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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, January, 2003





- FEATURE ARTICLE: Writing the Feature Article





- FEATURE ARTICLE: What Can a Web Site Do For You?


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I really don't believe in resolutions. I do, however, believe in goal setting.

Writing down goals for the year is a great way to give yourself a push in the proper direction-and to make sure that what you are hoping for is both realistic and manageable. Sure, we'd all like to win the lottery. Problem is, writing down that particular wish is probably not going to improve our chances. Yet, for some of us, winning a bazillion bucks may be just as lofty a goal as, for instance, the publication of a first novel. I use that as an example because it happens to be my number one goal for 2003.

After years as a nonfiction writer, I believe my first real attempt at a full-length work of fiction is a decent one. I would be very happy, of course, to see this labor of love in print. In writing down my goal, I am forced to analyze the reality of my chances of achieving it. But I am not just going to sit on my hands and hope my fairy godmother will grant me this wish. There are several things I can do to help myself make my goal come to fruition. First, I plan to send professional-quality query letters-with a synopsis of the novel and my detailed bio-to literary agents and small publishing houses (since larger publishers generally do not take unagented submissions). Perhaps you, too, have set goals that require some work. What you must do is take a specific goal related to your field, look at it from an unemotional business perspective, and create a definite plan of action. With hope, you will see proof of those goals-turned-successes in the Member Achievements section of this very newsletter! If you are a SPAWN member, please email me with news of your achievements, and I will be glad to share them with our readers.

In addition, as was mentioned in the December issue of SPAWNews, 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. Have a wonderful and prosperous New Year! --Wendy Dager

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Here are previews of what's in the January issue of The SPAWN Market Update, which is published in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site, Join SPAWN and read a year's worth of Market Updates including listings of over 50 Web sites for writers, interviews with nearly 35 agents, editors, publishers and writers and much, much more.

Here's an excerpt from Patricia Fry's interview with Jeanne Yocum, Your Ghost Writer.

Question: What are some of the challenges of working with clients?

Answer: Above all else, listen to what your intuition tells you about someone you're considering writing for. If you walk out of the first meeting feeling the least bit uneasy, don't go back for the second meeting. This is a hard lesson to learn because we all hate to turn down projects. But I've found over the years that my intuition is always right; someone who strikes me at first as a bad fit for me almost invariably turns out to be just that.

Patricia Fry also interviewed agent Elizabeth Frost-Knappman. Here's one of her questions and Ms. Frost-Knappman's response:

Question: Our readers are most interested in how to find/approach a literary agent. Can you provide a roadmap?

Answer: I think the best way to find an agent is to learn what each agency does best, and write to the one that matches your interests. For a good understanding of what agencies specialize in, consult these sources: Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers, and Literary Agents 1997-1998 by Jeff Herman (Prima) gives a detailed analysis of most major agencies. Literary Agents of North America: Fifth Edition, The Complete Guide to Over 1000 U.S. & Canadian Literary Agencies by Arthur Orrmont and Leonie Rosentiel. This lists 1,000 in 38 states. Literary Agents: A Writer's Guide by Adam Begley is published in Association with Poets and Writers. It lists almost 200 agents. Literary Market Place (LMP): The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry with Industry Yellow Pages. It includes basic information on about 500 agents. The Writer's Handbook by Sylvia Burack, editor of The Writer. This lists names and addresses of more than 150 agents.

Be sure to find out "what works" with the particular agency you are approaching. Some like recommendations by their clients. Others like fiction or nonfiction. In the case of New England Publishing Associates, we ask that prospective authors send us a one or two-page summary of their proposed book, a clear description of the intended audience and any competition, an annotated chapter outline, at least one polished sample chapter, and a statement of their credentials as the author of the work. The more thoroughly these are prepared, the more likely we are to think we can sell the idea.

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

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I am a young adult who has been writing a book on college life including journal entries, the trials and tribulations of someone in their twenties, and the complicated dating/love scene someone in their twenties are forced to go through. I am trying to find a publisher to help me find out what exactly I need to do. I really am not sure where to begin and would greatly appreciate any leads or advise anyone in your office can give. I am an experienced writer. I have had two poems published and several copywritten to my name. Currently I have over 10 poems in several different contests and scholarship areas. I have an undying passion for writing. Please contact me to your best convenience.

