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SPAWNews, June, 2002

SPAWNews Archives available.


- Editor's Notes: Ethics and Legal Concerns - Both Matter

- SPAWN and Your Privacy

- Attention Writers: New "Chicken Soup" book.

   (They're looking for stories)

- Market Update/Member Area

- Getting to Know the Agents

- Article: A Writer's Garden

- Literary Quiz: Word Meanings

- How to E-Mail to Your List of Interested People

- Member news

- Book Reviews: "The Writer's Handbook 2002" and

   "Alleviating Prepress Anxiety"

- Contests & Awards

- Jobs for Writers/Editors

- Events for Writers

- Question & Answer Column

- Answers to the Literary Quiz

* * * * *


Ethics and Legal Concerns - Both Matter

"Ignorance of the law excuses no man." -John Selden [1584-1654]

Plagiarism, copyright infringement, and defamation of character, which includes libel and slander, have no place in a book - or anywhere else for that matter. That isn't a moral judgment; it's just plain common sense. We are judged by what we say and what we do. And it may not matter whether we intentionally and knowingly violated a person's rights, stole his words, or damaged her reputation. We can lose our credibility, at the least. And at the worst, we can be sued.

The written word has great power. Once we speak we can't suck the words back into our mouths. Once we have put something in writing and sent it out into the world, we can't hit the delete button and get rid of it. Since there's no changing the past, we must make our corrections in the present, or better yet, learn how to avoid making the mistakes in the first place.

An ethic is a principle of right or good behavior; a system of moral principles or values. Being ethical means doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do and not just because you're afraid of getting caught if you don't. Writers seem to have a greater challenge than most because it is sometimes difficult to determine the line between research and plagiarism; between opinion and fact; and, thus, between right and wrong. Very often writers are unaware that they have violated a person's rights or caused consternation or harm. The laws are so complex that it isn't always easy to know when we have broken them. But we can become alert to some of the broad rules, including what and where the pitfalls might lie.

When you injure a person by saying untrue things about him, you have "defamed" him. Libel is defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words and gestures; slander is defamation by oral utterance other than by writing, pictures, etc., according to Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary. The difference between the two terms is somewhat muddy but historically it depends on how wide an audience the defamer reached.

Some of the elements that are considered in defamation lawsuits are as follows:

  • Accuracy. If it is a false statement and it does harm to a person, company, product, it is probably libelous. If it is true, it's not generally considered defamatory.
  • Opinion. If it is stated as an opinion, not a fact, it is protected under the First Amendment.
  • Publication. If the false, injurious statement was shared with a third party, it is considered "published" and therefore libelous.
  • Injury. If the lie caused injury to a person's reputation, personal or professional standing, or caused anguish, it is likely libelous.

We also need to know how much we can quote without getting permission, how many words we can use of someone else's writing before it becomes plagiarism, and a whole minefield of other challenges when we write. When in doubt, we must either take the questionable parts out or find out, in each case, what we can do legally. I believe most writers are ethical, but it's more than a matter of ethics. What we write has the potential not only to hurt others but to harm ourselves. Our words can come back to haunt us.


* * * * *


SPAWN does not share the list of member addresses with anyone. However, many of our members have their e-mail addresses on their member pages. As you know, companies can find those addresses and use them to send you information.

On May 30 a printer, Graphic Image Group, did exactly that. They mailed an offer with Attn: SPAWN members as the Subject. Given that this mailing was carried out without permission from SPAWN, the Secretary of the SPAWN Board contacted that company and demanded that the sender desist in using the name of SPAWN. The Secretary also asked the company to stop mailing spam to SPAWN members.

Virginia Lawrence, the SPAWN Webmaster, suggests that we should all ignore spam or report spammers to their access providers. Because we want to discourage spamming, we should never make a purchase from a spammer. We know that when spammers stop making money, they will stop spamming.

Be assured that SPAWN will never cooperate in a separate mailing with a product offer. SPAWN is happy to post information on special rates for SPAWN members within the Member area of the Web site.

