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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, June 1998 - Archives Available

A Message from the Executive Director

I will be stepping down as the Executive Director of SPAWN as of June 30, 1998 to devote more time to my literary consulting business and my writing. As its founder and Executive Director, I have been dedicated to bringing people together who can learn from each other, exchange ideas and help themselves and others realize their goals. However, SPAWN wouldn't have lasted past the first meeting if it hadn't been for the selfless dedication of those who have volunteered their expertise, services and time. Our members have been responsible for building SPAWN's supportive networking environment; they have been teachers and students, mentors and friends, inspiring speakers and good listeners. I have met wonderfully interesting and creative people through SPAWN and formed great friendships, some of which I'm sure will last a lifetime. My work with SPAWN has been professionally rewarding and immensely gratifying. But it is time now for new leadership and new ideas. We have not yet filled the position of Executive Director. As this is still an all-volunteer organization, it requires a leader who is willing and able to take the time to direct SPAWN's activities, pursue the nonprofit designation and grants, and move it forward into the new millennium. I can say from my own personal experience that the job of directing SPAWN can be a joyful, exhilarating, and highly educational adventure. I have learned more in two years about writing, editing, designing, printing and publishing books than I thought possible. I have also made important professional contacts that I never would have made otherwise. Please contact me if you would be interested in the position of Executive Director or if you know of someone who will be willing to assume those duties.  According to Webster's, networking is "the informal sharing of information and services among individuals or groups linked by a common interest." We certainly have common interests but it may require more active networking from a lot of members for us to be successful in taking SPAWN to its next level. If there are enough people who are dedicated to making it work, we can do it. It's really up to all of us! ~ Mary Embree

~ Mary Embree

Chapter News

Santa Barbara Chapter

June 13: SPAWN presents "SUCCESSFUL FICTION PUBLISHING AND MARKETING," a seminar and discussion led by SPAWN members Harriet Robins Ackert and Diana M. Johnson. These knowledgeable and inspiring novelists will discuss and answer questions concerning opportunities for self- and co-publishing, as well as a variety of effective marketing techniques. Harriet Robins Ackert is the author of two novels, "Prodigal Souls" and "The Misbegotten" and has written and published numerous articles, brochures, bulletins, essays, and "Write-On," the daily newsletter of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, simultaneously running her own firm, Harriet Ackert, Public Relations Consultant. She brings a broad background of practical experience to campaign development and production. She is also an authority on self-publication for fiction writers. Ms. Ackert will have a book signing of "Prodigal Souls" on Sunday, June 7, at 3 p.m. at the Earthling Bookshop in Santa Barbara. Diana M. Johnson is the author/publisher of "Destiny's Godchild," a novel of intrigue and enchantment in Frankish Gaul. She was a First Place winner in the California Writers Club Short Story Contest, Contest Winner in Travel Holiday Magazine, and the Jack London Award winner in the California Writers Club.

"Daughter of Joy" author JoAnn Levy has said: "Diana Johnson's passion for medieval French history shines through on every page of 'Destiny's Godchild.' Her meticulous research makes this a fresh and inventive story for readers not only of fiction. . .a winner." Eve Carram, Professor of Creative Writing at UCLA, commented: "A beautifully lucid style makes "Detiny's Godchild" a pleasure to read. . .clearly written, briskly paced, with an interesting central character who gives the reader an unusual slant on the history of the period." Diana Johnson will have a book signing of "Destiny's Godchild" on June 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the Earthling Bookshop.

The Santa Barbara chapter meets at 1:30 p.m. on the 2nd Saturday of the month at the Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum, 21 W. Anapamu Street.

For more information, please call Santa Barbara Chapter President Andora Hodgin at (805) 962-4680

Ventura Chapter

There will be no Ventura Chapter meeting in June.

Conejo Valley Chapter

There will be no Conejo Valley Chapter meeting in June.

