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SPAWNews, September, 2006

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

- SPAWNdiscuss

- Market Update

- Santa Barbara Festival

- Print on Recycled Paper

- Q&As

- What Can a Good Editor Do For You?

- Book Review

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

My family isn’t real impressed with what I do.

That’s not a criticism—it’s a fact. It doesn’t bother me much. I just ponder it sometimes, particularly when one of my kids’ friends says, "You’re a writer—that’s so cool!"

My family mostly sees me as bookkeeper, chauffeur, and maid. Again, I’m not offended. I am certain there is a writer more famous than I whose spouse and children also think of her as that woman who didn’t buy the right cookies last time she went grocery shopping.

Recently, my two lives merged.

I was invited to attend a book-signing and reading for contest winners whose short stories and poetry were published in an anthology. The event was part of the regular monthly meeting of the writers’ club that had sponsored the contest. I’d won first place in the short story contest, which was an honor—and a surprise, as I am primarily a nonfiction writer. I convinced my husband and 14-year-old daughter to go with me.

It was a larger-than-usual audience, as many of the contest winners had invited family and friends. SPAWN executive director Virginia Lawrence and SPAWN president Patricia Fry and their husbands were there to support me, which I hugely appreciated. Everyone in attendance was enthusiastic and happy and adrenaline-charged. For some of the winners, it was their first-ever published piece. For others, it was the first time they’d spoken in public. There was lots of applause and affirmation. After the readings, a dynamic guest speaker took to the lectern. He was a successful mystery writer who talked about his career’s twists and turns.

On the drive home, my 14-year-old asked, "Mom, do you think I could go to the next writers’ club meeting with you?"

She’d always been interested in writing, but until that evening, she didn’t know it was such a challenge and a joy to be a real writer. Sure, she’s seen me sitting in my office, at the computer, crafting essays and articles and the occasional short story. But she’s also seen me cooking dinner, dusting furniture and folding endless piles of laundry.

Maybe this double life isn’t what you’d call impressive, but I’d like to think it’s made something of an impression.

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

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SPAWNdiscuss Helps Our Members

Here’s what one of our members had to say about SPAWNdiscuss, our online forum:

"Wow, what wonderful feedback. Thank you. I knew I'd like this place."

To participate in SPAWNdiscuss, you must be a paid SPAWN member. To join, go to

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The September Market Update includes over 60 potential money-making and bookselling opportunities!

Do you want to earn some money for your writing or art? Do you want to find a publisher? Would you like to sell more books? Be sure to read this month's SPAWN Market Update, posted in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site. Freelance writers could potentially glean thousands of dollars from this one issue. Authors could turn their manuscripts into successful published books or raise the sales quotas on existing books by hundreds—if not thousands—of copies. If you don't read the September edition of the SPAWN Market Update, you will miss out on over 60 good potential money-making and bookselling opportunities.

Be sure to read the interview in the September Market Update with teen writing marvel, Dallas Woodburn. She's a college student, the author of two books, motivational speaker, award-winning writer, workshop leader, volunteer and the founder of a writing organization. She has written for Family Circle. She has had four stories published in the Chicken Soup books. She has appeared on the Early Show (CBS). And last year, she collected over 7,000 books to give to underprivileged kids at Christmastime. Read her inspirational story.

Here’s part of what you’ll find in Market Update this month:

  • How to get out and speak to promote your book.
  • A terrific list of high-paying magazines.
  • A new reference book listing 30 high paying markets.
  • What to write next? Find out what’s catching the attention of publishers.
  • Great regional magazines looking for stories about your area.
  • What’s the most popular romance novel subgenre?
  • Who’s relying on digital book covers rather than hard covers?
  • Have you made news lately? Read about these tips on how to generate your own news.
  • An inspiring interview with a writer/author/volunteer/speaker/newsletter editor/founder of a literacy organization, and she’s only 19!

I know that some of you are concerned about spending the $45 annual fee for membership in SPAWN. But our members can tell you that you can earn several times that amount within your first month of membership by taking advantage of the multitude of opportunities, tips and resources in the current and back issues of the SPAWN Market Update.

If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, please join now online at

Note: If you are a free newsletter subscriber only, you will be unable to log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" page.

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Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival with SPAWN

Come visit the SPAWN booth in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, Saturday September 30, 2006 from 10:00 to 5:00 at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival. For more information about the festival, go to Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Print on Recycled Paper

According to PMA, "The Book Industry Treatise on Responsible Paper" was recently finalized after nearly 6 months of deliberation and revisions by industry stakeholders. It sets goals for increasing the industry’s average use of postconsumer recycled fiber from 5% now to 30% by 2011, ending the use of fiber from Endangered Forests, improved forest management, and reducing paper consumption among other priorities."

