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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, December, 2002

Wendy Dager, Editor





- FEATURE ARTICLE: Publishing Your Own Book-A Timeline





- FEATURE ARTICLE: How to Plan Your Web Site



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With Thanksgiving 2002 now a memory, the "holidays" are officially upon us. This is the time we become busier and, yes, a bit more stressed. We creative types, it seems, take this season a little harder than most people: "I should be working on my book, but I have all those stocking stuffers to buy!" My advice to you: Buy the stocking stuffers, put the writing or painting or proofreading aside. That is, do fulfill your job obligations, but temporarily forgo the extra work.

I'm a firm disbeliever in "If you're a writer, you must write every day." Realistically speaking, for most of us, this edict is a veritable impossibility. There are plenty of other things we must do-take kids to and from school, shlep them to piano lessons or doctors' appointments, prepare dinner, and so on. Even for those who have no children at home, there are other unavoidable tasks around the house or on the job, making it way too difficult to focus on pet projects.

I once heard a Los Angeles Times writer tell a story about how he would work all day at the newspaper, come home and help care for his kids, then spend 11:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. writing his novel. He developed pneumonia because he was so run down from this schedule. Don't let this happen to you. Take a breather. In January, with the chaos curbed, you may find you have a fresher view of your work.

I'd also like to remind you that now is the perfect time to renew or begin a membership to SPAWN, since December 31, 2002 is the deadline to receive a FREE copy of "The Author's Toolkit" by Mary Embree. In addition, if you are a SPAWN member, you are eligible for membership discounts to SPAN, the Small Publishers of North America, and to PMA, the Publishers Marketing Association. A SPAN membership can be applied for online at, in their "partner program" for a savings of $35 off their regular $95 membership. To receive a PMA discount of $26 off the regular $99 membership, SPAWN members must download a special bonus certificate from our Web site, available in the Members Only section of, and postal mail it to PMA. Please remember that these discounts are available to SPAWN members only. Join now-make 2003 your most successful year yet! --Wendy Dager

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December marks the first anniversary of the Market Update. You'll find all past issues archived in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site. If you haven't read an issue, you've really been missing out on what's happening in the publishing industry-what magazines want, which ones are closing, where are the best sites for writers, interviews with key people in publishing and much, much more.

For example, the December 2002 issue of the Market Update features interviews with Nancy Clark, deputy editor for Family Circle Magazine and Steve Florio, editor of Parade Magazine. Find out what it really takes to break into Family Circle and Parade.

Or, are you looking for a writing job, a grant or other funding for your writing work? Tune in to the December Market Update for information from Hope Clark, who operates the FundsforWriters Web site.

All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site (

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This month's SPAWN Market Update (found in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site) is overflowing with 11 pages of information and resources for writers.

Here's a sample of what you will find there:

IMAGINE is Ireland's latest quality writing magazine and it needs submissions.

IMAGINE is a glossy, full-sized magazine, open and accessible to everyone. Each quarterly issue features the best writing, arts, poetry, debate, drama and opinion we can get from around Ireland and the world. IMAGINE welcomes email submissions of poetry, writing, drama, fiction, articles, debate and opinion from anywhere in the world, from adults, teenagers and children. They are "very keen to support young, new and upcoming writers." Artists, designers, cartoonists and illustrators are also invited to submit material. Send an email (images as jpegs, only) with material embedded. No attachments, please. All email submissions should go to

IMAGINE is available every quarter, with a copy costing EUR5.00, or EUR20.00/12-month subscription in Ireland (EUR30.00 in Europe, EUR35.00 elsewhere) - postage included. If buying individual issues, add EUR4.50 per copy for postage outside Europe, or EUR3.00 per copy in Europe. Postage in Ireland (inc. Ulster) is free. Subscriptions: Breda Geary (Tel: +353 58 59121). Cheques and money orders must be drawn on Irish banks only. No credit cards.

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Publishing Your Own Book - A Timeline

By Patricia L. Fry

Self-publishing can be a daunting undertaking. It's easy to be overwhelmed in the process of setting up a business, writing a book, producing the book and then there's promotion.

Here's a calendar to guide you in the steps necessary to publishing your book.

  1. Write a book proposal. While a book proposal is generally thought of as your foot-in-the-door to a publisher, there's even a greater purpose. A book proposal will tell you if you even have a book. So before sinking your life savings and a year or more of your life into this project, make sure you actually have something worth publishing.
  2. Determine if publishing is for you. Talk to others who have self-published to find out what it entails. Read about self-publishing. I recommend The Self-Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter. Study how a book is marketed. Preparing the book for market is a huge job, but marketing your book is ongoing. The amount of time you put into marketing will relate directly to how successful your book will become.