Important Meeting for All SPAWN Members

SUNDAY, JUNE 14

All SPAWN members are requested to attend a meeting vital to SPAWN's future at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 14 at Mary Embree's home, 1375 Poli Street, #14, in Ventura. Plans for new leadership, organization, and opportunities for involvement will be discussed. Your input is essential to the effectiveness of this meeting. SPAWN is celebrating more than two years of success and major innovative accomplishments. Since its creation by Founder/Exeutive Director Mary Embree, SPAWN has established three chapters and has presented over one hundred lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and seminars in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and Conejo Valley. Distinguished authors, poets, artists, publishers, publicists, and marketing experts, including many SPAWN members, have been featured. Countless people have been reached and helped professionally and personally by SPAWN through events, consultations, publications, radio, and SPAWNews, and at special, ongoing SPAWN gatherings, such as the Santa Barbara Writers Circle, the Marketing Committee, and the Creativity Salon. Most of this has been accomplished by volunteers. Now SPAWN is entering a new phase of organization and development. Mary Embree and Santa Barbara Chapter President Andora Hodgin are leaving their current positions. Both will continue their deep commitment to SPAWN, Mary as President of the Board of Directors and Andora as a member of the Advisory Council. These changes provide worthwhile opportunities for new leadership and rewarding involvement of members at many levels. We look forward to seeing you at the Meeting for SPAWN's Future on Sunday, June 14.

On A Personal Note

by Hal Ranzenhofer

When Mary Embree asked me to assume the editorship of SPAWNews, my instinctive reaction was to refuse. For all of my life I had been responsible to my parents, teachers, various commanding officers in the Army, college instructors, employers, and a wonderful wife who later on developed a debilitating, chronic illness. Upon retirement two years ago, I vowed never again to be responsible for anything or to anyone, except myself. Since then, I have refused two jobs which I could easily have handled, but would mean the responsibility of reporting to certain places at a certain times, to say nothing of meeting deadlines. I joined SPAWN because I am a writer, who was curious about the process of publishing one's finished work, assuming one ever finished anything. Having attended almost all of the SPAWN meetings, I found them exhilarating and instructive.

For several days, I thought about Mary's offer pretty intensely. And the more I thought about it, the more attractive it appeared. So, here I am, hoping to maintain the high standard that this newsletter has enjoyed over the past years. Thank you in advance for your support.

BOOK REVIEW

Judith Applebaum's How to Get Happily Published, Harper Perennial, ISBN 0-06-273509-8, 400 pages, $14.00, is another one of those books for those of you writers who are starting, in the middle of, or just finishing a work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, essay, or whatever, and haven't a clue as to the problems and politics of getting your work published. The book is not discouraging in the least, although the publishing process can be a daunting one. She has organized the material in such a way as to resemble a set of step-by-step instructions for dealing with agents and publishers, and those whose sole aim is to find reasons for rejecting manuscripts.

But, take heart. Ms. Applebaum also outlines the procedures for self-publishing: editing, printing, binding, art, and the price you should ask for your book.

How to Get Happily Published is in its fifth edition and introduces the reader to the latest attitudes and protocols to be found in the publishing industry. There are up-to-date listings of resources: people to contact, media, and Internet sites.

The book is recommended as a thorough research work on the publishing industry and as an encouraging, entertainingly-written lesson in getting starting in writing and publishing your work.

~ HDR

Member News

Your attention is directed to the very last page of the May-June issue of the American Association of Retired Persons' (AARP's) magazine, Modern Maturity. There you will find an amusing article by one of SPAWN's directors, Jim Lane, on his mother's use of "dawdle," "lollygag," and "dilly-dally" when he was young. Also "rambunctious," "obstreperous," "cantankerous," and other words and phrases whose use has fallen out of favor as our language has progressed (moved, rather) toward the graphic and obscene. Anyway, read the article, and get a kick out of Jim's bewitchment with the use of words and language.

Selling Books Online

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

While you are planning your Web site as a sales vehicle, be sure to remember your buying public at all times. Yes, the site offers your books and your opinions, but the site should be aimed at your buyer. Keep these vital Web site characteristics in mind.

Recognition

You want to avoid any confusion and be absolutely sure that the browsing public can recognize your site as an important destination. Use short, concise paragraphs to tell viewers who you are and why they should find your site interesting. The people who are accessing your site need descriptive information telling them why this site is important in their area of interest.

That concept sounds so basic that we expect every site developer to comply. Unfortunately, Web site developers can become so immersed in adding new resources to their sites that they lose their unifying theme. Just last week, a small company marketing educational software asked for a review of their site, because it was not generating many orders. What did I find? Well, the first page of the site simply did not inform viewers that the site offered educational software. The first page was full of various types of links, and the software link was just one of the pack. The page did not state that the site offers outstanding software for educators, so visitors didn't know.

Most people won't bother trying to figure out the goal of a site. If a person finds a site confusing, he leaves. To avoid confusion, we must clearly display our raison d'etre, who we are and why we are the best source for these particular books.

