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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, September, 2001

Archives Available


Take your pick of the following seminars, which will help you decide whether to sell your work to a publisher or to self-publish instead.

You’ll learn the fine points of how to sell your work to a publisher, how to self-publish and keep the profits, how to find affordable editing, illustrating and printing services, how to use the Internet effectively, and more.

For detailed information, call the appropriate number below.

Sept. 23rd 9:00am-1pm $45 Honolulu, HI (includes free booklet)


Oct. 9th 6:00-10:00pm $39 Denver, CO, Colorado Free University


Oct. 12th 6:00-10:00pm $10 Kansas City, MO, Univ. of Missouri


Oct. 17th 6:00-10:00pm $29 Chicago, IL, Discovery Center


Oct. 25th 5:30-9:30pm $49 Portland, ME, University of So. Maine


Oct. 30th 6:00-10:00pm $29 New York, NY, Learning Annex


Nov. 2nd 6:30-9:30pm $29 Washington, DC, First Class


Nov. 6th 6:00-10:00pm $29 Dallas, TX, Fun Ed


Nov. 9th 6:00-10:00pm $29 Houston, TX, Leisure Learning


Nov. 15th 6:00-10:00pm $39 Albuquerque, NM, Sage Ways


Nov. 19th 6:00-10:00pm $49 Phoenix, AZ, Glendale Cmty. College


Dec. 13th 6:00-10:00pm $39 Sacramento, CA, Learning Exchange




Sharpen your pencils—it’s seminar time. Sponsored by the Ventura County Writers Club, the second annual Write Fest Conference takes place on Saturday, October 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Pierpont Inn in Ventura. The fee is $55. A continental breakfast and gourmet lunch will be served, and there will be book and CD signings, door prizes, and the opportunity to network with agents.

Conference participants include keynote speaker Janet Fitch, author of “White Oleander,” literary agents Anne Sheldon and Michael Vidor of The Hardy Agency, and Lucia Lemieux, who is leading a workshop entitled “Writing from the Collective Unconscious.”

For information, call Joanne Sehnem, 579-9414.


Sunday, September 23 from 1:00 to 4:00 is when Shawna Kenney will talk about how she promoted her autobiography “I Was a Teenage Dominatrix.” Also on hand at the event, which takes place at the Faculty Club of Loyola Marymount, will be Dan Poynter, author of “The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book.” For more details, e-mail Iris Mann, editor, LA Writer Online, at


The Write News Weekly is a wrap-up of the best of the daily writing and publishing news service The Write News™, and is a part of Writers Write®,, an online resource for readers and writers.

Writers Write® features job listings, an award-winning online magazine, chat, message boards, a writers’ guideline database, book reviews and more.

The Write News™ offers links to journalism resources, e-publishing, and something known as The Editorial Dead Zone™, which gives the latest not-so-good news in the world of publishing.

A recent Editorial Dead Zoneä mentioned the suspension of Peter Bart, Variety’s editor-in-chief, the cease in publication of Working Woman magazine and Bold Magazine; along with the announcement that Hearst cut 50 employees, AOL is also expected to lay off 1,000 and dumped 14 employees.

Not all is depressing at The Write News™, however—subscribers are encouraged to check out the news archives, free newsletter, and conference and event listings. For more information, visit and

See Patty Fry's column, How to Establish Yourself as a Writer.

Writing the Newspaper Feature Article

By Wendy Dager

It was a stroke of luck that got me writing feature articles for the Ventura County Star’s “Life” section. Luck and knowing someone—in this case, the assistant opinion pages editor, for whom I was already writing a freelance column every other week. Sure, I was lucky to get into “Life,” but I am also a decent writer—an “easy edit”—a trait that’s kept me on the lifestyle editor’s list of dependable freelancers. Long gone are the days when the hard-nosed editor with a heart-of-gold nurtures a writer who has potential but requires a lot of editing. Today’s editors are too busy doing their jobs to play mother hen. They want someone who can jump in, get the interviews done, do the research, write the story, and turn it in before deadline. If you can do all of this, you’re halfway to being able to write a feature article. Now all you have to do is turn yourself into an easy edit. Here are a few guidelines to help you on your way.

Familiarize yourself with the publication.

You don’t have to write like everyone else, but you do have to match the tone of past articles. If your style is too different from the status quo, your work may not ever make it to print. While newspaper editors do encourage individuality among their feature writers, the bottom line is readership—and, generally speaking, subscribers don’t take too well to changes in form or content.

Remember that feature articles are fun.

Not that every topic is a bunch of laughs—for instance, I’ve written articles about breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, and head lice—but feature writing means you get to use a little color in your story. Adjectives are welcome here, as opposed to the hard news department, where too much description is taken as editorializing. However, you may wish to pump up your descriptive main story with a statistical sidebar, if applicable.

Don’t go over the word count.

That means you have to self-edit, which is sometimes difficult. Put your ego aside and cut unnecessary stuff—before you submit the article. That means you may have to delete something you consider brilliant. Believe me, it’s not as fabulous as you think it is. If it isn’t crucial to the development of the story, it’s best to get rid of it. This sacrifice won’t guarantee that your editor will fall in love with you, but she’ll appreciate the effort.

For me, writing feature articles has been a series of rewarding experiences. I’ve covered a variety of topics, met some interesting people, and learned how to write what I believe is the purest form of creative nonfiction—news stories with flair.

—Wendy Dager is a freelance writer. Her work appears regularly in the Ventura County Star, and her articles “Writing Newspaper Opinion Articles” and “Creating Greeting Cards” have appeared as chapters in “The Writer’s Handbook.”

Books for Writers

Books on books are available from the Book Publicists of Southern California. Titles include “The Self-Publishing Manual” by Dan Poynter ($19.95), “Successful Nonfiction” by Dan Poynter ($14.95), “Writing Nonfiction” by Dan Poynter ($14.95), “1001 Ways to Market Your Book” by John Kremer ($27.95), and “Publish to Win” by Jerrold Jenkins ($20.00). To order, add $2 per book for postage and handling and send check to: Book Publicists of Southern California, 6464 Sunset Blvd., Suite 755, Hollywood, California 90028. To join Book Publicists of Southern California, annual dues are $32.50. For information, call

(323) 461-3921.


International News

A true-life nonfiction writing contest with no entry fee or form to fill out is being sponsored by Toowrite. Based in Derby, England, contest prizes include 1,000 pounds for the first place winner and a Royal Crown Derby computer mouse paperweight for runners up. Full details of the competition can be found at the Web site,

The 2001 Frankfurt Book Fair takes place in Frankfurt, Germany on October 10-15, 2001. According to the Show Summary distributed by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Europe purchases one-quarter of all books sold overseas. If you wish to sell your book at the fair, contact Nate Herman, Office of Consumer Goods, U.S. Department of Commerce, (202) 482-4034 or e-mail

See Virginia Lawrence's latest coluimn on Web marketing.

“Every author really wants to have letters printed in the papers. Unable to make the grade, he drops down a rung of the ladder and writes novels.” —P.G. Wodehouse

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

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor, SPAWNews


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Patricia Fry

Acting President


Ruth Hibbard



Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

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 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 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, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 or email

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year; spouses, half-price.

Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers. Make your check payable to SPAWN and mail to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

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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