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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, August, 1997- Archives Available


SPAWN's Associate Director, Patricia Fry, can put another notch in her pen in September, when Writer's Market lands on our doorsteps, as the 1998 volume carries one of her articles. SPAWNews was first to report the publication of Fry's article "Looking for a Few Good Ideas?" in Writer's Digest Magazine in January. This article caught the eye of an editor for Writer's Market and the rest, as they say, is history.

What has been the most exciting part of finding out about this publication? "I get a free copy this year!" she laughs. "People ask me all the time if I ever run out of ideas," says Fry. Her response? "Never. There are articles everywhere you go and in everything you do – in your conversations, your thoughts, your experiences, the experiences of others. It's endless."

Fry admits that her favorite assignments are generated from what she doesn't know. She explains, "If it's something I'm curious about, I'll try to get a magazine to pay me to research and write it. What better way to learn how to grow African violets from leaves, or to handle irate customers, or to discover the truth about chain letters, for example?"

One of her curiosity-based assignments took Fry inside a cage at the Denver Zoo to photograph a pair of rare Pallas cats for Cats Magazine. "You never know where you'll find an article idea," says Fry. "I took five grandchildren on Amtrak to San Diego one summer, and this resulted in a piece about traveling with kids for L.A. Parent Magazine. I met a professional storyteller at a Little League game, and wrote a feature piece on storytelling as therapy for The World and I." "Article ideas are everywhere," adds Fry. "All you have to do is pay attention."

Congratulations, Patty, from all of us!


September 27, 1997, 9 a.m. to noon at the Ventura Townehouse Melvin Powers, Publisher/owner of the Wilshire Book Company, will present a seminar on "How To Sell Your Books Using Mail Order Techniques." Powers has sold millions of copies of Psychocybernetics, Think and Grow Rich and the multitude of other titles he has published over the past three decades.

His secret? Mail order! He started young and by the age of 16 was earning $1000 a month. Although the majority of his books are now sold through book stores, he still has many titles that sell primarily through mail order and the Internet.

If you want to learn his secrets to successful book selling, this seminar is a must! Registration and continental breakfast beginning at 9 a.m.. The program starts at 9:30 a.m. sharp!

The fee is $30 for members and $38 for nonmembers. For advance, paid reservations there is a $5 discount.

November 15, 1997, 9 a.m. to noon at the Ventura TowneHouseJoan L. Jones, award-winning fiction and nonfiction author and columnist, teaches writing at UCLA, Cal State Northridge, and Pierce College.

She will present a seminar on "The Cost of Writing Effectively: Making the Right Decisions." Topics covered will include: Do you listen to friends or take good classes? Attend informal critique groups or serious workshops with credentialed leaders? Write what you feel or what you know?

How do you KNOW that you're ABLE to write what you feel? What has this COST you so far in your writing? Rejection and criticism: how do you deal with this significant part of the writing process?


If you would like your name, book titles, and services listed in the new SPAWN Membership Directory, your dues must be received by August 15, the Directory deadline. (Applications are enclosed in this newsletter.)


by Mary Embree

SPAWN is now affiliated with SPAN, Small Publishers Association of North America, in a "Partner Program," thanks to their Executive Director, Marilyn Ross. SPAWN members may join SPAN for only $60, instead of their usual $95 annual membership fee.

SPAN is an excellent organization with a very knowledgeable and experienced Executive Director and staff. We highly recommend them. As a member of SPAN, you receive:

20-page monthly newsletter

Discount on freight

Easy, inexpensive access to Visa and MasterCard merchant status

An annual conference with reduced rates for members

Discounts on products and services; office supplies, trade journals, etc.

Internet Web sites on SPAN's Book Emporium

A cross-referenced membership Directory

Half price for Publishers Weekly subscriptions and ads

For more information, visit SPAN's Website at; send email to; or write them at P.O. Box 1306-NRL, Buena Vista, CO 81211.



The Ventura Chapter meets the third Sunday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Ventura TowneHouse. The guest fee for non-members is $5. The August 17 meeting will feature two lively and informative speakers.

Author, artist, writer, and self-publisher Linda McGinnis has special-ized for a number of years in building a strong client base for her businesses. She will address the importance of targeting a specific market, and how to determine exactly who your target audience is while your book is still in the planning stages, so that it can be designed with that population in mind.

Handwriting Analyst Maurine Moore has worked with crime investigators, and her book about her trade sold more than 1000 copies. She believes her marketing techniques will work for books on any topic. She will speak, aptly enough, on "How To Sell 1000 Books."

