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SPAWNews, March 1998 - Archives Available


May The Best Pen Win

The National League of American Pen Women's Simi Valley, CA, branch is conducting it's annual Dorothy Daniels Writing Award Competition. All writers are eligible except Simi Valley branch members, interns, and their immediate families.

The poetry maximum is 50-lines; fiction is 2000 words, and nonfiction is 1500 words. Prizes of $100 will be awarded in each category. The postmark deadline for submissions is July 30, 1998. Fees are $3 for each poem and $5 for each story or article. For complete rules, send a SASE to NLAPW-SVB Contest Rules, P.O. Box 1485, Simi Valley, CA 93062.

The 1998 Margaret Mead Journalism Award for Reporting on Postmenopausal Health is being sponsored by the Eli Lilly Company and the American Medical Writers Association. Entry deadline is July 31, 1998 and any articles published from January 1, 1997 through December 31, 1997 are eligible. Two $1500 awards will be given: one for a professional/trade article and one for a consumer article.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead coined the phrase "menopausal zest" and contributed greatly to the understanding of women's health issues. In her spirit, the Margaret Mead Journalism Award for Reporting on Postmenopausal Health recognizes excellence in print reporting and contributions to the understanding of women's health issues.

Entry forms can be obtained from: Rebecca Novak, Cohn and Wolfe Healthcare, 225 Park Avenue South, 17th Floor, New York, New York.


The Children's Writers Retreat '98, sponsored by the Ventura/Santa Barbara Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, will be held March 13-15, 1998 at the historic Old Mission in Santa Barbara, CA. "Filling The Well of Creativity" is this year's theme.

Faculty will include editors, illustrators, computer instructors, and booksellers. For information, call Alexis at 805/581-1906.


The ISBN Agency recently reported that more than 7,000 new publishers launch their businesses each year. In celebration, March has been designated "Small Press Month."

As mergers and conglomerates continue to incorporate major New York publishing houses, the independent sector thrives. While some small publishers begin and end quickly, many survive to join the ranks of small- to mid-sized presses.

The Small Publishers Association of North America (SPAN) is a SPAWN affiliate. SPAN's annual membership dues are $95, but SPAWN members can join SPAN for a reduced rate of $60.

"This is where it's happening in publishing today," says SPAN's Executive Director Marilyn Ross. "Exciting new books are being generated and mid-list authors, no longer welcome at Publisher's Row, are finding new homes." Small presses are willing to nurture good writers and risk taking on unusual subjects. In this way they provide reading fare to the American public that is not available anywhere else.

For further information, visit SPAN online at, email them at, or write to: P.O. Box 1306, 425 Cedar Street, Buena Vista, CO 81211-1306; 719/395-4790; fax 719/395-8374.

Calling All Artists

The Ventura County Museum of History together with the Arts Assembly of the Arts Invitational, will sponsor a "Landscape In Art" exhibit from June 27 to September 6, 1998, in Ventura. Artists interested in submitting work should call 805/653-0323 for further information.

Ventura's Mid-Town Community Council is planning Mid-Town Artwalk and Gallery Tour on Saturday, May 9, 1998. To participate, please call Dan Long at 805/653-6573.

SPAWN Marketing Committee

On Sunday, February 22, SPAWN held its first Marketing Committee Meeting for self-publishers at the home of Mary Embree in Ventura. We shared our experiences, successes and frustrations in promoting and marketing our books, and discussed ways to improve sales.

Although we didn't find a "magic wand" we did come up with some interesting ideas for working together in ways that would be beneficial for all authors/self-publishers. We also set a date for the next meeting of the Committee. It is Sunday, March 22, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Ventura and is open to members and their guests only. Please call 805-643-2403 for address and directions.

During January, all three chapters held roundtable discussions about how SPAWN could better meet members' needs and goals. The topic of facilitating and enhancing networking opportunities was often mentioned. Another major concern was how to promote, market and distribute books. Self-publishers sometimes do not have the expertise to get out the word about their books to the book-buying public. Even authors who have been published by experienced, established publishers need assistance in promotion and marketing. Our Committee meetings will address these needs.

Please keep in touch with your chapter presidents and let them know how SPAWN can meet your needs with respect to publishing projects. The direction SPAWN takes can greatly benefit from member input. If you have ideas for future speakers, or if there is any particular speaker you would like to hear, let your presidents know. If you have ideas about informational seminars, please let us know.


Barnes and Noble offers 'Educator's Discounts' to K-12 teachers of 20% for titles used in the classroom.

Non-profit institutions, libraries, schools, and civic groups can get a 20% discount off purchases of $1-$999, and 25% off purchases of more than $1000.

Corporations and businesses are eligible for discounts of 20% off purchases of $25-$999, and 25% off purchases of more than $1000..

