a novel called Young Blood, about Mexican vampires and drug-dealers and a teenage garbage collector. I just couldn’t find the time to finish it because time is money. So I thought, this is the perfect solution. They give me money, it buys me time, I finish the book.

I have published a bunch of things in a bunch of magazines and anthologies. In fact, the short story that inspired the novel appeared in Imaginarium 2012: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing. I also have my first short story collection, This Strange Way of Dying, out this summer from Canadian lit press Exile Editions.

I thought my extensive bibliography and this kind of stuff might be sufficient to sway the grant people, but alas, they said no. Later on, a friend told me I should have added some moose to the grant application. But moose in Mexico City? How the hell was I going to insert that into el DF? I think I could have forced the protagonist to eat a KD dinner, but I can’t remember if I ever had that in Mexico, though I admit that shit is addictive.

Anyway, having lost my grant due to a lack of moose, I started thinking of wild funding ideas. Scratch and win. Bank loan. Fundraising raised its head. After all, I organized a successful campaign for Sword and Mythos. We got $5,000 for that one. But it’s different to command the attention of a bunch of Cthulhuheads, a bubbling sub-genre, than to convince people to give $5,000 to me and a bunch of vampires.

I let go of the idea and went back to picking the lint from my belly button.

And then I got the call that they needed to schedule an MRI.

Now, I don’t want you to think I’m at death’s door. I just have a weird bump on the back of my neck. I never knew what the Black Eyed Peas song about the lady hump meant, but now I do. It probably means someone like me.

Anyway, we’ve been trying to figure out what the hump/lump is for a little while and then I got a call that I should get an MRI and the word oncologist was dropped.

That’s when I began to freak out and picture myself like that lady in Prometheus when she slices her belly and takes out an albino squid. Not that albino squid aren’t cool, but I began to consider the possibility one might be burrowing inside my brain. Not cool.

When the thoughts of squid-bursting begin to permeate one’s head, something funny happens. You realize you are mortal and suddenly you begin to consider all the shit you said you would do tomorrow and never get to. Like clean the closet. Visit Prague. Or finish the damn novel.

So I decided to finish and publish the novel. With the help of Indiegogo, just like I had done for Sword and Mythos (we made the front page of Indiegogo with that one). This means a lot of blogging and Tweeting. I realize I’m not someone famous. I’m afraid of making a fool of myself and raising a grand total of squat. Of course, there’s that other possibility that I might actually get the money.

I can’t say fundraising through Indiegogo or Kickstarter will work for everyone. But it offers a way to raise money that was not available to most writers until now. You don’t have to do the Canada grant dance or pray for an advance. You can try to do it yourself.

If you’re interested in learning more about Young Blood head here:  [–2/x/166963]

I want to thank Silvia Moreno-Garcia for writing this insight into funding and Canadian SF and I also want to direct your attention to her crowd fund project. If you get a chance, check out Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s site so you can read her first chapter and see how absolutely fantastic her novel is shaping up to be!

Derek Newman-Stille

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