If any member decides to have the e-mail address removed from the member page, contact with a note and your full name.

* * * * *


Seeking Story Submissions for the newest "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book

The coauthors of "Chicken Soup for the Single Parent's Soul" are seeking awesome single parent stories in the style of a typical "Chicken Soup" story. For story guidelines and the submission process, go to their website at: Writers whose stories are chosen for the book will receive $300 plus a mini-bio in the back of the book. But more importantly, their stories will be read by millions...what a wonderful way to share with other single parents around the world and receive tremendous exposure at the same time.

* * * * *


The monthly Market Update is a popular feature of the SPAWN site. All eight Market Updates are currently available in the SPAWN Member's Only area. Here's what you'll find in this issue:

* Changes and trends involving half-dozen publications.

* A great RESEARCH site.

* A site featuring CONTESTS for writers, photographers and artists.

* Two more sites where authors can showcase their work.

* A very cool GRAMMAR site

* Something more for FICTION ADDICTS.

* A free online BOOK REVIEW SERVICE (see peek preview below)

* Interviews with TWO successful writers (see excerpt)

* An interview with literary agent, Elizabeth Pomada.

Here's an excerpt from an interview with fulltime freelance writer, Kelly James-Enger. Read the rest of the story in Patricia Fry's Market Update in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site (

"Don't think that you can't make a good living as a freelancer. If you're willing to work hard, you can make as much as you want to. I really believe that. I've gone from making $27,000 my first year to more than $70,000 my fifth year. I think anyone who focuses their energies and targets well-paying markets can do the same. Developing several specialties and creating relationships with editors has made a huge difference. I don't work any more than I did my first year (possibly less) but I work far more efficiently now." -Kelly James-Enger

What author doesn't live to have his/her book reviewed? The June issue of the Market Update reports on a new online book review club. And it's FREE.

* * * * *


Elizabeth Pomada has graciously agreed to an interview for the Market Update. Here are some excerpts. Read the entire interview in the Member's Only area.

"Michael (Larsen) and I just returned from the busiest BEA ever. There were no really discernible trends in the business. Rather, the show simply proved what we had been seeing in publishing offices during our two weeks of meeting with 94 editors: that people are leaning more toward literary books than commercial ones. This is true in nonfiction and fiction. Science books are more popular-still in the "Longitude" small but good, literary science world. There's less interest in adventure narrative nonfiction. But really good stories always work. Larger publishers are more focused on the best sellers and smaller publishers are doing the more adventurous publishing."

She also offers this insight for authors:

"What keeps us in the business is optimism. Every packet we open, every query we start to read, could be our next best seller. The bars are higher than they've ever been before, but so are the rewards. Michael still believes that books can change the world. We're still having fun and doing what we love. Please read our website,"

* * * * *


A Writer's Garden

by Patricia L. Fry

* * * * *


Word Meanings

by Mary Embree

Here are some common terms used in writing. Do you know the meaning of all of them? Match the following words with their definitions.














(not in the same order as the words above)

  • an outline or plan of action of a narrative or drama
  • a figure of speech in which two unlikely objects are compared by identification of one to the other
  • a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based
  • the major character opposing a protagonist
  • the point of high emotional intensity at which a story or play reaches its peak
  • a comparison of two unlike things that usually employ like or as
  • a disappointing or weak conclusion; a ludicrous descent from the significant to the inconsequential
  • narration of events or series of events
  • the main character of a play, novel, or story, usually the hero
  • sentimentality; triteness or triviality in style
  • the central idea of a work; subject; topic
  • an element that evokes feelings of pity, tenderness, and sympathy
NOTE: The answers are at the end of this newsletter.

* * * * *

How to E-Mail

to Your List of Interested People

By Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

* * * * *


"The Writer's Handbook 2002"

Edited by Elfrieda Abbe, Published by The Writer Books

1,056 pages; $29.95.