Thanks very much,


Dear Sarah,

Thank you for your inquiry. Your book sounds interesting-something many college students and those contemplating college might find enlightening and useful.

I would recommend that you go to a large bookstore in your area (or your college bookstore) and see who is publishing books for your audience (presumably college students). Contact those publishers with a query letter. This is a one-page letter describing your book and giving your qualifications in this subject and as a writer. Find additional publishers through "Literary Market Place" and "Writer's Market" (both found in the reference section of your library).

Some possibilities might be: McFarland and Company (, Diogenes Publishing ( or Broadview Press (

If a publisher is interested, he/she may ask to see a book proposal. This consists of an overview or synopsis of your book, a market analysis (comparing your book with others on this subject), your marketing ideas, a page about the author and sample chapters. (Learn about writing a query letter and a book proposal in my ebook, "A Successful Writer's Handbook" available at

You might also want to subscribe to our free newsletter by sending an email to You'll find helpful information, ideas and techniques, market news (including poetry contests) and much much more.

Additionally, as a SPAWN member, you can communicate with other members in our online forum. One of them might know an appropriate publisher for your book. (

I hope this helps.


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network).

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Writing the Feature Article

By Wendy Dager

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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.

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Tamara Dever and Erin Stark of TLC Graphics (Austin, TX) are pleased to report the following: "A long-term client, Atwood Publishing (Madison, WI), just contacted us to say that our cover design for their book, `Trickster and Ambivalence" won Honorable Mention in the "School Books-best cover" category at the Chicago Book Clinic awards ceremony on November 7. According to their Web site: "The awards program demonstrates the outstanding quality of publishing in the Midwest and recognizes the importance of books and multimedia to our society. Books were judged for general excellence in book manufacture-specifically for design, typography, composition, illustrations, paper, printing, special treatments and binding.'"

For more information, visit TLC Graphics' Web site,

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The 5th Annual Scriptapalooza Screenwriting Competition boasts "The usual suspects: $10,000 first place prize, software and the precious Hollywood contacts which include established production companies and literary representatives such as A Band Apart, Samuel Goldwyn, Evolution, Lawrence Mark Prods. and Marc Platt Prods."

The competition is sponsored by screenwriting software company Write Brothers Inc. (formerly Screenplay Systems), The Writers Store, Script Magazine and For application and rules visit or call the office 323-654-5809. Early Bird deadline is January 7. Regular deadline is March 3 and the Final deadline is April 15, 2003.

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.

ForeWord Magazine recently announced a "first call for books published by independent presses to be submitted for consideration for their 2002 Book of the Year Awards program." Books must carry a 2002 copyright date to be eligible. The deadline for title registration is January 15, 2003.

According to their press release, ForeWord's Book of the Year Award was established to bring increased attention to librarians and booksellers to the literary achievements of independent publishers and authors. A jury of librarians, booksellers and reviewers are selected to judge the categories for entry and they select winners and finalists based on editorial excellence and professional production as well as the originality of the narrative and the value the book adds to its genre.

The jury will take note of editorial excellence, the intent of book met by the author, originality of subject matter, accuracy, author credentials and professional packaging. E-book and POD submissions are also welcome.

Eight to ten finalists will be announced in each of 47 categories. First, second and third place winners in all categories will be awarded. Additionally, a $1,500 cash prize will also be awarded to a Best Fiction and Best Nonfiction choice as determined by the editors of ForeWord Magazine.

The final deadline for titles with a 2002 copyright date is January 15, 2003. The entry form with eligibility requirements is attached. It may also be found online at For more information contact Karen Connick at (231) 933-3699 or via email at

For more information about ForeWord Magazine visit

The Washington Prize, sponsored by The Word Works, is an annual poetry competition that awards $1500 and book publication to a full-length poetry manuscript submitted by a living American poet. Submissions should be postmarked between February 1 and March 1, 2003 (inclusive). For full details on the competition, check

The following are novel, nonfiction, poetry and short story guidelines for the Author's Venue Writing Contest, sponsored by The Writer magazine.

