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SPAWNews, February, 2000

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Hone Your Networking Skills

by Patty Fry

Networking is a technique of connecting with other people for the purpose of exchanging ideas and information. It's a fundamental tool in business and can be enormously beneficial to a writer who is looking for work or promoting his or her book. Successful networking takes effort and a willingness to reach out. Following are tips to help you hone your networking skills.

  • Seek out the obvious sources first. When you need information or input, start by contacting those who should have that information.
  • Keep detailed database listings. When you add a name to your list or learn something new about someone already listed, make a note that this person is a photography buff or a volunteer with a feral cat rescue organization.
  • Network everywhere you go. Explore potential avenues of information during social and business events, while chatting with a clerk at the grocery store, during parents night at your children's school or at the water cooler at work, for example.
  • Let it flow naturally. Networking doesn't have to be forced conversation. Simply watch for the opportunity to talk about your project and take it.
  • Ask and you will receive. Be specific. Instead of asking a fellow author, "What does marketing a book involve?" say, "What has been your most successful marketing strategy?"
  • Be heads up. A good networker will be alert to information they can use even when they're not in network mode.
  • Be patient. Networking can take time. You might talk to a dozen people without locating the information you seek only to have one of them come back weeks later with a lead.
  • Listen, listen, listen. Successful networkers are good listeners.
  • Request other resources. Ask for additional references and referrals.
  • Avoid feeling obligated. Not every idea, opinion or bit of information given is useful. Don't feel obligated to use it just because you asked for it.

Networking Etiquette

  • Respect the time and space of others. When you approach someone to discuss something specific, be considerate of his time. If you need more time, offer to see him professionally.
  • Do the legwork. Never ask someone else to make follow-up calls or do additional research for you. Do this work yourself.
  • Be gracious. You may disagree with the information given or have already tried the suggested procedure. Don't make this an issue. Thank the person for his help and move on.
  • Offer feedback. People like knowing when they've been helpful. Call or send a note of thanks and describe how the information given was used.

Tips for the Networkee

  • Sow and you shall reap. If you're reluctant to give, you probably won't get much back. Avoid judging every connection by its money-making potential. Be available without expectation of return. You will be rewarded.
  • Share without invitation. Whenever you become aware of data or a contact you feel someone can use, offer it.
  • Give with no strings attached. Don’t try to dictate how the information or advice should be used.
  • Know when to say no. If someone is pressuring you for more information than you are comfortable giving or attempting to take more time than you have available, suggest they make an appointment for a consultation and quote your fees.
  • Avoid giving until it hurts. After responding to a question or sharing information, let the networker do his/her own homework.

Networking can be fun. It's an exciting way to discover new ideas. And it's a viable method of finding the resources and information you need in order to achieve your personal and professional goals.

Find a Publisher,

Co-Publish or Self-Publish:

Which One to Choose?

by Mary Embree

Every case is different and we all have to answer that question for ourselves but here are a few pros and cons to think about.

Being published by an established book publisher

A. Advantages:

  1. You may get an advance
  2. The publisher pays for printing, editing, promotion, distribution, etc.
  3. It may be considered more professional than a self-published book

B. Disadvantages:

  1. You lose control of the project
  2. You will earn less per book sold
  3. It will take between 18 months to 2 years to get the book out


A. Advantages:

  1. The publisher may promote and distribute the book
  2. Author and publisher share production costs
  3. You will get professional advice

B. Disadvantages:

  1. You’ll give up some control
  2. You must share profits with the publisher
  3. There could be disagreements that are difficult to work out

Self-Publishing a Book the Traditional Way

A. Advantages:

  1. You will have total control
  2. All profits belong to you alone
  3. Once finished, you can get the book printed within one to two months
  4. You could realize a greater profit than any other way

B. Disadvantages:

  1. It can cost $3,000 and $10,000 or more to print 500 to 1,000 books
  2. Editing. Unless you can do it yourself, you must find a qualified editor
  3. Cover art, interior design, and typesetting must be done or paid for by you
  4. You must do all the promotion, distribution and sales

IV. Self-Publishing Using Print-on-Demand

A. Advantages:

  1. Cost. Small numbers of the book can be printed costing $3 to $10 per book
  2. The book can be printed within a few days
  3. Also the same advantages as above

B. Disadvantages:

  1. Quality. Finding companies that do quality work on small print runs
  2. The cost per unit is higher when ordering small quantities
  3. The same disadvantages as above

Publishing as E-mail on the Internet

A. Advantages:

  1. There are no printing costs
  2. It can reach a wide market

B. Disadvantages:

  1. Getting paid by the reader
  2. Finding out how to reach a wide market

Publishing as an E-Book

For a detailed discussion of E-books, see the next article by Virginia Lawrence.

The E-Book

An Important New Direction in Publishing?

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

As artists, writers, and publishers using the Internet, we have all heard about e-books, yet there seems to be little e-book awareness in the popular press. Why? There are several reasons: no major player has caught the fancy of general-interest editorial staff, the methods used to create and deliver e-books are still in flux, and the questions of appropriate royalties and pricing remain open.

E-Book Format

E-books available today range from simple text files to html files to Adobe pdf files to full-fledged multimedia extravaganzas. Some e-books are meant only for viewing on a full-size computer monitor, while others are built for printing, and others are formated especially for the Rocket Book or the Palm Pilot.

E-Book Delivery

Consider e-book delivery systems: E-books can be sold on CDs or even floppies, so those delivery systems are reasonably straightforward for people who are somewhat familiar with a computer. E-books can also be sold in downloadable files. As long as a downloadable purchase process is streamlined and carefully explained, downloadable delivery can be a boon to both the purchaser and the publisher.

E-Book Royalties and Prices

At last report, the major print publishers were offering the usual print royalties or even less in royalty to authors who agreed to be published in e-book format. At the same time, those publishers were charging hard-cover prices for e-books. This seems unnecessarily greedy, doesn't it?

E-Book Costs Versus Hardcover Costs

An e-book delivered online as a file will require editing and formatting, but it will not require an expensive print run or storage of the resulting books. An e-book delivered online doesn't even have any shipping costs after the delivery system has been set up.

Of course, an e-book on a CD does involve duplication costs, but those are lower than hard-cover printing, and CD storage takes no more than one quarter the space required for book storage. Shipping costs for feather-light CDs are lower than for hardcover books.

The price of an e-book should reflect the publisher's lower costs. As the word

spreads in the popular media that e-books are available at reasonable prices, and e-books are available for immediate gratification by download, the real e-book groundswell will begin.

SPAWN will be part of that e-book groundswell as we offer our members a chance

to publish their books in e-book format. Watch this space for details very soon.

· Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D., SPAWN's Webmaster, is an Information Architect who publishes both in print and online. Contact her at or visit her Web site at

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Senior Editor


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Dallas Glenn

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Patricia Fry

President, West Ventura County Chapter



Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer and Membership Chair


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Mary Embree

Author, Publishing Consultant

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.




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