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SPAWNews, August, 2007

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email 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

- Market Update

- Win a Free Book

- Book Review

- A Child-Friendly Book Festival

- How to Use the SPAWN Market Update to Promote Your Book

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Are you up for a challenge?

I like to occasionally take on challenging projects because I tend to get lazy. You may not know this about me, given the stuff I’ve mentioned in past editions of SPAWNews: my regular freelance gigs, my nonfiction book proposals, my attempts to sell my novel and so on. But, yes, I am chronically lazy. I certainly did not inherit this from my parents, both of whom had demanding careers and, even in retirement, hardly ever sit still. I also have one sister, a paralegal who works twelve hours a day. My family is full of "Type A" personalities.

Me, I’m more of a "Type C"—the house isn’t a complete mess, but I could spend more time tidying it. I need to get around to vacuuming the dog hair that’s all over the back seat of my car. And my desk—well—you don’t want to know about my desk.

That’s why I like a good challenge—to motivate me to work harder. For instance, last April, I entered a 24-hour short story competition. Entrants have to come up with a piece of fiction that matches the chosen theme and falls within the designated word count. The competitors are emailed the topic the day of the contest and must write the story within a 24-hour period, then email it to the contest sponsor for judging. Fiction isn’t my forte, so, when I snagged an honorable mention, I was very happy to see my name on the winners’ list.

I was so inspired that I’m entering their summer 24-hour short story contest. By the time you receive this issue of SPAWNews, the contest will be in its judging phase. If I win anything—and I hope I do—I’ll let you know. But, even if I don’t get a prize, I’ll be proud of myself for accepting and completing the challenge.

Then, after that, I might consider doing a little vacuuming.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Her Web site is

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Be sure to read the August edition of the SPAWN Market Update. We've added a new column: Members Matter. Each month we'll post a topic for discussion. This month, the topic is, the bookselling site that you love to hate. Is your book at Amazon? Are you happy with the situation or not? Tell us why.

We were among the first to report that Bowker changed the way they tally new titles. While they reported 172,000 new book titles produced in 2006, today they say it is almost double that number. Read about this new counting methodology in the SPAWN Market Update.

We've listed some potentially useful resources, fascinating news clips and several opportunities for nonfiction/fiction writers/authors, children's book authors and screenwriters. What will you get out of the August issue? Access to library sales for your book, listings for several new magazines through which you could promote your book (and/or earn a few bucks), a heads-up with regard to changes in the publishing industry—did you know that Harlequin plans to start publishing nonfiction?

Are you planning to pay a fee-based, POD "self-publishing" company to produce your romance novel? We give you some viable alternatives. Do you write children's books? We report on a way that YOU could win a contract with Simon and Schuster. Could you write for a popular TV sitcom or drama? Here's your chance to prove it.

In this month’s August 2007 Market Update:

  • Aging? Aren’t we all experts? A brand new magazine looking for articles related to aging.
  • A great contest for children’s book authors from the most unlikely of places.
  • What is the hottest category of book this year!
  • Who’s offering a monthly ezine for writers by writers.
  • How to send your topic suggestions/comments for our new column – Members Matter.
  • Find out how to create a workbook.
  • Where to vote for SPAWN for “The 101 Best Site for Writers” 2008!

Don't let all of this opportunity go to waste. Read every issue of the SPAWN Market Update for the latest news and the greatest opportunities on your road to success.

To read the Market Update, you first join SPAWN. Go to and click on the "Join SPAWN Now" button in the upper left corner of the page.

After you join, you'll receive the password for the private member area!

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SPAWN Members, win a Free Book!

Send us a brief—up to 300 words—essay on how SPAWN’s Market Update has helped you! The first three entrants will receive Richard F.X. O'Connor's How to Market You and Your Book, and their essays will be published in a future edition of SPAWNews. Email your essay to

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

The Writer Within You, A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing In Your Retirement Years

By Charles Jacobs

Caros Books, 2007


321 pages, $19.95, paper

As I told Charles when he asked me to write a testimonial for this book, it could be marketed to a general writing audience—not just retirees. I like this book. It’s good-looking, it covers a wide range of writing/publishing topics, the tone is friendly, the narrative is easy to follow AND it has an index. Those of you who have been reading my book reviews know how much I appreciate seeing an index in a reference book.

Retirees with an interest in writing will love this book for its value and reading ease.

