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SPAWNews, February, 2001

Archives Available


See February meeting topics and dates

Creativity Workshop Has International Appeal

Based in New York City and taught around the world, The University of Iowa's International Writers Creativity Workshop 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. —For more information about The Creativity Workshop, visit or contact Kate Roche, Administrative Assistant at

Brazen Hussy Author

to Visit S.F.

SPAN cofounder and executive director Marilyn Ross hopes to see SPAWN members in San Francisco. She is presenting mini-seminars and book signings for Shameless Marketing for Brazen Hussies at the San Mateo Borders on Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 pm. and at the Barnes & Noble in Colma on Sunday, March 4th at 4:30. The self-published book was recently nominated for the Book Sense 76 Jan./Feb. Recommendations—the only business book to make the cut.

The Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference—It’s Ba-aack!

After a year’s hiatus, Mary Conrad announces the return of the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference.

The much-anticipated event takes place from June 22-29 at the Westmont College campus in the lovely hills of Montecito. Cost for 7 days of the conference, per person, is $400 without a room, $1240 for the conference and single room occupancy, and $940 for the conference with a double room. Rooms are located in the Residence Halls of the college.

Although it’s been nearly three decades since the inception of the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference, Conrad says its goals remain the same: “To give fledgling writers the best opportunities to improve their craft and to help them find the best paths for them to bring their work to publication.”

Writers can’t help but improve their work, given the conference’s array of distinguished speakers—Ray Bradbury, Digby Diehl, Fannie Flagg, Sue Grafton, Sandor Vanocur and many others.

In addition, workshops will be conducted every morning and afternoon. Workshop leaders include Barnaby Conrad, Cork Millner, S.L. Stebel, Phyllis Gebauer, Abe Polsky, Fran Halpern and other notables.

For more information, call 805/684-2250 or write SBWC, Mary Conrad, Box 304, Carpinteria, CA 93014.

Book Signing Tips

by Patricia L. Fry

Are you planning to do book signings to promote your newly published book? Here are a few dos and don’ts that will help make these events more successful.

1. Don’t wait for an invitation. Take the initiative and approach the managers of businesses related to your book topic and local bookstores. Offer to give a presentation or to sign books for their customers.

2 ½ weeks before the event:

2. Send press releases with a photograph of yourself or your book cover to all newspapers within a 40-mile radius. Tell about your book, yourself and what your presentation will consist of. Include your phone number. An editor may want to contact you for more information.

3.Make calls and send post cards to friends, acquaintances, business associates, club affiliates and others who might be interested in attending your presentation or signing.

10 days in advance of the event:

4. Find out if the store plans to design posters and flyers to advertise your signing. If not, do this yourself and deliver them to the store a week in advance of the event.

5.Offer to design a store display of your books.

One week in advance of the event:

6.Know ahead of time what to expect: Will you have a microphone? Lectern? Table at which to sit for signing? Or will you have to arrange for these things yourself?

7.Check the store stock. Will you need to bring additional books to sell?

The day of the event:

8.Dress to stand out in a crowd, but not so dramatically as to distract from your presentation.

9.Be prompt. Arriving a little early won’t hurt and will give you time to settle in.

10. Bring handouts such as a relating article, report or a sample chapter. When I’m signing Quest For Truth, I hand out my article on Meditation Walking. When the event features The Mainland Luau, I give a recipe from the book.

11. Reach out to people—don’t wait for them to come to you. Hand copies of your book to folks in the audience or those who visit your signing table. Walk around the store and hand them to customers.

12. Keep track of the number of books you autograph in case there is a discrepancy.

After the event:

13. Send a note of thanks to the store manager and staff.

14. Attend other signings and note what works and what doesn’t.

15. Realize that signings and presentations will rarely exceed your expectations and hardly ever meet your highest goals. But any time you are given the opportunity to have this sort of free publicity, you are making headway in your promotional effort.

—Patricia Fry is the author of 10 books including A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book

(Matilija Press, 2000)

Patricia Fry, Mary Embree and Stan Corwin will be speaking to the Book Publicists of Southern California on “New Ways to Sell More Books” on Feb. 8 at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. Fry will also speak at the Ventura County Writers Club on Feb. 13 at Borders Books in Thousand Oaks.

DIY Convention Set For Feb. 10

The first annual DIY Convention will be held on Saturday, February 10, 2001 in Los Angeles, CA, at the Roosevelt Hotel. The convention is a one-day seminar that will focus on the steps needed to create, market, promote and protect your own independent productions in film, music and books.

A series of panels featuring prominent artists and executives will address the legal and business aspects of the DIY entertainment world. SPAWN’s Executive Director Mary Embree will be speaking on the “Getting Your Book To Press” panel. The complete conference schedule is at

Attendees at the DIY Convention will be given an overview covering such important secrets for success as merchandise deals, raising funds, implementing a successful business plan, rights acquisitions, and protecting and exploiting your creative works. Rounding out the convention will be a copyright and trademark workshop that will cover the basic steps needed to fill out the government forms to register and protect your intellectual property.