  4. Name your publishing company. Be careful about using a name that reflects the nature of your book. You may decide to publish books in different genres in the years ahead.
  5. Apply for a Fictitious Business Name. This is available through your County Clerk.
  6. Establish a business address. Sign up for a post office box or a box at a mailbox store to use for business correspondence.
  7. Order business stationary.
  8. Open a business checking account.
  9. Request a block of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN). You will assign one number to each book you publish. This number identifies your publishing company and the book and is necessary for books sold in the retail market. R.R. Bowker is the U.S. agency for distributing ISBN. You will probably want to start with a block of ten numbers, however you can also order blocks of one hundred or one thousand. The cost is $115 for ten. For more information and to purchase your ISBN printout, visit Contact the Agency by phone: 877-310-7333 or email: .
  10. Request an Advanced Book Information (ABI) form. About six months before your book is finished, fill out the form and send it to R.R. Bowker (POB 2068, Oldsmar, FL 34677-0037). This insures that your book will be listed in Books in Print, one of the industry's most important directories. There is no charge for the form or for the listing.
  11. Request Copyright forms. Contact the U.S. Copyright Office at 202-707-3000 or Wait to file this form until after you've completed your work on the book.
  12. Contact your State Board of Equalization and request a resale permit.
  13. WHEN YOU'RE ALMOST FINISHED WRITING THE BOOK (About six months before completion)

  14. Assign an ISBN to your book.
  15. Fill out an ABI form and send it in.
  16. Order your Publisher's Cataloguing in Publication information (P-CIP). This information, which is printed on your Copyright Page, is important for library use. Contact Quality Books at 800-323-4241 or visit their Web site at The cost depends on how quickly you need the P-CIP information. Expect to pay $40 for a 60-day turnaround.
  17. WHILE EDITING YOUR BOOK (About three months before the book is completed)

  18. Search for a printer. If you're going the traditional printing route, send a "Request for Price Quote" to eight or ten printers and ask to see samples of their work. The printer will want to know quantity of books, number of pages, type of binding, paper stock, size, number and type of illustrations, text color and cover ink (4-color, 2-color?). Find printers listed in your local Yellow Pages, in Literary Market Place (in the reference section at your library) and ask for recommendations from other small publishers. If you want to work with a POD company or produce an ebook, research these avenues.
  19. Send pre-publication review copies. While some experts are now suggesting that the small publisher doesn't have a chance for a review by one of the important pre-publication reviewers, others recommend submitting your manuscript. If you get a review, this could jumpstart your book sales in a big way. Pre-publication reviews appear in magazines that are read by the book industry: bookstore and library buyers, for example. And these reviewers want to see the book before it's published, so don't wait to send a finished book. While you can send your manuscript, you'll make a better presentation if you have it bound even with a plain cover. Give your publication date as anywhere from three to six months in advance. Enclose a cover letter with your galley that includes the title, author's name, publication date, ISBN, name of publishing company, price and contact information. If you have a distributor or wholesaler lined up, list their contact information as well. Generally, however, you don't approach distributors and wholesalers until you have a book to show them. (See a partial list of pre-publication reviewers at the end of this article).
  20. Commission someone to design your cover. Contact authors and small publishers to find out who designed their covers. Locate graphic artists and illustrators through the Yellow Pages or a local arts directory.
  21. Set your price. There are a couple of ways to figure your price. Some experts say to price your book at an amount eight times the cost per book. This means, if the total cost of producing your book is $5.00 each, you should charge $40 for the book. If you produce an 80-page book for around $1.50, you must charge $12. I recommend comparing the price of books similar to yours to help determine your price.
  22. Order a bar code. Contact Bar Code Graphics, Inc. at You will need an ISBN and the price of the book in order for the company to create your bar code.

  24. Choose a printing method and a printer. Find out how they want you to deliver the book and cover design.
  25. Give the book to the printer
  26. WHILE THE BOOK IS AT THE PRINTER (approximately two to six weeks prior to publication)

  27. Solicit pre-publication orders. Send announcements to your mailing list which should include everyone who has expressed any interest in your book, friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances. State to those whom you plan to give complimentary copies that they have one coming and if they'd like to order additional copies they may do so. Also mail notices to local libraries, bookstores and anyone interested in the topic. Make it easy for people to order books. When you start receiving orders, don't cash checks until the books have been put in the mail to the customer. Sometimes I offer a discount for those folks who order by a certain date.
  28. Fill out and send the copyright form. There's a $30 filing fee.
  29. Create a list of post-publication reviewers. This might include book reviewers for magazines, newsletters and Web sites on the topic of your book and general book reviewers.
  30. List those to whom you wish to send complimentary copies. This might include those involved in helping to create the book: people you interviewed for the book, your cover designer, your typesetter and so forth. Prepare promotional packets for key book reviewers and address mailers in preparation for your first shipment.
  31. Start planning your promotion program.