To read the full review of The Writer Within You, A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing and Publishing In Your Retirement Years, go to

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A Child-Friendly Book Festival

By Mary Embree

If you have attended book festivals, you might have noticed that there were very few children there. When I produced the first Ventura Book Festival in March of last year I tried to remedy that by having a "children’s corner" where there were books for all ages of children and adult readers to read to them. Even though we promoted it, only a few children showed up. Since that didn’t work, I had to think of something else for this year’s festival in Ventura, California, on August 25th. If we could get children to book festivals, it would seem to follow that they’d see the value of reading and writing.

Read about how every parent can get their child interested in reading and writing at

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How to Use the SPAWN Market Update to Promote Your Book

By Patricia L. Fry

Do you want to sell more books? Do you need some new promotional ideas and resources? If you aren’t reading the SPAWN Market Update, you could be missing out on a phenomenal opportunity to increase your book’s visibility, exposure and sales.

Read about the opportunities, resources and information available in every Market Update and how the Market update can help promte your book at

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Ask the Book Doctor:

By Bobbie Christmas

Ask the Book Doctor: About Avoiding Fraud and Finding Your Voice

Q: I just read a news report that Laura Alpert, who writes under the name of JT LeRoy, has been found guilty of fraud. She called her book a novel, and she’s guilty of fraud? What do you think about that? Isn’t a novel fiction? Why must the author even be known?

A: An author’s real name doesn’t have to be known, but in this case Alpert was found to be a fraud, not because of her novel, but because of her attempts to pass it off as truth. She was not indicted for writing a book she sold as an autobiographical novel based on the life of male prostitute JT LeRoy, even though the implication was that it was true, but slightly fictionalized, and that fact turned out to be untrue.

Instead, she royally messed up when she sold the rights to a production company that planned to make a movie based on LeRoy's life (not necessarily based on her novel). The movie, then, was not planned as fiction, but as a documentary of a true life. In addition, she definitely committed fraud when she had friends dress up and pose as LeRoy at book signings and had them lie to journalists about having had sex at truck stops. The author herself even posed as a troubled teen when she called a psychiatrist, possibly another publicity stunt. All those efforts to legitimize something that was not true were, I’m sure, what convinced a jury that Alpert wasn’t simply the author of a novel; she was defrauding the public by implying that the novel was based on a true story, and she didn’t sell the novel to the production company; she sold them the rights to make a movie on LeRoy’s life, with the implication that it was real.

The moral of the story is that the truth may set you free, but a lie can get you thrown in jail, fined, or both.

To read about this and other other interesting topics, go to

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Member News

Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please email your news to

Sarah Bolme’s book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, has won the following awards: a Bronze Award from Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY Awards) in the Writing/Publishing category; a Finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Award in the Reference category; and Best Author’s Reference Book of the Year 2007 from Christian Storyteller. For more information:

Shel Horowitz's seventh book, Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, has won its first award: an Honorable Mention in the Indie Excellence Awards (joining his fifth and sixth books, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World and Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, to make three award-winners in a row). Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers has also secured endorsements from Dan Poynter, John Kremer, and Marilyn Ross, among others. For more information:

The popular course based on the 20th anniversary edition of Five Fast Steps to BETTER Writing is now available online. This course, which has already been franchised in five locations across Canada, was developed by Barbara Florio Graham, who delivered it for more than a decade to many federal government departments and other clients. The exclusive online franchise has been given to Donna D'Amour, an award-winning writer, teacher and popular workshop leader. Winner of the 2004 Atlantic Journalism Gold Award, Donna is also the author of Colouring the Road (Lancelot Press), and co-author of Runaway, edited by Antonio D'Amour (Zenobi Publishing). Visit for details, including fees and registration.

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SPAWN Founder Mary Embree announces The Second Annual Ventura Book Festival on Saturday, August 25, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, 5654 Ralston Street, Ventura, CA 93003. The book festival is produced by the Literary Arts Society as a joint project of the LASVC and the Unitarian Universalist Church. Authors, publishers, booksellers, and others will have tables where festivalgoers may look at and purchase books. A wide range of genres will be featured. They will also be presenting seminars on writing, editing, publishing, and promoting books and will have a panel discussion on self-publishing. Publishers, authors, graphic designers, illustrators, bookstores, libraries, and nonprofit groups are invited to exhibit, sell, and/or promote their books, services, and organizations. Exhibitor’s booths with a display table and two chairs will be provided. The deadline for all registrants is August 18. Those wishing to participate may get an application form by sending an email to or calling (805) 643-3385 and making a request. An application will be sent either by email or USPS. For more information, call festival coordinator Mary Embree at (805) 643-3385. See details under Events below.

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Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Read about upcoming events at:

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

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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! 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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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



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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