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SPAWNews, June, 2000

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Chicago Manual of Style, The University of Chicago Press, 1993

Normally I don’t review books that have been around for a long time but The Chicago Manual of Style is an exception. It is a reference book that I believe all authors should have close at hand whenever they write.

The first edition came out in 1906 after a solitary proofreader’s notes on a few basic style rules grew into a multipage collection of guidelines. It was then called A Manual of Style. It didn’t become The Chicago Manual of Style until the 13th Edition in 1982.

It is, to quote from their book jacket, the “one essential reference for all who work with words¾writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, copywriters, designers, and publishers.” At $40, it is not inexpensive - but it is invaluable. At least it doesn’t come out every year like almanacs and Writer’s Market. So you only have to replace it every decade or so.

At 921 pages, the 1993 Manual is 200 pages longer than its predecessor. It includes new developments in publishing and technologies for composition brought about by the proliferation of personal computers and self publishers. It contains information on preparing a manuscript, editing, designing, typesetting, indexing, and printing. It also discusses binding, book jackets and covers, and how to get and display ISBNs and bar codes.

Styles come and go but the Manual’s revisions have been guided by the basic principles of consistency, clarity, literacy, good sense, and good usage.

The Manual isn’t meant to take the place of common sense and individual creativity, but to establish rules. And I’ve always believed you need to know the rules before you decide to break them.


Book Review

The Quotable Writer

Words of Wisdom from Mark Twain, Aristotle, Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, Erica Jong, and More

by William A. Gordon McGraw-Hill, 2000; $14.95

This collection of quotations by writers, states William A. Gordon in his Introduction, was compiled to help writers by “providing all kinds of practical advice about the craft of writing and the business of publishing.” It contains about 1,000 quotes organized in dozens of sections such as “Creativity,” “Humor,” “Rejection,” “Editors,” “Grammar,” and “Perseverance.”

The book contains more modern quotations than it does older classic ones in spite of what the subtitle might indicate. But that’s okay. There are a lot you won’t have seen before and probably won’t find anywhere else. Some examples:

“A look at the history of English-language literature reveals that alternative publishing, far from being unusual, is the usual path to prominence of writers whose work does not fit the contemporary commercial world.”

~Sally Dennison, Alternative Literary Publishing, 1984

“Writing is a two-person job. Even if you are a skilled editor of your own work, a second skilled editor will make suggestions you will inevitably miss, simply because, as the author, you lose a certain amount of objectivity.”

~Susan Page, The Shortest Distance Between You and a Published Book, 1997

Like a lot of writers, I collect books of quotations. Can’t get enough. And this is definitely one that I will refer to often.


A Rare Exhibit of Rare Chinese Books

"Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections From the National Library of China" is something you would never see as a visitor to China and it is at the Los Angeles Public Library downtown - but only until June 25. The display traces the evolution of the written word in China from inscriptions on ancient bones to calligraphy on silk. It includes rare books and manuscripts, maps and atlases, Buddhist sutras, and pictorial rubbings. The ancient Chinese used shells of turtles, bronze, stone, bamboo, brick, tiles, and silk for engraving and writing. In the Eastern Han period (AD 25-220), teachings of Confucius engraved on stone promoted Confucianism across the country.

The display, in the Getty Gallery on the second floor of the Library, can be viewed during library hours: Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. It is at 630 West 5th Street.

Writers’ Information Registry

A husband and wife team e-mailed SPAWN that they have just started a free Writers’ Information Registry on the Web to help writers with their research. We have not checked this out and can’t vouch for its reliability but you may want to see whether this is helpful to you and, if so, report your findings to SPAWNews. The Registry is at


Marketing Opportunities

If you’d like to have your books displayed at the American Library Association’s annual show July 8-11, contact Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) before June 15. If you are a member of PMA, you may display each of your titles in the PMA booth and be included in their catalog for $70 per title. You will need to send two copies of each title. For more information, call PMA at 310/372-2732 or e-mail them at

If you are not a member of PMA, your membership in SPAWN will get you a discount of $26 to join PMA. Instead of their usual $95 rate, you may join for only $69.

Autographed by Author

Here’s another piece of information we got in our e-mail. If you sell your books, autographed, from your Web site, their news release states that AutographedByAuthor wants to send buyers to you. They are offering free registration for the first 300 titles and, they say, “These authors won’t be asked for a dime until AutographedByAuthor earns them a dollar. . . . At the end of every month, authors contribute 10% of the sales generated.” Go to for more details. Again, this hasn’t been checked out by SPAWN so let us know what you think.

Mid-List First Series Award for Creative Nonfiction

This is open to every writer who has never published a book of creative nonfiction. Submit a collection of essays or a single book-length work; minimum 50,000 words. There is a $15 entry fee. Postmark deadline is July 1. Awards include publication and an advance against royalties. For guidelines and entry form send SASE to Mid-List Press, 4324 12th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55407-3218 or go to their Web site at

Did you know . . .

studying the arts can make people smarter in many ways? Artistic training can play a role in scientific success. Painting a picture, playing an instrument, and writing poetry all require creative thinking and great attention to detail. A recent study found that most Nobel Prize winners had arts-related hobbies. Albert Einstein played violin and chemist Roald Hoffmann writes highly praised poetry.

Frank Wilson, author of The Hand: How It Shapes the Brain, Language and Culture, claims that the hand teaches the brain new tricks. Touching, exploring, and manipulating can rewire the brain’s neural circuitry. Einstein believed that imagination is more important to a scientist than knowledge. And nothing stimulates the imagination more than the arts.

Santa Barbara

Writing Event

Six of the authors featured in Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul are from Santa Barbara and they will all be together at Borders Books on Wednesday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. to autograph their stories.

What Borders is billing as a “Once in a Lifetime Event” features Sue Grafton, Barnaby Conrad, Frances Halpern, Jeff Arch, Dan Poynter, and Jack Canfield. (Two of them are also SPAWN members.) There will be authors from other parts as well.

That gives you the opportunity to get many authors’ autographs in one book. Your copy of a multi-autographed Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul is sure to become a collector’s item.

Borders Books is at 900 State Street. For information, contact Nancy Johnson, 805/899-4928, e-mail:

Member News

Jean Wade will be doing the cookbook demonstration at the San Luis Obispo Book Fair on June 3 at 12 noon. At her booth she will be selling and signing her book, How Sweet It Is. . .Without the Sugar. The Fair hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

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


Jean Wade

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Patricia Fry

Vice President


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

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


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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