  33. Ship and deliver review copies, complimentary copies and pre-publication orders.
  34. Send two copies of the book to the Copyright Office (address on Copyright form)
  35. Send three copies of the book to the Library of Congress (address on Copyright form)
  36. Send one copy of the book to Quality Books. Ask them to consider your book as a distributor to the library market. (1003 W. Pines Road, Oregon, IL 61061-9680)
  37. Fill out paperwork for the State Board of Equalization.
  38. Apply for a business license. Check into your city/county requirements for a business license. I'm required to have a county business license and one for the city since I sell books in bookstores in the city.
  39. Contact distributors and wholesalers. Find a listing in Literary Market Place.
  40. Put your promotional plan into action

Pre-publication Reviewers

Kirkus Reviews

Publisher's Weekly

Library Journal

American Library Association Booklist

This is an excerpt from Patricia Fry's ebook, "The Successful Writer's Handbook." Available at the SPAWN Ebook Store.

* * * * *


We are always updating our information on book printers to ensure the quality of our list of recommended resources for SPAWN members. Printing companies, like all companies, can change with economic pressures and if there is a reduction in staff, deliveries may take longer. Also, while one customer might be happy with a specific printer, another may not. That is why although we may recommend a printer based on favorable reports we have received, we cannot and would not endorse any printer. In order to serve you better, we would like to gather your views on customer satisfaction for book printers. Just go to and give us your opinions. We will publish the results at a later date. Thank you for your help.

* * * * *


(Note: Letter appears exactly as it was emailed to SPAWN.)

I am interested in printing several books. I need info on prices for print runds of around 1500 copies. White paper with color cover. Many many images will need to be done. I'll also need it typeset. Can you also send me samples. I'm looking for book to be printed soft cover. I'll be selling these myself but I will need a ISBN number. I'm a former child actor and need to get this done fast so I can have these ready when I do the autograph circiut. Please rush info to me.


Dear Mike,

We are a networking organization for people involved in and interested in the publishing process. One of the most valuable features of our Web site is our discussion forum where members can communicate with members to ask questions such as yours. We also have some printers listed on our site who will give discounts to SPAWN members. In the meantime, I'd be happy to respond to your question.

The first step in finding a printer is to send several printers a request for an estimate. Each request should include the same specs: number of copies, number of pages, book dimensions, type of paper and cover, whether it is 2-color or 4-color, number and type of images (illustrations, photographs). Even if you don't know exact numbers yet, make a guess. You'll get an idea of how each printer charges. You can make any necessary adjustments to your specs later.

Ask each printer for samples and references. Also, ask their estimated turnaround time.

As for getting a block of International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), go to R. R. Bowker's site at or call 877-310-7333. You can also send an email to Expect to pay $115 for ten numbers. As far as I know, you still cannot purchase just one number.

You might find Chapter 3 in my ebook, "The Successful Writer's Handbook," helpful as I offer a timeline for the self-publisher. I talk about how to obtain a copyright on your book, the importance of and how to get your book listed in Books in Print, how to arrange for a bar code and Cataloguing in Publication (important for library use), how to set up your publishing company (you'll need a business through which to distribute your books), how to get pre-publication reviews and just when to do each of these tasks (Order this book for $9.95 at

I hope this has helped. Good luck with your book.


Patricia Fry, President




* * * * *


The 10th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published

Book Awards are bigger and better than ever. Co-sponsored by

Book Marketing Works, LLC, this year's competition now offers

more than $10,000 in prizes.

Act now by visiting

Prizes include:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER--$2,500 cash, promotion in Writer's Digest and Publishers Weekly, and marketing advice from self-publishing guru Dan Poynter. Plus, distribution to bookstores and libraries through Baker & Taylor, guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review, and more.

FIRST PLACE WINNERS--$500 cash and promotion in Writer's Digest, plus distribution to bookstores and libraries through Baker & Taylor, and a guaranteed review in Midwest Book Review.

HONORABLE MENTION WINNERS--promotion in Writer's Digest and $50 worth of Writer's Digest Books.