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

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Combined Book Exhibit announces the upcoming American Library Association Midwinter Conference to be held in Philadelphia, January 24-27, 2003. Deadline for submissions is January 6, 2003. This year, CBE is offering its yearly subscription rate to be discounted by 50% down to $47.50 from $95.00. This offer is for all those publishers who sign up and participate with CBE at the American Library Association Midwinter conference. The annual subscription fee entitles participating publishers to showcase their books at our member-discounted rates. For more information: Specifically, go to and to access the announcements, reservations and details. Combined Book Exhibit, 277 White Street Buchanan, NY 10511. Phone: 914-739-7500; Toll-Free: 1-800-462-7687; Fax: 914-739-7575

According to its press release: "The Creativity Workshop's goal is to help individuals believe in and develop their creative process and break through the fears and blocks that inhibit creativity through using memoir, creative writing, visual arts exercises, and storytelling. It was established in 1993 by writer Shelley Berc and multimedia artist Alejandro Fogel to provide an alternative to traditional forms of education and thinking. The organization is dedicated to teaching individuals and groups about their creative processes. The Workshop's end product is expanded perception, innovative problem solving, and ways of looking at one's life and work as exciting and transformative."

Workshops take place in New York City during the year and in Europe in the summer. All workshops are taught exclusively by Master Teachers Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel. Workshops are either 2, 4, 7 or 9 days. The summer 9-day workshops are held in Crete, Florence, Barcelona, Paris, Prague and London.

You can secure your place in any of these workshops now for only a $50 deposit.

Also, you can save 10% on summer workshops' tuition by registering before January 15, 2003. Upcoming weekend Creativity Workshops will be taking place in New York City on: February 15 - 16 and March 15 - 16

For the complete New York Spring Calendar go to:

For the Creativity Workshop Summer Calendar 2003 in Europe go to:

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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What Can a Web Site Do For You?

by Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

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When you renew your membership during 2003, you can choose one of Patricia Fry's best books. Choose from:

The Successful Writer's Handbook is a collection of Patricia Fry's best writing-related articles. Herein, you'll discover hundreds of techniques to help you break into magazine writing, self publish your book and market yourself and your work. You'll learn how to crush writer's block, where to find writing work even during an economic downturn and how to manage the business of writing. Fry includes research resources and techniques for writers, ideas for designing a writer's Web site and an easy-to-follow time-line for self-publishing. This book is recommended for writers at any stage of their passion. (131-page ebook)

A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit is a comprehensive book for anyone wanting to break into the magazine article market. After reading this book, you'll have a better understanding of the writing business. You'll learn how to find appropriate publications for your work, more successfully approach editors, write a query letter, conduct an interview, accept rejection and much much more. (66-page paperback book)

Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book. Whether you're a self-published author or have a traditional publisher, you need to know how to market your book This is a collection of no and low cost marketing ideas to help any author inch or leap toward success. (70-page paperback)

BIO: Patricia Fry has been writing for publication for 30 years, having contributed hundreds of articles to about 175 different magazines. Her articles have appeared in Writer's Digest, Los Angeles Times, Entrepreneur, Kiwanis Magazine, The Toastmaster, Cat Fancy, Woman's Own, The Artist's Magazine and many others. She has 12 books to her credit with two more scheduled for release in 2003.

Add a free book to your writing/publishing bookshelf when you renew your membership during 2003!

Go to secure Member Application now.

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Join SPAWN during 2003 and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. As a member, you can enjoy the benefits of the Members Only Area. There you will find:

  • Member Forum. In the SPAWN Forum, you can discuss publishing with knowledgeable published writers and publishers.
  • Market Update. This valuable Market Update will appear every month, letting us know exactly what is going on with magazine and book publishers.
  • Event Calendar where you can submit your events. After approval, your events will be available for all members to see.
  • Member Webpages where you can upload your HTML pages to build your own Web site. Your Web pages will be viewable by everyone on the Internet.
  • Metasearch where you can run a single search and get results from six of the top search engines.
  • A simple Poll where you can tell SPAWN what you think about the Member Area.



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January, 2003 SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Mary Embree


Patty Fry


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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