Registration for the DIY Convention is $65.00, which will include access to the full day of panels and workshops.

Attendees can register in several ways: By calling JM Northern Media at 323-860-9076; by faxing a registration form to JM Northern Media at 323-660-1776; online at; or by mailing a check no later than Feb. 1 to JM Northern Media, 3662 Lowry Road Los Angeles, CA 90027.

SPAWN members receive a $15 discount off the full-day pass price of $65 if they register before Feb. 1. Please use code DIY0006 when mailing. The discount offer is good only through mail or faxed credit card number, not online.

Book Review

Freelance Writers’ Guide, Second Edition, published by the National Writers’ Union, 2000; 252 pages; ISBN 0-9644208-1-3. $24.95.

This revised edition is absolutely essential for all working writers and those who are planning to enter the writing life. Since NWU’s first edition of this Guide five years ago, there have been enormous changes in the world of writing and publishing. There are greater opportunities and more pitfalls than ever before for freelance writers.

In his Introduction to the book, Jonathan Tasini, President of NWU, states that their goals are to describe “the rules being set by the people who define and control our work” and to show that “if we understand the rules, we can shape them.”

The Guide provides information and recommendations regarding major freelance markets including books, journalism, electronic markets and the literary market as well as technical, corporate, academic, and performance writing. It also provides an overview of the business side of freelance writing.

You may order the Guide through their Web site: Members of NWU get a discount. ¾Mary Embree

Member News

Teacher, Teacher, I Declare! and other Little Tattle Tales is a new book by SPAWN member and Emeritus Professor of English, Santa Barbara City College, W. Royce Adams. Author of 26 books, Adams’ newest tome contains twenty stories related to teachers “on the edge of something risky.”

The book is available for purchase through most bookstores or online at To read an excerpt:

Online Marketing for Book and Publishing Web Sites:

Step 2, Search Engine Registration

By Virginia Lawrence

Clarifying the Goal of the Site

After designing and building the Web site, we must register the site with search engines. There are two major types of search engines:

  • Directories where we choose a category for our site and list a few keywords. In the most important directories, a human reviewer looks over the site to confirm site quality and our choice of category.
  • Database listings where we submit the site address. This type of search engine sends out a software robot to index every word in one or more pages of the submitted site.

Although search engine submission has been free during the last few years, many of the top search engines of both types are now charging for submission of business Web sites. This change arises because the search engines are finding it harder to base their business plans strictly on the advertising revenue they can attract. Now they must start charging submitters.

Yahoo, the most important directory, has just started charging $199 for every business Web site submission. The payment guarantees only a one-week response from Yahoo. It does not guarantee inclusion in the directory, since Yahoo is very picky about the Web sites to be added to their directory. However, all is not lost for sites not admitted to the Yahoo directory. Although such Web sites will not appear in the category listings on Yahoo, most visitors using Yahoo actually use the search function rather than the category listings. Since Yahoo uses content from Google for its database search, a site included in the Google database will appear in a Yahoo search.

A better deal is the $199 charged by LookSmart, another category listing search engine. LookSmart supplies its database content to such important search engines as AltaVista, MSN, Excite, CNN, Time Warner, and WebCrawler. The fee paid to LookSmart usually results in a two-day response, and that response is generally an announcement that the site will be included in the database.

Inktomi, a database listing site, is now charging $20 for the first page. They guarantee to send out their indexing robot within two days so that the site will be listed very quickly. The Inktomi database powers iWon and several other search engines.

After submitting to the fee-based search engines, submit to the remaining top free search engines: Open Directory Project, HotBot, AllTheWeb, Google, Northern Light, and WebTop. As of January 2001, submission to those last six search engines is free.

The next step in search engine submission is submitting to the lower-level search engines, and you can use submission software to submit to another 100 to 200 search engines. These additional submissions help to build up the number of sites listing your site, and this increases your site's popularity rating on the major search engines. That is, the major search engines use a site's popularity rating to help determine the importance of the site and where it should rank in a search.

Be sure to avoid submitting to the Free For All sites. The Free For All sites are set up only as a way to get submitter’s e-mail addresses. They maintain site listings for only 24 to 72 hours, yet they will continue to send us spam forever, trying to sell us phone cards, new mortgages, membership in sex sites, etc. To complete Step 2 of online marketing for a book site, get listed on all good search engines. Then move ahead to Step 3.

2000 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D., SPAWN's Webmaster, is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant., or

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Jean Wade

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Patricia Fry

Vice President


Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer and Membership Chair


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Mary Embree

Author, Publishing Consultant

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


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




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