Plus, all winners will receive promotion on the Writer's Digest Web site.Enter in any (or all) of 9 categories for your chance to win great cash prizes and international exposure for your book! Entry deadline is December 16, 2002. For more information or to download an entry form, visit today.

A $2,003 top prize and valuable Hollywood contacts are being offered in the Monterey County Film Commission's Hollywood Connection 2003 Screenwriting Contest. It's the commission's eighth annual screenwriting competition and the final entry deadline is Dec. 31, 2002. The $2,003 money award reflects the year of the contest, and will be awarded to the first place winner at the Hollywood Connection 2003 Day, to be held in Monterey in May. Top finalists receive free tuition for the day along with Final Draft screenwriting software, personal comments from film industry professional judges, and publicity and exposure within the industry. A $1,000 Monterey County On Location Award will be given in recognition of an outstanding screenplay that includes at least 50% Monterey County settings. Submissions must be full-length film or television movie scripts between 90 and 130 pages in length and must not have been optioned or sold at the time of submission. Entry fee is $45 per script for early entries postmarked by Nov. 30, 2002; $55 per script for those postmarked by the final deadline of Dec. 31, 2002. There are discounts offered for multiple script submissions. Complete rules and an application form may be downloaded at

The Midwest Independent Publishers Association announces the Call for Entries for its 13th Book Awards competition. Publishers in the following states are eligible: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. For the 13th Book Awards, the copyright date is 2002. For more information, visit or email Entry deadline is January 15, 2003.

Author's Venue Writing Contest, sponsored by The Writer magazine.

Novel, nonfiction, poetry & short story guidelines:

Deadline: entries must be postmarked by February 15, 2993. Novel: Submit the first 20 pages and a 3-page synopsis; Nonfiction Book: Submit a two-page query letter, a ten-page proposal and the first ten pages of chapter one; Poetry: Submit 50 lines or less of your poem; Short Stories: Submit the first 25 pages or less.

First Prize: Journey Conference in Lake Tahoe (a $1000 value), plus pre-conference sessions (a $500 value); Second Prize: The Writer Handbook; Third Prize: One year The Writer subscription. For more information and official rules, call (505) 244-9337, fax (800) 853-7655, or email

* * * * *


For SPAWN Members Only (If you are not yet a member, join now!)

Showcase your book at Inscriptions Web site for just $10 per month. Bev Walton-Porter, editor of Inscriptions Magazine, originally set November 10 as her cutoff date for this special offer, but she generously extended her offer for SPAWN members. Place your order before December 10 and reserve space for your very own Web site. According to Walton-Porter, the Inscriptions site gets 82,000 hits per month and averages 110 hits per hour. Check it out at To sign up, go to

Remember, you must be a SPAWN member to get the special discount.

Conferences in La Casa Grande, Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico - on the Pacific Coast: Dynamics of the Dramatic Structure: December 7-11. $950 tuition includes shared en-suite with fridge, microwave, A/C. For registration and more information: or call Micheline at (819) 876-2065.

The Second City Council is pleased to announce its Members Exhibition and 2nd Anniversary Party.

Consumerism - January 25, 2003 - February 28, 2003

Slides must be received by Wednesday, Dec 18

Notification Mailed Monday, Jan 6

Art Delivery Saturday and Sunday, Jan 18 and 19

Reception Saturday, Feb 1 from 7:00 - 9:00

Pick-up Saturday and Sunday, March 1 and 2

2003 Women's Festival of the Arts - (Highlighting the Art of California Women)

Opens on International Women's Day, Saturday, March 8, 2003 - April 18, 2003

Slides must be received by Friday, Jan 31

Notification Mailed Monday, Feb 17

Art Delivery Saturday and Sunday, Mar 1 and 2

Two-Day Festival, Saturday and Sunday, Mar 8 and 9 (Festival times to be announced)

Visual Artists, Musicians, Dancers, Spoken Word Artists, Authors, Independent Film Makers and Youth Exhibition plus a 1950's Style Pajama Party (for Women Only) and Beehive Hair Contest

Pick-up Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

For more information:, e-mail, phone (562) 901-0997 or write P.O. Box 90503, Long Beach, CA 90809-0503

Mystery Writers of America, Inc.'s Florida Chapter's "S" is for SleuthFest 2003, March 13-16 at the Deerfield Beach/Boca Raton Hilton. Special Guests: Sue Grafton and Dr. Henry Lee. Thursday, March 13: Writer's workshops, including critiques of attendee samples by NYT Bestseller, Barbara Parker, techniques of establishing setting through World Building with award-winning Carole Nelson Douglas, and how to give a pitch to an agent/editor. Friday, March 14-Sunday March 16: Over 35 panels open to writers of all levels and genres, National Shooting Sports Foundation Shootout, and editor/agent appointments. Registration: Thursday workshops: $50; Friday thru Sunday: $165, members, $180, non-members before 1/1/03. Registration forms: or send SASE to Anne K. Walsh, 6056 NW 56th Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33067, e-mail, or call: Jody Lebel at (954) 782-8872.

