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SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, May, 2005

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please e-mail the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

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Table of Contents

- Editor’s Note

- SPAWN’s Having a Birthday!

- Market Update

- Letter to SPAWN

- L.A. Times Festival of Books

- How to Send E-mail To Your List

- Ask the Book Doctor

- What’s In a Title?

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

Quitters Never Win

By Wendy Dager

Have you ever felt like quitting? Just chucking it all and starting a new career? It happens occasionally—one of those moments of doubt when you ask "Is this worth it?"

I write an opinion column for a newspaper with a circulation of approximately 100,000. I’ve been writing about family and community issues for many years and, sometimes, my words are taken so far out of context that I become a target for people who—well—aren’t very nice. Some even resort to name-calling in their e-mails to me and in their letters to the editor of my newspaper. I always wonder if these folks would be so vicious if they saw five-foot-one little ol’ me shopping at the supermarket with my grocery list and box of coupons, trying to figure out which cereal my kids would like. But those readers only know my writer persona—the one that makes them mad.

In a previous SPAWNews column, I said that criticism comes with the territory. However, an e-mail I received about a month ago was so hateful that it made me want to quit writing my opinion column.

Then I remembered Veronica Guerin.

Guerin was an Irish journalist—and wife and mother—who was shot and wounded by a street thug, an employee of the drug lords about whom she’d written a series of exposés. She laughed about the assassination attempt, and, unafraid, kept writing. The drug dealers killed her. Her death drew attention to her country’s drug problem and she was hailed a hero.

Veronica Guerin never quit.

We all have our reasons for sometimes wanting to give up. We may have heard an unkind word, or received a rejection letter, or just had a generically bad day. Nothing, not even death threats, affected Veronica Guerin—even after she was shot that first time. Thinking about her, I can’t imagine that one angry letter should cause me to chicken out. While most of us certainly don’t lead the life of a Veronica Guerin, her story inspires me to keep doing that which I’ve felt was my calling since I was five years old. I’m a writer and there’s nothing anyone can say that will stop me from writing.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. E-mail her at For more about Dager:

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Happy Birthday SPAWN! We celebrate our 9th birthday on May 19, 2005. Thanks to our members and SPAWNews subscribers for our continued success. If you aren’t a member yet, visit us at We are now offering a FREE book with membership or membership renewal.

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Market Update

This month's Market Update is an abbreviated version, yet it still provides information about seven new magazines; offers four good opportunities for freelance writers, authors and artists; contains an interview by C. Hope Clark about book promotion (she has some good ideas here); and provides several ideas for those hoping to write for paying parenting magazines.

  • Where you can submit your stories of living abroad
  • Who’s creating the most comprehensive web site to date for artists and how to get involved
  • Where you can share your personal tales of being adopted, living the cowboy life, and other unique topics
  • How being “joined at the hip” with your book is a promotion bonus
  • Editors who are looking for articles focusing on parenting teens and dealing with teenagers

Read all about it in the latest edition of the SPAWN Market Update at Go to the member area using your user name and NEW password (if you’re a member, the new password appears in each monthly edition of SPAWNews) and click on Market Update.

Not a member, yet? Want to see what you’re missing out on? Contact and she’ll give you a sneak peek.

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Letter to SPAWN

Hi, Patricia:

I wanted to thank you once again for featuring my partner, Chris Graham and me (and Backspace) in your December newsletter. Yours was our first interview. Since December, Backspace has grown at an astounding rate: Our Web site gets over a million hits a month, with an average of 1,000 visitors a day; membership in the discussion forums is now 322 authors in 15 countries; and we just found out we made Writer's Digest's 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. Hooray!

I also wanted to let you know that Backspace is sponsoring our first real-world event, a writers' conference to be held in New York on June 2. (See details in "Events and More" below.)

Thanks so much for everything!

Karen Dionne, Administrator, Backspace,

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SPAWNers Sell Books at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

By Patricia Fry

SPAWN had an impressive presence at the tenth annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 23 and 24. Fifteen SPAWN members participated personally in the three SPAWN booths while another fifteen members sent their books to be displayed and sold.