To learn more and/or sign the Treatise, go to

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Dear Sir/Madam,

I apologize for contacting you out of the blue in this way, but I was wondering if you could give me any advice with the following problem: The writing group that I belong to has 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, but we are having trouble releasing a newsletter that promotes the members work to libraries, bookstores and such like, due to a restriction in 501(c)(3) that states: The organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator's family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests. No part of the net earnings of a Section 501(c)(3) organization may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. A private shareholder or individual is a person having a personal and private interest in the activities of the organization.

The main problem we have been facing is that for some reason, they (being the lawyers), seem to think that if a newsletter or any correspondence sent out highlights a member’s book, then that constitutes benefiting an individual, as they will "profit" through the publicity, which goes against the IRS regulations. So I was wondering as a nonprofit organization yourself, if you have come up against any problems publishing your own newsletter?



Dear S.,

First of all, that's not the meaning or intention of the law or passage cited by the attorney.

The prohibition against self-dealing is to avoid the kind of thing Newt Gingrich did—have his nonprofit pay for all the costs of researching his book—then he reaps the million-dollar book fees. Or "ministers" creating a way to collect lots and lots of money, which is spent on keeping their lifestyle—not on the charitable works or purpose of the organization.

There's a really simple solution, if the attorneys are skittish—simply ensure that the minutes of the corporation and by-laws include as their purpose, the promotion of artists or authors' work for the purpose of educating the public and enhancing awareness of the wealth of art and works produced by small and minority artists or authors.

Why hold up sensible activities if you can simply write out the harmless intention and put it in the file?

Besides, the publicity is not ALL for the benefit of one person—the (owner) head of the organization just building his/her own reputation.

It's a perfectly reasonable activity.

You can even have the organization submit it to IRS as a modification of or addition to their original application. Only, that will take months to get a response. That unit is backlogged right now. And short-handed.

Best wishes,

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA

Please be advised that, based on current IRS rules and standards, any advice contained herein is not intended to be used, nor can it be used, for the avoidance of any tax penalty that the IRS may assess related to this matter. Any information contained in this email, whether viewed or subsequently printed, cannot be relied upon as qualified tax and accounting advice. Eva Rosenberg, and her related Web sites and articles only provide authoritative and reliable advice in written form on company letterhead and delivered by the United States Postal Service. Any information contained in this email does not fall under the guidelines of IRS Circular 230.

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Hi. I am the author of a book of poetry published by Publish America. I have found that Publish America is what is known as "vanity press." I'd like to take my next book to someone who isn't. How will I know if the next publisher is not also vanity and where do you find small publishers who will take you on? My next book of poetry is ready to print, and the book after that will be a fictional novel based on a true story. I have no literary agent, and cannot afford one. Thank you.


Thank you for your interest in SPAWN. And congrats on your active writing career so far.

As for "hiring" an agent—you should not have to pay anything in order to have an agent. While there are some rather unscrupulous agents who charge authors a reading fee, typically, if an agent likes your work and believes in you, she will use her connections to locate a publisher for free. The agent might ask for a few bucks here and there to pay postage costs for sending out manuscripts, but this doesn't usually amount to more than $20 or $30. Of course, your agent will receive a percentage of your royalties as payment for her services.

Get a list of agents through a reference book listing agents—Writer's Market has one called Guide to Literary Agents. Also find agents listed in Literary Market Place (in the reference section of your library). And you'll find agents listed at

There are thousands of traditional royalty publishers seeking good books. What many new authors don't realize is that many publishers specialize. You must approach the right publisher with the right project. And this can take quite a bit of study and research. But then, remember that publishing is a business and it takes a business head.

Use Writer's Market (put out by Writer's Digest Books) to find a publisher. There is a subject index which makes it easy to locate publishers of novels, or poetry, or whatever. You will also find appropriate publishers by going to the bookstore and looking at books similar to the one you want to publish. Find out who published this book and contact this publisher.

Before ever contacting a publisher, get a copy of that publisher’s submission guidelines. While there are some similarities in what publishers want—there are also some specific differences. It is another good business decision to ALWAYS read a publisher's submission guidelines before approaching him/her. Then follow those guidelines. If he wants to see a book proposal first, prepare a book proposal (many publishers today want that book proposal before ever looking at your manuscript). Most, however, will ask to see a query letter first.

When you get a contract from a publisher, always read it thoroughly and make sure that you understand it completely. If you don't understand it, hire an intellectual properties attorney to decipher it for you.

First and foremost, I would suggest that you learn something more about the publishing industry before moving forward with your upcoming projects. Obviously, it was your lack of familiarity with the way things work in this industry that caused you to make the decisions you did with your first project.

I highly recommend that you read my latest book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. It is a complete guide to the industry, to all methods and styles of publishing and to everything related to the process of publishing, distributing and promoting your book. This book is available at, but it is also in many libraries throughout the U.S.

I would also suggest that you consider joining SPAWN where you will have access to an enormous amount of information and resources you can use. You can also network with other authors who, perhaps, can help to direct and guide you from their publishing experiences.

I hope this has helped. Please let me know how things go with your projects.


Patricia Fry, President


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What Can a Good Editor Do For You?