Simplicity

Everything must be easy for the user. The site architecture must make it easy for a potential buyer to find the books that interest him. The buyer needs easy links so that he can browse the site comfortably. This means that a publisher with a long list of books should categorize the books so that people can first browse among the categories, then within a category.

Effortless Ordering

After finding a book, the user must be able to order the book easily. This means that site developers must evaluate every step we are requiring of the buyer. If he can read about the book, then click on the link to the interactive order form or to the amazon.com page, he can order the book immediately. The order form displays the name of the book and the price, so we have omitted any roadblocks in the ordering process. We have made ordering as effortless as possible.

In contrast, publishers and bookstores offering books online since the first years of the public Internet were faced with extremely high prices for true interactive ordering. They couldn't afford the outrageous development fees of that time, so they built online stores which required some dedication from the buyer. A buyer could read about a book, but then he had to write down the name of the book and the price. Finally, he printed out the order form, filled out the printed form with a pen, and faxed the form to the publisher. Such sites are losing orders today, because they are placing too many requirements on the buyer.

Summary

Try to develop a naïve eye for evaluating your Web site plans. Is the concept clear to someone seeing the site for the first time? Can the potential buyer easily find the book he needs? Is the ordering process effortless? Review your plans, improve them now, and you'll reap the rewards later.

Spawn Santa Barbara Writers Circle

The Writers Circle is for members of any level who seek a safe place to read and give feedback. Please bring something to read. Each member is given 20 minutes. This includes the reading and time for members to critique. Bring 5 copies of your work.

Meetings are the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m. at 515 Red Rose Lane #1. For more information call Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174; or Email her at dallas@silcom.com.

SPAWN Creativity Salon

Molly and Ed Rockey's potluck Creativity Salon on May 22 was absolutely wonderful. There were nine of us just sitting there and talking. Talk about good conversation! The feature of the evening, apart from the delicious food, was Ed's idea to have someone start a story and stop in midsentence. Then the next person took it up. One can get an idea of a person's thought processes, to say nothing of his own, by engaging in such cerebral stuff. The subject of writers' block was discussed at length. After everyone's attempt to define it, we concluded that so-called writers' block is different for everyone. Some writers never admit to having it; some claim there is no such thing. In any case, the evening was most entertaining. The June salon is on Friday, the 26th at 6 o'clock at Mary Embree's, 1675 Poli Street, #14, Ventura. Again, it will be potluck. Please call Mary at 805/643-2403 for more information and directions. Come and bring your mind.

SPAWNews is published by

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002

Website: http://www.spawn.org

Telephone & Fax: 805/643-2403

Mary Ellen Cresswell

Executive Director, SPAWN

Email: suregrafix@aol.com

Hal Ranzenhofer

Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216

Email: halrider@aol.com

Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster

Email: virginia@cognitext.com

Dallas Glenn

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter

Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter

Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Jim Lane

Writer, Publisher

Vice President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

John C. Woodward, Esq.

Attorney at Law

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

Marcia Grad-Powers

Author, Senior Editor, Publishing

Melvin Powers

Author, Publisher

MISSION STATEMENT

To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

NEXT CHAPTER MEETINGS OF SPAWN

SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER: Saturday, July 11, 1:30 p.m.

Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara Directions: 101 Freeway to Carrillo, right on Carrillo, left on Chapala, right on Anapamu. (Parking in back, off Chapala, just before Anapamu.)

Guest donation: $5

VENTURA COUNTY CHAPTER: No meeting in July and August!

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year.

Spouses of members may join for half of the fee. Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers. Members receive SPAWNews as part of their membership.

JULY SPAWNews

A New, Exciting Team for SPAWN

by Mary Embree

I am delighted to announce that we have a new Executive Director and a new Santa Barbara Chapter President (now called the Santa Barbara County Chapter). We have put the Ventura and Conejo Valley Chapters together and are now calling it the Ventura County Chapter—and we have a new president for that chapter, too.

Mary Ellen Cresswell becomes Executive Director of SPAWN as of July 1. An artist and a writer, she also brings with her a wealth of experience in nonprofit organizations. Mary and I have met with each other and with the Leadership Committee, and the transition is progressing smoothly. She is enthusiastic about continuing SPAWN according to its stated mission but with a commitment to making it an even more viable organization. She can be

reached at 805/496-3056; her email address is suregrafix@aol.com.

Dallas Glenn, who has organized and conducts SPAWN's Santa Barbara Writers Circle, will become the President of the Santa Barbara County Chapter.