As one of the largest and most prestigious book festivals presented in the United States, the Times Festival is billed as America’s largest literary event with 150,000 visitors in attendance each year. Even the threat of rain didn’t discourage book lovers from coming out and many of them stopped by the SPAWN booth. All of them left with a SPAWN catalog of members’ books and services, and quite a few walked away with a new book or two.

We had books for every reader—children’s stories, books on writing, biographies, historical accounts, self-help books, how-to books and more. Interest was shown in every title. One of the most handled books this year was Stephen Dolainski’s Grammar Traps. Many people also checked out James Francis Smith’s The Celtic Invasion of Rome. We handed out scads of promo material, which means that members will probably see residual sales throughout the year—an increase in Amazon sales, and perhaps more hits to Web sites and orders coming in by mail. And, of course, we made sales.

Members who were there with their books and were actively promoting to the crowds sold the most books. One member sold over 30 copies of his children’s book. Another member had a slow day on Saturday—selling two or three books. On Sunday, however, he stepped up his personality. He began reaching out to visitors and sold eight or ten more books. It was obvious that he was having fun connecting with visitors, too.

While I don’t know the exact number of books sold in the SPAWN booths over the weekend, we estimate that it was around 100, which is great! Members also experienced benefits other than immediate sales. Two participating members reported that they met people with whom they may collaborate in order to increase sales. I connected with some folks who need help preparing their manuscripts. A member who is seeking a home for his screenplay received some extremely helpful recommendations and encouragement from a member who has sold screenplays.

By the end of the weekend, it was almost difficult to say goodbye to our new friends—members whom we’ve known only through e-mails. It was hard to leave the booths that had been filled with so much positive energy, activity and laughter all weekend—not to mention doughnuts and chocolate bars.

See a slideshow of our booths and a few of our participating SPAWN members:

Will SPAWN participate in this major book festival next year? Most definitely! In fact, we will reserve our space now for an even better location next year. Our only dilemma is whether to reserve three booths again or expand to four so that we can offer even more members this great bookselling opportunity. Feedback from members will help us to make this decision. Are you interested in participating next year?

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How to Send E-Mail to Your List

By Virginia Lawrence

Any author or book publisher with a Web site should be communicating with the target market through occasional mailings. Those mailings can present special offers, new books, great reviews, or topical news related to one of the books. As long as we are mailing information that interests those on our list, we have a good reason to send e-mails and remind them to visit our site.

Read about how to send e-mails to your list at

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Ask the Book Doctor

By Bobbie Christmas

About Marketability, Telling, and Research

To find out more about these and other topics go to

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What’s In a Title?

By Richard F.X. O’Connor

A recurring question from students is: How important is the title when submitting to an agent or editor?

The answer is very important sometimes and unimportant at others. Let me clarify. Generally, the idea for the book, comprehensively presented, is of more importance than a precise title. We writers are often too close to our work to be the best judge of the title. Moreover, better than 50 percent of the time, the editor and marketing people in a publishing house will come up with the best title, the "selling" title. They can be an immense help to the author.

Read more about titles at

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Member News

SPAWN member and award-winning humor columnist and author Bob Schwartz (I Run, Therefore I Am - Nuts!) takes you on a hilarious ride through the wacky world of family life. Sometimes you have just got to laugh, and Bob's upcoming book,Would Somebody Please Send Me to My Room!, will have parents in stitches with 49 humorous chapters, all comically illustrated by award-winning artist BK Taylor. Bob’s amusing essays deftly capture the hysterical nature of parenthood and remind us of the necessity, no matter how harried things are, to appreciate the humor in the day-to-day nature of family life. (Glenbridge Publishing Ltd, ISBN 0-944-43557-2, hardcover, June 8 2005, Humor/Parenting.) All author proceeds will be donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Congratulations to Stephen Kogon, who tells us his book, Max Mooth--Cyber Sleuth and the Case of the Zombie Virus received a favorable review! Click here to see review!. For order information:

Chuck Hillig announces that Looking for God: Seeing the Whole in One is available for purchase. This extraordinary book has a one-inch hole drilled through the exact center of each of the 136 pages. The author uses the spatial emptiness of the void to share a profound and universal Truth that can, in fact, only be discovered within. By pointing to the empty hole on each of the pages, the author is also pointing to the empty void in the center of you, too. A unique journey into the (w)holeness that lies at the core of Being itself. Look inside…and touch the Void. (Paperback: 136 pages, Black Dot Publications, ISBN: 0-9649740-0-2, Available now, $21.95.) To order:

Brent Sampson, founder and CEO of Outskirts Press, Inc. reveals over 150 publishing secrets based upon real-world experience in his new reference guide, "Publishing Gems: Insider Information for the Self-Publishing Writer." Brent says: "The publishing industry is in a transitional time right now. Writers are becoming more disillusioned with traditional publishing and are investigating new alternatives." "Publishing Gems" focuses on four facets: Crafting a book, choosing a publisher, promoting a book, and selling a book. Dan Poynter, best-selling author of "The Self-Publishing Manual," considers "Publishing Gems" "…an indispensable resource for every writer, self-published or otherwise." And Dr. Judith Briles, president of the Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association adds, "Brent Sampson’s Publishing Gems creates a few shortcuts, offers over 150 suggestions and will save you money." Available as a $4.00 e-book from or as a $9.95 paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Sean Brijbasi of PretendGeniusPress announces an upcoming compilation of poetry and fiction, "Fish Drink Like Us." For more information or to submit your work: Submission deadline, May 31, 2005.

Patricia Fry will be teaching three online classes this summer. Sign up now for the book proposal class (starts June 6), "How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles (begins July 18) and the "Self Publishing Workshop" (September 5). Classes are 6 weeks long except for the Self-Publishing Workshop, which continues for 8 weeks. Visit to learn more about each of these courses and for a crash course on "How Does an Online Class Work?"

One of Patricia's book proposal class students landed a contract with Houghton Mifflin. The editor there said, "It was the book proposal that caught our attention and prompted us to acquire this book."

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Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you.

Here’s an opportunity to get some publicity for your project. Patricia Fry is writing a book for Archimedes Press on how to write, publish and sell a book. She's seeking quotes. Please email your thoughtful responses directly to Patricia at or

  1. How much time do you spend promoting your book(s) every day/week/month?
  2. What are your main promotional activities?
  3. Do you spend more or less time now than you did when the book first came out? (What is the publication date of your book?)
  4. What keeps you going with promotion (or has made you stop promoting)?
  5. Did you write a book proposal first? If so, how did it help you? If not, do you wish you had? How would it have helped you--to better target your audience? To focus your book more realistically? If you wish to be identified in this book, please include a one-sentence bio.

You can get your book(s) into the hands of booksellers, book buyers and industry professionals at Book Expo America in New York, June 1-4, American Library Association in Chicago, June 25-28, and the Beijing Book Fair in Beijing, China, September 1-3. For more information:

Working Writer offers solid information with a good dose of humor and a spirit of writing camaraderie. Published bimonthly, WW is filled with articles on promotion, publishing, freelancing, different genres, how-to, and how-not-to, written by readers across the country. To receive a FREE copy by e-mail send a request to or go to

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Contests and Awards

Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

Read about the latest events at:

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SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Donations are tax deductible.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own Web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.
Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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SPAWNews SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President


Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors (as of December 1, 2003)

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant

Tamara Dever

Book Designer

SPAWN Founder

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant of SPAWN


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

Submission Guidelines

Members and Nonmembers: Please send your press releases, seminar information, and books for review to Wendy Dager, Editor, SPAWNews

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653. Or click on Member Application to fill out the secure online form and pay your dues by credit card.

SPAWNews, Member Directory and Web site listings, and discounts for SPAWN events are included in membership.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023



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