By Patricia L. Fry

Are you ready to start showing your manuscript around to publishers? Are you sure? Is every i dotted and every t crossed? Is your fiction story easy to follow? Is your how-to book well-organized? Even if you feel inclined to respond with a resounding YES to these questions, I still encourage you to hire another pair of eyes. And make sure those eyes belong to someone who has a good track record as an editor.

To find out what a good editor can do for you go to

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The Best of the Magazine Markets for Writers (2006)

Marni E. McNiff (Editor)

Writers Institute Publications


720-pages, $22.95

Review by Patricia L. Fry

Just when you thought there was nothing new under the sun, here comes a NEW resource for freelance writers. This 720-page volume includes 1,706 magazine listings—221 of them are brand new. Plus you’ll find several articles to help guide you in the area of history writing, writing for religious magazines, journalistic writing, writing satirical pieces, writing for the New Age market and more.

To read the full review of The Best of the Magazine Markets for Writers (2006), go to

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Ask the Book Doctor: About word counts, freelance terminology and self publishing

By Bobbie Christmas

To read about these and 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 e-mail your news to

Keys to the County: Touring Historic Ventura County is the newest book by county historian and author Cherie Brant. This guidebook is of interest to long-time residents, newcomers, and anyone who needs to entertain out-of-town guests. Unlike most of Southern California, Ventura County is fortunate to still have many historic sites that tell about its past. This book describes walking and driving tours to over 40 locations, and covers every community in the county. It includes maps, drawings and descriptions of local oddities, and over 70 historical photographs. Most of the photographs are from an extensive collection at the Ventura County Museum of History & Art. The book is available at the Ventura County Museum of History & Art store,, bookstores and gift shops around the county, and online at

Star Publish ( announces the July 2006 release of Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch by Robin Cohen Westmiller. Anyone who has vacationed in the beautiful Catskill Mountains knows the village of Ellenville, New York, and no visit to Ellenville was complete without a stop in Cohen's Quality Bakery, "Home of the World Famous Raisin Pumpernickel." Cohen’s Bakery owners Ruby and Reginia Cohen struggled together for over fifty years to build a lasting legacy for their grandchildren and financial security for themselves in their retirement years, yet it took only a handful of outsiders less than eighteen months to destroy everything they worked their entire lives to acquire. Robin says, "This is the true account of the events that lead to the near destruction of our family at the hands of my cousins, a court appointed guardian, and one of the most powerful Elder Law attorneys in South Florida. It is a story of determination, fortitude and of the victory, which inspired the creation of the National Association To Stop Guardian Abuse. They say blood is thicker than water, but you can't bathe in it, you can't cook with it, and blood tastes lousy with scotch." Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch is available in paperback and e-book versions, and can be purchased at local bookstores and at online bookstores such as,, and others. Robin Cohen Westmiller is also author of Red Wine for Breakfast and First Class Male, published under her pen name, Raven West. To visit Robin Cohen Westmiller online, go to Robin’s short story collection of erotica, Journey To Dimension Nine was also recently released by her other publisher, Lighthouse Press.

Check out the excerpts from the latest book reviews for Patricia Fry's newest book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book.

Patricia Fry will be conducting a workshop at the Wisconsin Regional Writer's Association Fall Writer's Conference in Janesville, WI on September 23-24. Visit for more information.

Scott Flora of SPAN has invited Patricia Fry to speak at their annual conference in San Mateo on October 27-29. Go to for registration information.

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

SPAWN member Leon Cooper has just completed a book, The War in the Pacific: A Retrospective. It is still in manuscript form, and he plans on self-publishing. He is seeking organizations or individuals that would accept a manuscript for review purposes. Says Leon: "As a participant in a number of battles in the Pacific during WWII, I have some definite—and no doubt, controversial—opinions about many of these battles. In my book I take to task a number of the major commanders during that war for deciding to engage in several battles that should not have been fought, none of which materially figured in the ultimate defeat of Japan. Significant, and needless, American casualties were the consequence of these tragically flawed decisions." Leon’s e-mail address is

Brigitte Thompson is retiring from publishing and would like to offer her company’s name, trademark, Web site and inventory to another person—possibly a writer looking to branch into publishing or an existing publisher looking to add a new imprint. For more information, contact Brigitte Thompson, Women In Print,, phone: 802-288-8040, fax: 802-288-8041.

Association Book Exhibit/American Studies Association is presenting a combined exhibit October 12-15 in Oakland, California. Application deadline is September 28. For more information:

The Black Writers Guild of Irving is hosting a pitch party in Irving, Texas in October. They're seeking agents, editors and publishers to attend. For more information contact Christina Taylor at

Vendors are wanted by the Bakersfield Californians Second Annual Festival of Books. The event, organized by the Kern Adult Literacy Council, will be held Saturday, November 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the California State University Bakersfield Gymnasium. For more information, e-mail Ashley Hurst, or call (661) 324-3213.

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

Read about the latest contests at

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Events and More

Read about the coming 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! 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



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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