All customers are eligible for a 20% discount on purchases of 30-249 copies, and 25% off 250-999 copies. Greater discounts are applied to purchases of 1000 or more copies of a single title.

Discount cards are available upon request.


by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Should you join a general-purpose Internet mall (called 'I-malls') or go independent? The correct answer depends on your budget, your goals, and the amount of time you want to spend working on your site.

Internet-Mall Sites

Sites within general-purpose I-malls go up quickly. They are usually inexpensive and usually not as successful as well-marketed independent sites. Here are a few reasons:

  1. Surfers seldom go to I-malls just to see what's there (the way we go to real-world malls.)
  2. Even if someone goes to an online mall, it could take him/her a long time to find the mall store carrying Swiss Army Knives, for example.
  3. The easiest way to get information about something, or to find a place to buy it online, is to use one or more search engines. You can type in "Swiss Army Knife" and get an astounding amount of information. You can certainly find a place to purchase the knives.
  4. If you join an I-mall as a sub-site without your own domain name, you probably cannot get your site listed in the search engines separately. The engines are starting to freeze registrations of sub-sites under large general sites.
  5. I have seen malls advertising breathlessly that they get 1 million hits per year. Well, that's the entire mall, not just a single site. Good marketing can pull in 1 million hits per year on an independent site.

There are some higher quality I-malls where the mall is dedicated to a general topic, and their sub-sites include e-commerce capability. You have to sort the wheat from the chaff, so be sure to evaluate the complete package of services offered by any I-mall.

Independent Sites

You really need a domain name if you want to do business on the Web. A domain name helps you to make a professional appearance, and it is crucial in getting listed in every search engine.

If you decide to set up an independent site, your first consideration is your domain name. Go to to find out whether your preferred domain name is still unclaimed. If no one has yet registered the domain name, you can register the name there and use it.

Your Web designer will usually recommend a Web hosting service and register your domain name for you. If you prefer to create your own site, you'll choose a Web hosting service and specify your domain name when you sign up.

Companies offering Web hosting services are actually renting space on their computers to you for your Web site. They are also providing technical services to keep the computers running, along with fast connections so that your pages will download reasonably quickly. Their geographical location does not matter too much, since you will be sending your files over the Internet by FTP.

How can we choose a Web hosting service? We will discuss that in future columns.

~ Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster, is a technical writer both in print and online, editor and professional webmaster. She is at, or SPAWN's Website,


Meetings of the SPAWN Santa Barbara Writers Circle are held twice monthly on Sunday evenings. The Circle is for SPAWN members of any level—beginner or published—who seek a safe place to read and give feedback. Nonmembers may attend one free introductory meeting.

Meetings are the first and third Sundays of each month from 4 - 6 p.m., at Closets Etc., 619 E. Guiterrez, #E (in the back), Santa Barbara.

Please bring something to read. Time allotted for each member is 20 minutes. This includes the reading and time for members to critique. Bring 5 copies of your work.

For further information contact The Circle's facilitator Dallas Glenn at 805/899-1174, or at


If you write anything that pertains to the ocean, its environs or the history of human interaction with it, SALT Magazine Editors are ready to accept submissions. The target audience is people who are "absolutely barmy about the ocean and can't get enough of it."

SALT premiers this month, and will publish nonfiction articles about marine biology or water sports, fiction, and poetry. Submissions must be double-spaced and include a SASE. The editors also welcome book reviews. Articles should be 1500 words or less, and pay will range from $50 to $100 depending on length. Feature stories of 3000 words may also be considered.

For further information, call SALT at 805/652-0973, or write to: SALT, 283 N. Brent Street, Ventura, CA 93003.



SPAWN member Dan Poynter's Para Publishing Company maintains a website at http://www. ParaPublishing. com., that is a treasure trove of publishing and promoting resources.

Over 450 pages of tips, research help and leads have been compiled by Poynter, author of Is There A Book Inside You? and The Self-Publishing Manual, including information about book design, typesetting, printing, contracts and publishing law, wholesalers and distributors, news releases, direct mail techniques, radio and TV interviews, mailing lists, and shipping.

SPAWN member Diana M. Johnson will speak at the Ventura Chapter SPAWN meeting on March 15, and at the Northridge Barnes & Noble Bookstore, 8800 Tampa Avenue, on March 8, 1998 and the title of her talk is "From Manuscript to Published Novel." Diana has established her own publishing enterprise, the Superior Book Publishing Company, P.O. Box 8312, Van Nuys, CA 91409. Superior's first offering is her novel Destiny's Godchild, a story of intrigue and enchantment set in Frankish Gaul. The plot concerns the young Egar, whose destiny is foretold by a 'Master' who predicts to him that "your life will change the course of Frankish history."

Diana is currently booking speaking engagements for 1998/99; she is available to appear at educational, organizational or commercial events and address the following topics: adventures in self-publishing, how she came to write Destiny's Godchild, how she researches and organizes material for historical novels, and why this particular story intrigued her.