This year's edition contains a Preface by Frank McCourt, 60 essays by well-known authors, and 3,300 market listings. There are also listings of agents, contests, colonies, conferences, and more.

The articles are divided into sections so the subject you are interested in is easy to find. The sections are: "Professional Development," "The Craft of Writing," "A Conversation with an American Master" (John Updike), and "More Ideas & Inspiration from Great Writers." Taking up 280 pages, the size of a book on its own, the articles are interesting, educational, and authoritative. If you read all of these articles, you might not need to attend a writers' conference. Just about everything you need to know is right here.

Those readers whose eyesight is not quite 20/20 will find this book easier to read than its competition, "Writer's Market." The print is larger and the paper appears to be thicker, whiter, and more opaque. Because I have to do a lot of reading in my work and my eyes aren't as good as they used to be, I found that important.

I get both "The Writer's Handbook" and "Writer's Market" each year. If you can only afford one, I recommend the "Handbook." It is more user-friendly.


* * *

"Alleviating Prepress Anxiety:

How to Manage Your Print Projects for Savings, Schedule & Quality"

by Ann Goodheart; published by Leaping Antelope Productions; 149 pages; $14.95

The book explains the basics of coordinating your printing projects including type and design, selecting paper and color, writing printing specifications, choosing the printer, etc. This is more for the types of businesses that need to create ads, brochures, newsletters, booklets, letterhead and envelopes for their company. For general information on desktop publishing this book could be very useful. It contains a lot of helpful advice. However, it is not aimed at self-publishers or book publishing specifically.


* * * * *


Booklocker has just published Patricia Fry's newest book, "The Successful Writer's Handbook." Do you need help crushing writer's block or managing the details of your writing business? Do you want tips for designing a writer's Web site or for planning more successful book signings? Do you sometimes border on burnout or stumble when it comes to research or interview techniques? Are you confused about the tasks involving self-publishing? You'll find help with these and many other issues related to your writing business in "The Successful Writer's Handbook." Order this ebook for only $9.95 at

* * * * *


Blue Beacon Great Short-Short Story and Poetry Contests

Deadline: June 21. Prizes: $50, $25, $10 for fiction; $25, $15, $10 for poetry. Entry fee: $5 for fiction; $3 for poetry. Submit original, unpublished work up to 1,000 words for fiction, or 24 lines for poetry. No more than 5 entries per person. The GBB Contests, 1425 Patriot Drive, Milbourne, FL 32940; E-mail:

Ironweed Press Fiction Prize

Deadline: June 28. Prize: $2,500 advance and publication in the Ironweed Press Discovered Voices series. Entry fee: $25. Submit book-length works of fiction; novels. novellas or short-story collections. Dept. 4, P.O. Box 754208, Parkside Sta., Forest Hills, NY 11375.

Marguerite de Angeli Contest

Deadline: June 30. Prize: $1500 in cash and a $3500 advance against royalties. Entry fee: none. Submit manuscripts, 80-144 pages, historical fiction set in North America for ages 7-10. Open to US and Canadian writers who have not previously published a novel for middle-grade readers. Delacorte Press/Random House Inc., 1540 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

Glimmer Train Fiction Open

Deadline: June 30. Prizes: $2000, $1000, $600. Entry fee: $15. Submit original, unpublished stories. Open to all writers, all themes, all lengths. Glimmer Train, 710 SW Madison St. #504, Portland, OR 97205. 505/221-0836. For guidelines see Web site:

Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards

Deadline: July 1. Prizes: $1000 (adult), $200 (ages 13-18), $200 (ages 12 and under), plus honorable mentions. Entry fee: $10 for 1-3 poems; none for youth entries. Submit 2 copies of up to 3 original, unpublished poems, up to 40 lines each. Nuclear Aage Peace Foundation, PMB 121, 1187 Coast Village Rd., Suite 7, Santa Barbara, CA 93108; 805/965-3443. E-mail: Web site:

Wahmpreneur Books Fiction Writing Contest

Deadline July 1, 2002. A new writing contest for aspiring novelists of book-length genre fiction. The first place winner will be offered a publishing contract, including a $2000 advance, and be placed on the Wahmpreneur Books/Brighid's Fire Books list of titles for release in 2003. Second place prize is a cash award of $500, and third prize is $250. Authors of unpublished fiction in the romance, sci-fi/fantasy, mystery/suspense, or action/adventure genres are invited to enter. For contest details, visit the Wahmpreneur Books Fiction Writing Contest at

* * * * *


I am seeking a Website content coordinator/editor for a FT position in our Santa Barbara, CA office. We are 23-year established national publishing company focused on Hispanic market. Duties include researching and editing daily news from wire feeds; formatting and uploading content from print publications; compiling weekly email newsletter, and other projects. This is an English-language publication.

Reply directly:

Abel Ramírez Magaña | Site Manager,

805.964.4554 x 103

Hispanic Business Inc., 425 Pine Ave. Santa Barbara CA 93117

* * * * *


Central Coast Book & Author Festival - San Luis Obispo, California

Saturday, June 8. This event celebrating books and readers takes place in Mission Plaza in downtown San Luis Obispo. FMI: CCBookfest, P.O. Box 12942, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406-2942. Web site:; e-mail:

Aspen Summer Words - Aspen, Colorado

June 22-26. Writing retreat and literary festival. Aspen Writers' Foundation, P.O. Box 7726, Aspen, CO 81612. 970/925-3122. E-mail: Web site:

Jackson Hole Writers Conference - Jackson, Wyoming

June 27-30. Contact: Keith Grille, P.O. Box 3972, Laramie WY 82071. 307/766-2938. E-mail: Web site:

New York State Summer Writers Institute

July 1-26. Workshops in fiction, poetry, memoir. Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, 12866. E-mail: Web site:

Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival

Saturday, September 28. The festival will be held in the De La Guerra Plaza in downtown Santa Barbara. Exhibit booths include 10' x 10' canopied area with an eight-foot table, ID sign, two chairs and parking for one car. Booth rentals are $200 each. Registration deadline is September 17. Make checks payable to New Directions Foundation and mail to Fred Klein, 667C Del Parque, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Phone: 805/962-9500; Fax: 805/962-2612; E-mail:

* * * * *


Hello, I am a poet who has been writing for about 9 years. I am currently trying to find out how to go about getting my work published. I have some of my work posted on the web site and have had a poem published in the book "Shades of Gray," by the National Library of Congress. I would appreciate any advice you can give me. Thank you.

Kevie L. Anderson

* * *

Hi, Kevie,

Poetry is probably the toughest kind of writing to get published. But occasionally poets do find publishers who want to publish their works, so I wouldn't give up hope. Get the most recent issue of "Writer's Market" or "The Writer's Handbook" and look for publishers who publish poetry. Their listings will tell you whether you should send them a query letter or samples of your poetry, or both. You might also check out the Contests and Awards section in the back of the books. Some offer cash prizes and publication.

Good luck,

Mary Embree

* * *

Answers to the Literary Quiz:

analogy: a similarity between like features of two things, on which a comparison may be based.

simile: a comparison of two unlike things that usually employ like or as

metaphor: a figure of speech in which two unlikely objects are compared by identification of one to the other

antagonist: the major character opposing a protagonist

protagonist: the main character of a play, novel, or story, usually the hero

climax: the point of high emotional intensity at which a story or play reaches its peak

anticlimax: a disappointing or weak conclusion; a ludicrous descent from the significant to the inconsequential

bathos: sentimentality; triteness or triviality in style

pathos: an element that evokes feelings of pity, tenderness, and sympathy

plot: an outline or plan of action of a narrative or drama

story: narration of events or series of events

theme: the central idea of a work; subject; topic

SPAWNews - June 2002

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Executive Director

Wendy Dager

Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


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

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer 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 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 Mary Embree, Executive Directorr, SPAWNews, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653



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