At meeting's end, Maurine will be available to discuss handwriting analysis, and to see what creative traits might be evident in individual samples.

The September 21 meeting will feature Irwin Zucker, Founder and Past President of the Book Publicists Association of Southern California. Mr. Zucker's presentation, rich in anecdotes from his years in the book-selling business, will be entitled "Greats and Ingrates."

At the November 16 meeting, Jari Chevalier, published author of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and creator of the Tapping the Innermost VoiceSM writing program, will present an interactive evening of highlights from her courses guaranteed to inspire and galvanize your writing.

Other planned autumn speakers include Ivan Hoffman, an attorney with 30 years' experience in copyrights, contracts, writing and publishing law, and recording and music law. He is the author of the book Internet Law Simplified: An Easy Guide to Making Money, Staying Out of Trouble and Protecting Your Rights. Call Chapter President Kathy Schultz at 805/644-9843 for further information.

Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara Chapter, which meets the second Saturday of each month at 1:30 p.m., has scheduled a series of seminars and special events from August to December. The August, September and December meetings will be held in the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum at 21 W. Anapamu St.

The October and November meetings will be co-hosted by the Contemporary Arts Forum in Paseo Nuevo. Admission is free.

The August 9 meeting highlights "Small Press Options and Opportunities for Writers," with John and Susan Daniel. They founded Daniel & Daniel Publishers Inc. in 1985, have two imprints—John Daniel & Company, and Fithian Press—and publish thirty to forty books each year. Susan Daniel is the president and manager of business, sales and marketing. Formerly, she owned a bookstore on Balboa Island and was sales manager for Capra Press. John M. Daniel is the author of Play Melancholy Baby, a mystery novel; The Woman by the Bridge, a story collec-tion; and One for the Books, a memoir.. His short stories and articles have appeared in over 30 literary magazines, from Aberrations to ZYZZYVA.

The October 11 meeting at the Contemporary Arts Forum will focus on artists, illustrators and art book publish-ing.

The November 8 meeting, also at CAF, will feature a lecture/performance "Breaking Age Barriers and Uniting Literary, Visual and Performing Arts" by Helena Hale, whose One-Woman Theatre is acclaimed internationally.

The December meeting at the Karpeles Library will be a "Holiday Exhibition of Books, Arts and Services." SPAWN members are invited to talk about and display their publications, art works and services. Items will be available for purchase.

To partici-pate in the "Holiday Exhibition" and for additional information, call Santa Barbara Chapter President Andora Hodgin at 805/962-4680.

Conejo Valley

The Conejo Valley Chapter meets the third Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at 29376 Mulholland Hwy. in Agoura. The guest fee is $5.

The August 18 meeting will focus on advertising, promotion, and publicity, as speaker David Segal shares his many years of experience in the business.

In September, Dan Poynter, author and guru of self-publishing, marketing and promotion, will be the speaker. For further information, contact Chapter President Louise Cabral at 818/707-0589.


Our Novice Computer Users group is getting organized. We focus on those over age 55 but welcome anyone who is just beginning. Please call Ruth Hibbard at 805/654-1294, or email her at


Freelance writers sometimes have had to learn the hard way that there can be a range of options clients want, require, or are willing to accept in a contract. The Author's Guild offers a book of contract information for $90 which includes sample contracts for book authors. The Guild is at 330 W. 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036, 212/563-5904, Fax 212/564-5363.

The Guild and many contract consultants recommend discussing your requirements and those of the client before signing a contract. You may have to reword a standard contract prepared by the client but mutually satisfactory changes can be agreed upon.

As freelancers who have graduated from the School of Hard Knocks will attest, if contract wording becomes a sticking point, it might be best to decline the project. It is best for writers to take respon-sibility for the practicality of their con-tracts. In this regard, many write their own sample contracts and then have an attorney approve them. This way, you have something to present to the client as your own standard. If a client's contract seems unusual, question your attorney about it.

Some basic issues might include:

A clear description of the service you will provide

Number and extent of rewrites

Due dates for rewrites and for client's response

Final deadline

Specifics of hourly rate if charges are hourly

In the case of a fixed fee, details of what is expected (time, expenses, revisions)

Payment schedule

Late fees or penalties if payment schedule is not met

Inclusion of a 'kill fee' in the event the project is suddenly ended

Copyright: who gets the rights, you or the client (critical in the Internet Age)

Confidentiality Issues of technical liability: who will be responsible, you or the client?