Dallas is a published writer and the former publisher/owner of The Chicago Connection magazine. A public relations specialist, she also has experience as a board member and vice president of a nonprofit organization. Her phone number is 805/899-1174 and email is dallas@silcom.com.

Carol Doering is the new President of the Ventura County Chapter. Carol has been active in SPAWN, volunteering her services in a number of capacities over the past two years. She is also an active member of other writer's organizations and will be helping to blend and coordinate SPAWN activities with those of other groups, leading us into exciting and productive new directions. Call her at 805/493-1081.

Leadership Committee

The following members attended our organizational meeting on June 14: Imogene Bercaw, Mary Cresswell, Carol Doering, Mary Embree, Patricia Fry, Dallas Glenn, Bob Keats, Teddi Knight, Virginia Lawrence, Patrick O'Kelly, Hal Ranzenhofer, and Roni Tagliaferri. Everyone contributed suggestions and those who could, volunteered to help with the new leadership of SPAWN. A Leadership Committee was formed and another meeting is scheduled for Sunday, June 28. At the time this newsletter went to press, that meeting had not yet taken place.

We could use more people in our Leadership Committee to help in the planning and implementation of our goals. As Mary Cresswell says, "You can't have too many volunteers." If you are available to contribute any time whatsoever, even if it's only an hour or two a month, please contact Mary C. or your chapter presidents and let them know.

Spawn Santa Barbara Writers Circle

The Writers Circle is for members of any level who seek a safe place to read and give feedback. Meetings are the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month, 6 to 8 p.m. at 515 Red Rose Lane #1. For more information call Dallas Glenn

at 805/899-1174; or Email her at dallas@silcom.com.

NOTE: Please contact Mary Embree at 805/643-2403; Email embreelitservice@aol.com for date and location of the next Creativity Salon.

Chapter News

Ventura County Chapter

The Conejo Valley and Ventura chapters have merged and have become the Ventura County Chapter of SPAWN. There will be no Ventura County Chapter meetings in July and August. Carol Doering is the new chapter president. For information on future meetings or to volunteer to help with chapter business, please contact her at 805/493-1081.

Santa Barbara County Chapter

July 11, 1:30 p.m. at Karpeles Manuscript Library & Museum: The chapter presents Beverley Jackson's Adventures with Agents and Publishers, a talk with the renowned columnist, author, lecturer, civic activist and bon vivant who will share her experiences in the publication of her acclaimed book Splendid Slippers—A Thousand Years of an Erotic Tradition. And does she have stories to tell! A long-time featured columnist for the Santa Barbara News-Press and the Santa Barbara Independent, Beverley is currently a freelance writer for English and American magazines. She lectures widely and is active in local charities and worthwhile projects. For information or to help out at chapter meetings, call chapter president Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174.

H al Ranzenhofer, who we call "Mr. SPAWNews" because he's not only Editor of the newsletter, he folds, stamps, labels and mails it, has recently undergone triple bypass surgery. He is recovering very well, according to

our spies.

To help speed his healing and get him back home soon, you might want to let him know that we miss him by sending him a get-well-soon card c/o Dr. & Mrs. Robert Gordon, 10015 Bayou Glen, Houston, TX 77042.

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Founder and President

Jim Lane

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Secretary

John C. Woodward, Esq.

Treasurer

Frances Halpern

Marsha Karpeles

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Marcia Grad-Powers

Melvin Powers

Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Mary Ellen Cresswell

Executive Director, SPAWN

Telephone: 805/496-3056

Email: suregrafix@aol.com

SPAWNews is published by

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002

Website: http://www.spawn.org

Fax: 805/643-2403

Hal Ranzenhofer, Editor

Telephone: 805/984-3216

Email: halrider@aol.com

Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster

Email: virginia@cognitext.com

Dallas Glenn

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter

Telephone: 805/899-1174

Email: dallas@silcom.com

Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter

Telephone: 805/493-1081

MISSION STATEMENT

To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.

NEXT CHAPTER MEETINGS OF SPAWN

SANTA BARBARA CHAPTER: Saturday, July 11, 1:30 p.m.

Karpeles Manuscript Library, 21 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara Directions: 101 Freeway to Carrillo, right on Carrillo, left on Chapala, right on Anapamu. (Parking in back, off Chapala, just before Anapamu.)

Guest donation: $5

VENTURA COUNTY CHAPTER: No meetings in July and August!

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year.

Spouses of members may join for half of the fee.

Subscriptions to SPAWNews are $15 per year for nonmembers.

Members receive SPAWNews as part of their membership.

       

 

 

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