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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, October, 2008

Sandra Murphy, 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

- New Testimonials

- Market Update

- Book Review The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform

- Watch Out for Sharks in Those Publishing Waters by Patricia Fry

- Ask the Book Doctor by Bobbie Christmas

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

Editor's Note

by Sandra Murphy

A reporter once said to Willie Sutton, “Willie, why do you rob banks?” Willie looked at him in surprise and replied, “Because that’s where the money is.”

My writer’s group has been talking about genre. We have some writers who want to follow the Muse and write the story as it comes, then find an audience. I’m much lazier.

I look for an audience and then write something they’ll like. Every genre has its own rules. Hard-boiled mysteries have bodies stacking up like cord wood, but cozy mysteries have only two—one at the beginning and one in the middle of the book. A hard-boiled will have a lot of detail of the fatal injury but a cozy will employ discreet blunt force trauma, with a subdural hematoma—or, no blood showing.

One of our writers likes to spell out everything for the reader, descriptions of characters, time, and place. I expect the reader to work a little too, and come up with their own ideas of what the main character looks like. I want them to fill in the details of where she lives and don’t think it’s especially important to tell what year it is.

I don’t mind following the rules, because I believe they give my writing structure. Just as I read writer’s guidelines for magazine articles to keep me on topic, I find rules keep me from adding more than the reader wants. There’s still enough leeway for creativity.

I prefer to trust my reader to know what she likes and is willing to pay for. As Willie said, “Because that’s where the money is.”

Sandy Murphy


New Testimonials

“Looking forward to reading the book. I enjoy the SPAWN newsletter and gain new information every month. Thanks and keep up the good work!”

Toni Dockter, FWE Publishing, Monterey Bay, CA (Toni is referring to the free book she got when she renewed her SPAWN membership).

From Anne DaVigo,

Regarding the Market Update:

"What a great publication! I didn't realize there was something like this that was so up-to-date.”

Market Update

by Patricia Fry

If you write articles or stories for money or to promote your book, you won't want to miss the October edition of the SPAWN Market Update. We link you to dozens of new, trusted magazines and to periodical databases and job sites that could compute into cash and book sales for you. And that's just part of the October SPAWN Market Update story. Here's what else you'll discover this month:

  • If you're writing a fantasy novel, you'll want to take the Fantasy Novel Exam.
  • Send your book on a journey around the world. This is soooo cool.
  • We offer some amazing ideas for promoting your book locally.
  • Learn how to write for the lucrative regional magazine market.
  • Finally land a publisher for your manuscript! We have some ideas for you.
  • You'll discover a GREAT new networking site and resource center for children's writers and authors.
  • We've listed some fab opportunities for screenwriters and poets!
  • Learn how to locate those elusive submission guidelines.

Remember, the opportunities and resources in just one edition of the SPAWN Market Update can more than pay for your annual membership in SPAWN. You'll sell more fiction or nonfiction. You'll sell more books. You'll learn more about submitting your writing, approaching publishers and book promotion. Join SPAWN NOW and gain access to one of the most valuable newsletters around.

Membership also entitles you to peruse our gigantic SPAWN Market Update archives. For ease in locating topics of interest, use the convenient search function. Maybe you want to find book festivals, library directories, book marketing ideas, science fiction publishers, magazines that publish personal stories. Whatever it is, our search function can help you find it.

JOIN NOW and get a free book—we give you six titles to choose from—3 ebooks and 3 print books. NEW TITLE JUST ADDED—limited quantities available.

Book Review

by Patricia Fry

The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform

By Stephanie Chandler

Quill Driver Books

ISBN: 978-1884956-82-9

143 pages, $14.95

What’s your platform? According to author Stephanie Chandler, this is a question that all authors should be prepared to answer. And in case you can’t, Chandler has compiled a book that will help you to establish your platform. According to the cover copy, through this book, you will learn to: develop an online platform that impresses editors and agents, create an effective website, drive traffic to your site, implement online sales, establish yourself as an expert in your field, master the art of promoting your books at, stand out against the competition, build a long-term career as an author.

To read the full review of The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform, go to

Watch Out for Sharks in Those Publishing Waters

By Patricia Fry

As most of you know, this column is generally devoted to book promotion. However, something happened this week that prompted me to change direction. I had no option but to sit by and watch a hopeful author possibly tangle with a shark. You be the judge:

The author contacted me about consulting with his on a book project. We had several email conversations. I evaluated a section of his manuscript and presented him with an estimate to edit it. He thanked me for the estimate, but said it was more than he could afford. At that point, I offered to edit a number of pages that he could afford. I told him I teach as I edit, giving authors some valuable knowledge and skills they can use to refine their own material.

To learn how to protect yourself, go to

Ask the Book Doctor: About Titles, Parts, and the Right Time to Edit

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: A title I'm considering for my novel is [title removed]. says that title is already in use. Are titles copyrighted?

A: As I understand the law, titles are not eligible for copyrights the way longer works are; however, titles can be trademarked if used to cover more than one item in a series, such as a cluster of seminars based on a book of the same name.

Although you could probably legally use a title that has been used by someone else, consider it an opportunity to change the title and make it different, so people who search your title will find only your book, and not others. It’s your chance to come up with a memorable, unique title with a play on words, alliteration, or rhyme.

To read more about these and other interesting topics, go to

Member News

Patricia Fry will be presenting two workshops back to back at the Wizards of Words Writers Conference in Scottsdale, AZ, Saturday morning October 11, 2008 at the Chaparral Suites. She'll give her hallmark presentation with a couple of surprise twists. If you'll be in the Scottsdale area and if you'd like to learn the 2 Simple Steps to Publishing Success, sign up today at

Patricia Fry is now offering on-demand, online courses featuring “How to Write a Successful Book Proposal,” “How to Write and Sell Magazine Articles,” as well as a “Self-Publishing Workshop” and a “Book Promotion Workshop.” Questions? Contact her at:


Barbara Florio Graham will review publishing contracts, commenting on the contract terms, flagging problems, suggesting modifications, and advising if any clauses should be checked by a lawyer. Barbara is not a lawyer, and she is not offering legal services. She's had sufficient experience (having worked as a law clerk) to understand legal language, and has considerable expertise in contract terms and copyright.

Her rate of $75/hour is less than an entertainment or literary lawyer would charge for the same service. In most cases, a review of your contract can be accomplished in a single hour.

Check her website:, and contact her at


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


A prospect is looking for books on Cardio Health and healthy-heart cooking.

If you have titles on these topics, please contact Brian at


The Bakersfield California's Fourth Annual Festival of Books is looking for vendors. The event, which is organized by the Kern Adult Literacy Council, will be held Saturday November 1st, 2008 from 10am to 2pm at The Holiday Inn Select in Bakersfield, CA.

Booth location cannot be guaranteed but vendors who register early will have a better location choice. Contact Donna Hylton at 661-324-3213 or email


Read about the latest contests at


Read about the coming events at


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

Sandra Murphy

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 Sandra Murphy, 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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