An agreed-upon outline.

Other issues that may need to be contractually addressed include specifics about background sources, particularly in jobs involving the conduct of research. Also, you may want to include in the contract exactly who the client is. Although this might seem obvious in the warm glow of a new project, some writers have had the client approve their work, only to have it 'disapproved' later by the client's spouse, boss, or attorney. It can become important to make sure you know whose okay is necessary before you will get paid.


Publisher' Marketing Association (PMA) offers reduced membership rates to SPAWN members. The $80 annual fee is only $54 for SPAWNers. PMA is a trade association representing independent publishers in the U.S. and Canada, whose interests they advocate and advance by offering cooperative marketing and educational programs.

PMA offers seminars and publications addressing marketing, book design, editing, legal contracts and copyrights, sales, finance, publicity, and electronic reprint rights on the Internet, and every other possible topic of interest to small publishers.

PMA members may participate in PMA's many convention exhibits. Call, fax, or write PMA at 627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, 310/372-2732, Fax 310/374-3342 to enroll.


Writer, narrator, and commercial voice artist Janice Birlenbach delighted the February Santa Barbara Chapter meeting with tales of her technical, artistic, and logistical adventures producing audiotapes of Beatrice Wood's story Madam Lola's Pleasure Palace. More writers will face similar challenges as multimedia outlets for authorship proliferate.

SPAWN's Webmaster Virginia Lawrence keeps members updated on novels getting published on the Internet, and this month, bookstores in cyberspace. For the dinosaurs amongst writers' ranks who cannot imagine publishing a book anyplace except between two covers, this is daunting stuff. Can old dogs be taught new tricks? You can lead a horse to water, but can you broaden his horizons?

In his book Introduction to Computers and Information Systems (Prentice-Hall, 1994) Larry Long writes that the term "multimedia generates almost as much confusion as excitement." As a buzzword for the 90's, it has few peers. Writers who can branch out to new markets may be able to capture larger, more diverse audiences.

For example, a computerized information kiosk has presided in recent years at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Users can call up biographies, photos, and performance videos of all the performers.. All those bios have to be written—by writers—before they can be programmed into these types of kiosks. CD-ROM disk software titles that combine education and entertainment include talking dictionaries, books of quotations, encyclopedias, and celebrity and historical figure biographies—all of which have to be generated by writers before they appear anyplace else.

Although the term multimedia may seem confusing or fearsome at first, willing writers can benefit from new technologies.


by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Online bookstores are becoming more important in book marketing plans. If you are selling your book in bookstores, you should be sure to place the book in one or more online stores as well. ( is the biggest and most well-known bookstore, carrying more than 2.5 million books. even lists some out-of-print books.

Facing stiff competition from Barnes & Noble, continues to expand inventory and services. had a strong presence at BookExpo in Chicago, and the company has just signed a ground-breaking contract with America Online. Under the new agreement, AOL will display lists of books related to topics being discussed or defined online, and those book titles will link back to their sales pages at knows how to maximize the characteristics of the Web, so that bookstore is a good bet to remain the biggest and most popular online bookstore with the highest revenue. Is your book in Yes it is, if your book is being distributed by any of the largest distributors. If you have no distributor, don't despair. You can still register your book with, starting at

There is currently no charge for the listing. Your book will be available for sale 24 hours per day, listed as a slow-ship book.

After placing with, you should look to the other online bookstores. Many of those listed below do not solicit new listings, but you may find it worthwhile to talk them into carrying your book.

Book Stacks Unlimited ( has about 450,000 titles. Book Stacks is interested in adding new titles from small publishers. This site presents various author events to help increase sales. For information, email Ken Evans at

Books Now, The Virtual Bookstore ( has about 400,000 titles.

Booksmith ( has about 45,000 titles. The site includes a Webzine showcasing writing by employees and customers.

CBooks Express (http://www.cbooks.html) has thousands of computer books.

Cherry Valley Books ( has books for children and parents. They review every single book listed in their site.

A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books ( carries more than 100,000 titles.

The Internet Bookshop ( carries about 900,000 titles.

SciTech Source ( carries science, technology and medical titles.

Wordsworth ( carries about 2.5 million titles and promotes authors. Wordsworth advertises, "We can get any title that's in print, do out-of-print searches for those hard-to-find books, ship them anywhere in the world." Wordsworth may be a good second online outlet for your books.

