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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, November 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

- Market Update

- Book ReviewA Guide to Positive Book Signings by Paul Minnaar—by Patricia Fry

- Ask the Book Doctor by Bobbie Christmas

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

by Sandra Murphy

Years ago, I read a book about a man who had a dozen small businesses. In the summer, he cut grass, winters shoveled snow and year round, he wrote. Now I’m in the position of having a number of small businesses myself, always hoping to stay busy but not overwhelmed, never wanting to cut grass or shovel. Far down on the list, I say, “I write articles for magazines.”

Last week at a fundraiser for the animal shelter, I heard a man say, “My dog saved my life, twice!” When we were introduced, I surprised myself by saying, “I’m a freelance writer. Could I interview you?” I had just moved writing further up the list.

In the week since, I’ve asked magazines for their guidelines and editorial calendars. There, a few months out, is a topic I know well and can write about. Writing moved itself.

Whether we attract what we think, believe in coincidence, or say the Universe is sending meaningful work, keeping writing a priority brings more opportunities. Maybe it’s just self-image.

In the time of six word biographies, thirteen word love stories and fifty-five word flash fiction, I now have a four word introduction—I’m a freelance writer. Unspoken, the sentence continues in my mind—and I don’t cut grass or shovel snow.

Sandy Murphy


Market Update

by Patricia Fry

The November 2008 edition of the SPAWN Market Update, posted each month in the member area of the SPAWN website, has something for everyone. Whether you are an author in search of an agent or publisher, a published author collecting good book promotion ideas and resources, a photographer looking for work, a screenplay writer, a freelance writer or a poet, you'll benefit from this edition of the SPAWN Market Update. We list 10 literary agents, the type of books they're seeking and contact information. We've also provided links to two good articles on choosing and working with an agent. We talk about the returns policy some PODs offer for a fee--should you buy one or not? We report on a publisher whose bookkeeper sent out rejection slips without permission. If you received one, you need to contact the publisher to get things straightened out. We'll tell you how many self-published books you have to sell in order to land a traditional publisher. Find out about Oprah's recent pick--a novel by a first-time author. (Could you be next?) Read our interview with a truly author-friendly publisher. Maybe he will publish your book.

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.

Here's what else you'll find this month:

  • Discover an innovative new publishing concept
  • Who’s looking for targeted how-to books
  • Celebrate “I Love to Write Day” this month
  • Review a sampling of the published list of “Agents Who Want Your Work”
  • Carry out great book promotion through these organizations
  • Which mag is actively looking for your poetry submissions

Book Review

by Patricia Fry

A Guide to Positive Book Signings: Lessons learned at 100 book signings

By Dr. Phil Minnaar

EKSAL Quality Systems, 2008

ISBN: 0-9732042-3-0

Electronic Book

37 pages, $9.95

Order the ebook at:

You may recall my review of SPAWN member, Dr. Phil Minnaar’s book, The Positive Dictionary, some months ago. Well, he has recently come out with a new ebook that every author will surely want—A Guide to Positive Book Signings. Evidently, Minnaar has engaged in over 100 book signings and this ebook offers benefit of his experiences.

To read the full review of A Guide to Positive Book Signings: Lessons learned at 100 book signings, go to

Ask the Book Doctor: About query letters, dialogue, formatting flashbacks, and telling vs. showing

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: What’s the difference between a query letter to a literary agent and a query letter to a publisher?

A: Mostly the difference is in the address. I’m serious. Otherwise, both letters want the same result: to gain the interest of the person reading it and get permission to send more. Both should begin with a catchy summary of the plot of the novel, include a brief paragraph about why you are the right person to have written the book, and end with the request for permission to send the whole manuscript. Both letters should be brief and businesslike. Don’t forget to include all your contact information in the letterhead, not at the bottom, and include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you send a query by regular mail. Nowadays some publishers and agents prefer emailed queries. Be sure to find and follow each agent’s or publisher’s submission guidelines.

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

The Austin-based publishing and distribution company Greenleaf Book Group, LLC is being recognized in the current PRINT Magazine “Regional Design Annual 2008” issue. GBG’s cover design for Jason Seiden’s How to Self-Destruct: Making the Least of What’s Left of Your Career is featured along with other prolific Austin winners as the best of Austin design talent. The PRINT Regional Design Annual is a must-read for any designer and art lover wanting to catch a glimpse of all the best creative work produced from Hawaii to Rhode Island and all points in between.

Member News

Member Irene Tsai just got the news that THE FROG IN THE WELL (a Chinese - English bilingual book) is an award-Winning Finalist in the children's book(nonfiction) category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.


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


Read about the latest contests at


Read about the conming events at

Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you. SPAWN is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.


SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. Donations are tax deductible.


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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