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You may wish to check out the following Web sites for writers. The quotes next to each site name are directly from the site itself. Note: SPAWN encourages its members to broaden their knowledge base, however, we remind you to caveat emptor prior to purchasing any product or service that may be associated with these sites. - The Bookmark Newsletter - "Our site has been designed to provide key information about the publishing industry and includes details of the book industry services we offer." - The Writer Magazine - "The Writer is the proud recipient of a gold 2002 Folio Award for Editorial Excellence in the Journalism/Publishing category. The judges cited our 'superb mix of service pieces and industry information that ... is a delight to read.'" - Writer's Monthly.US - "Coming at the world from the heart of San Diego, California, WritersMonthly.US is a community of writers and readers and artists." - Writers Digest - "Writer's Digest is the world's leading magazine for writers, founded in 1920. Writer's Market, the bible for writers seeking to publish their work, was first published in 1921. Together, they form the foundation of a wide range of informational, instructional and inspirational offerings for writers. Today those offerings include a variety of books, magazines, special interest publications, educational courses, conferences, Web sites and more."

* * * *


How to Plan Your Web Site

By Virginia Lawrence

If you are considering creating a Web site, you should plan the Web site the way you would plan a nonfiction book. Before you consider the design, the graphics, the navigation, or the colors, you should go through a simple two-step process. The first steps in developing a Web site are:


Do you want to sell books, sell artwork, give the media a place to retrieve information, give meeting planners a reason to book you as a speaker, etc.?


Readers of romance novels, readers of history tomes, interior designers looking for interesting art, agents, editors, publishers, meeting planners, etc.?

Yes, these steps are the same as some of the steps followed in writing a book proposal. If you want your site visitors to understand what you are offering, you must be completely clear. When you have the information listed above, you are reducing the likelihood that you will develop a site that misses the mark entirely.


Knowing your goal, you develop the Web site around the goal. You develop the entire Web site to carry one message the main message of the site.

Goal = Sales
Every page will lead the visitor to the sales page. The site will give clear information on the items for sale.
Goal = Media
Every page will lead the visitor to the various media relations pages. The site will contain all information commonly requested by the media.
Goal = Speaking
Every page will lead the visitor to the contact page. The site will contain several pages clarifying why you are the best speaker for their meeting.
Goal = Art Gallery
Every page will display your artistic talent. The site will include a tour of the available art.

As you can see from the examples, your goal determines the content of the site. As soon as you have your goal, you can quickly gather the content you need for the site. Then you can simply decide on a sensible way to divvy up that content into separate Web pages.


Knowing the target market helps you to decide on the general look for the site. For example, a site aimed at parents of small children will have a fuzzier, cozier look than a site aimed at economists. A site aimed at mothers might use pink liberally, while a site aimed at skateboarders would tend more toward black or neon colors. You want the general appearance of the site and the specific colors used in the design to reflect the tastes of the target market.

The language level of the target market is also important. Stodgy, pedantic writing can work for an academic site, but such writing will turn consumers away. Mothers appreciate warm writing, while the general shopping public just wants clear, concise descriptions.

Think about whether your target market is a consumer market, including a large percentage of AOL users. If so, you are dealing with a number of naïve Internet users. You site must come up immediately in the browser, and it must have no confusion factor. For AOL users, you want to keep the site slim and trim, so that it will load quickly. You also want to keep the site as simple as possible so the each visitor always knows where he is and how he can get where he wants to go. When you have a large number of AOL users, you never want to spend time or money adding the jazzy extras like Flash movies or the latest JavaScript. Viewing such things requires visitors to download a player or to download the very latest browser. Many new Internet users don't know how to do such things, so they simply leave sites requiring extra effort.


When you pull it all together, THE GOAL helps you to determine the focus for the site. THE TARGET MARKET helps you to decide on the colors and the general design of the site, as well as the type of language you'll use. Now you can gather your materials and create a site really aimed at your target market.

~ Copyright 2002 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant., or

* * * * *


December, 2002

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

Mary Embree


Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Advisory Council

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 of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

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, Editor, SPAWNews, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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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