Remember that the online bookstores are tremendous resources for research. They provide the fastest databases for finding publication dates, lists of books by a particular author, and lists of books on any topic. Be sure to keep the online bookstores in mind whenever you have a question concerning published books.

~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer, editor and professional Webmaster who specializes in the presentation of information in both print and online.



by Barbara Royce Extract "Making A Living, Waiting For Fame" (July 1997 SPAWNews) by Jim Lane, was a very good article and I agree with most of what he says—until the last paragraph where he advises that writers write and produce brochures and other promotional materials for businesses.

Being able to write is not all one needs to produce effective promotional material that will sell a client's product or service. In addition to being able to write, that takes an understanding of marketing, sales, brochure mechanics, and the ability to do marketing research. It needs an understanding of the competition, the client's position in his industry, and most particularly, the specific audience to whom it is written—a knowledge of what they desire in this kind of product or service.

Then one has to understand the principles of layout, and how to get the RIGHT message across in a way it can't be missed. It also requires a thorough understanding of the preproduction and printing processes, because you can waste many, many dollars of a client's money by designing something in a way that creates a complex printing problem.

Marketing is a skill which is developed through training and experience. I don't think it serves the business client well to encourage writers—who can write but may not be experienced in marketing—to promote them. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to sh


compiled by Frances Halpern Writer's Guild of America West, 7000 W. 3rd Street., Los Angeles, CA 90048, or 8955 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90048. Phone: 213/951-4000. Fax: 213/782-4800. Provides lists of agents (for a small fee) who are signatories of the Guild and are licensed to represent film and television writers as well as literary properties. Writer's Guild of America East, 555 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019. Phone: 212/767-7800. Fax: 212/582-1909.

Books for the Writer's Library

The Portable Writer's Conference, edited by Stephen Mettee (Quill Driver Books). If not in bookstores, order at 800/497-4909.

How To Promote You and Your Book, by Richard F.X. O'Connor.

Become A Richer Writer by Gene Perret (Jester Press)

How To Write Attention Grabbing Query and Cover Letters by John Wood.

Frances Halpern is an author, Los Angeles Times columnist, and co-host of KCLU's Radio's program for and about writers, "Beyond Words" To Read or Not To Read (that is the question) by Roni*

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of an outrageous audience or to take up your book and read in this sea of people; and by opposing your fears, end them. To read, perchance to flop! Aye, there's the rub. However, to grunt and sweat under the weary life of writing, and not to taste the victory of applause and sales, is that a life worth living, pray tell? For in that sleep of death wherein authors will not read, how may dreams come true before we have shuffled off this mortal coil? This thought must give us pause.

Okay, I apologize to Shakespeare for borrowing some of his powerful prose to try to inspire you authors to greater feats of expression. The truth is we need a kick in the rear end, or else we will never leave our TV couch or computer chair. Those of you with books in your hot little hands have the battle half won. Now all you need to do is get someone to let you read it to an audience. Bookstores, club meetings, church groups, coffee shops, street corners (just kidding), retirement communities, and restaurant/bars really do want someone to create a little noise and entertainment for them, especially during those middle-of-the-week dull moments.

The bottom line is we've got to get our material out there or else people won't know it exists so they can buy it. When I talked to Sherill Leonardi (Community Relations Coordinator at Borders Books in Thousand Oaks), she confirmed what I had learned from experience. Books don't sell well if an author simply sits and signs books. Sherill encourages authors to DO something to engage an audience, such as, lead a discussion, read from their book, or perform in some way.

I realize some books are easier to represent than others, but there is usually some aspect of a book that can be utilized. For instance, SPAWN's Mary Embree has led discussions on the unique, special problems women have quitting smoking based on her book, A Woman's Way: The Stop Smoking Book For Women. SPAWN member Gerald Schiller could read from his mystery Deadly Dreams, and talk about how to create a mystery plot. SPAWN's Conejo Valley Chapter President Louise Cabral lectures on how important it is to write one's life story based on her book Islands of Recall. I do dramatic performances of the poetry in my book Sensuous Cinema of My Mind. You get the idea. In the final analysis, it is the author who must sell his or her book. Will you read or not read: what will it be? Choose, like Shakespeare, to produce "a rhapsody of words, a hit, a very palpable hit," and you will make a sale as well. Roni* will be reading poetry from her book on Wednesday, August 13, at Borders Books, 125 W. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks, at 7 p.m. are these thoughts.



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