Diana will be hosting a seminar entitled "Adventures in Self-Publishing" at the California Writers Club (CWC), San Fernando Valley Branch, on March 7, 1998, and at the CWC Writers Conference at Asilomar, CA on June 27, 1998. Founded by Jack London,CWC is the oldest and largest writers club in California.

For further details, contact Diana at 818-894-7903 or at Superior's website is at

The results of SPAWNer Shara Rendell-Smock's "Scream of the Crop Humor and Jokes Contest" are posted on her website at (site closed as of 12-31-98), under "Details, Reviews, and a Book Give-Away Contest." The jokes of the three winners and numerous runner-ups are posted. Shara's weekly column continues to be on view at http://www.

SPAWNer, poet and author of the Sensuous Cinema Of My Mind collection, Roni continues to be featured on "Beyond Words," KCLU 88.3 FM radio's Sunday program for and about writers and writing, from 10 a.m.-noon. Roni's segment is aired somewhere around 11:30 a.m., give or take ten minutes, and it's entitled "Writer's Riddle." Roni gives clues about a famous scribe's identity in a clever, imaginative format.

If you didn't get a chance to see it, SPAWN's Conejo Valley Chapter President Louise Cabral still has plenty of copies of the feature story about her work and that of her late husband, which appeared in the January 9, 1998 issue of the SimiValley/Moorpark Star newspaper.

A professor of painting and art history at Los Angeles Valley College for 30 years, Flavio Cabral had many exhibitions of his own paintings in Los Angeles, New Mexico, and Mexico City before his death in 1991. Louise wrote six novels during their marriage, and in the Star she discusses the ways they encouraged each other in their respective artistic endeavors, as well as how difficult it was to deal with inter-marital criticism of her writing, a regular feature of married artists'/writers' lives.

Louise now teaches classes, in Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks, about how to write an autobiography, and she authored Islands of Recall, a guide to stimulating the memory when doing autobiographical work.

"I have always approached life as a novel-in-progress. To me, a born writer can't help him/herself from looking at every situation as a scene to be stored for possible use and at the people he/she encounters as fresh fodder for characters. No story is too small to be considered the springboard for a novel."

~ Monique Raphael High, author of the bestselling novel The Four Winds of Heaven, as well as Between Two Worlds, Thy Father's House, and Keeper Of The Walls.

Calling All Playwrights

Ojai's Theater 150 and the Echo Theater Company of LA will co-host the Ojai Playwrights Conference on July 17-24, 1998. It will be held at three different locations in Ojai, CA, and it will feature discussion groups, rehearsals, and dramatic readings by local theater groups and artists.

The purpose of the conference is to address the "sometimes lowly state of current legitimiate stage productions and to dispel the notion that playwriting is a dying art." The goal is to present evidence of powerfully gifted creators of plays.

For further information, contact the Playwrights Conference at 805/640-0400, or Theater 150 at 805/646-4300.


SPAWN's Novice Computer Users Group focuses on those over age 55 but we welcome anyone just starting out. Meetings will be held on the last Thursday of each month at 7 PM.

In coming months, group leader, Ruth Hibbard will demonstrate writing tools, label creation, spellcheck, styles, page numbering, Internet functions, e-mail and any other topics members want to discuss. Please call Ruth Hibbard for information at 805/654-1294, or email her at Some of the future meetings will be held at the CyberCafe.

Book Review

by Mary Embree The Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook: A Step-by-step Guidefor Writers, Editors, and Publishers By Lloyd J. Jassin and Steven C. Schechter. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1998. 198 pgs

Both of the authors are lawyers who specialize in publishing and entertainment law. Maybe that is why they seem to cover just about every legal concern I've come across in my varied career which includes writing, interviewing, editing and publishing in several different genres. The authors answer some common questions such as:

  • What is the difference between the terms "author" and "writer"?
  • What constitutes a "work for hire?"
  • How much can be quoted from a published work without having to get permission?
  • Are all works published by the government in public domain?

They also clearly explain the reasons for getting a copyright registered even though a work is automatically copyrighted from the moment it is written, recorded or otherwise fixed in a tangible medium.

The authors furnish "Checklists" for such subjects as Fair Use, Getting Permission, and Libel which can help you maneuver the murky waters of potentially problematic issues. To clarify some of the more complex legal concerns, they give real-life examples of cases. Although there may be times when you will want to get specific legal advice, this handbook should answer most of your questions.

Among the sample legal documents in the appendix are permission and release forms, a "Work Made for Hire Agreement" and a copyright assignment form. A resource guide includes lists of industry directories, trade and professional organizations, and copyright licensing organizations.

This is an important reference book that will command a prominent spot on my desk for fast and easy access.



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