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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, February, 2007

Wendy Dager, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please e-mail the editor of SPAWNews:

Those of you who are SPAWN members, be sure to go to the first page of the site, and click on the "Visit Member Area" button. You will be asked to log in.

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Table of Contents

- Editor’s Note


- Market Update

- Book Review

- Book Marketing Idea

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

My paternal grandmother never had much, but never really wanted for much, so it worked out fine. Most important to her was her health and the health of those she loved. Still, despite her limited income and Depression-era frugality, every once in a while she would reach surreptitiously down the front of her dress and withdraw a hankie, where, in its safety-pinned confines, was a ten- or twenty-dollar bill. She would hand the money to me with a beatific smile on her face and whisper, "Shhhh, don’t tell anyone!"

This same grandma occasionally reminded me that the love of money was the root of all evil.

Grandma was a simple woman and, if she were alive today, wouldn’t understand that those with a tendency to over-analyze might think she was sending "mixed messages" about money to her little granddaughter. The term might be construed as throw-about psychobabble, but in the context of career satisfaction, it’s a conundrum: is it evil to enjoy making and having and spending money?

Some say we shouldn’t love money; we should love what we do. Then again, money can be a nice benefit of doing what we love.

Morally and ethically, we should never put wealth above all else—but there is nothing wrong with wanting to be comfortable in life. And we all have varying levels of comfort.

One person relishes her experiences as a starving writer, but another artistic soul wants to earn a good living from her profession. Neither is wrong. Both are doing what they love. Both are working hard to achieve their goals.

And, as long as they have their health, I’m sure grandma would approve.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Her Web site is

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Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

SPAWN members: Display and sell your books from the SPAWN booth at the gigantic Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 28 and 29, 2007.

The Book Festival expects 133,000 visitors this year. SPAWN has purchased two booths for SPAWN members only. Act now, because space is limited.

Sign up for one day only at $200 or sign up for both days at $360.

Here's what you get: One-third booth, which gives you room to display and sell three titles, plus you’ll have space for one poster on the back wall. Every member will have front-of-the-booth access to visitors. If you want to reserve two-thirds booth and display six titles, it's $400 for one day.

Don't miss this opportunity to sell lots of books, get that all-important exposure, make new contacts, network with other members, and have a really good time.

Sign up now at:

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The February edition of the SPAWN Market Update provides over fifty solid opportunities, tips, ideas and information bites for the freelance writer and author. We've listed seventeen magazines you probably aren't yet aware of—and we all know that the early bird gets the worm! There's news of a major book distributor folding and not in a credible way. But the best offering in this edition of the SPAWN Market Update is the list of ideas for establishing your platform.

We tell you how to recognize and exploit your platform as well as how to establish one before you produce your book (preferred) or even after your book is published. This is a one-of-a-kind article that could make or break you as an author. Why? Because you will not sell books if you don't have a following. Your platform is your way of attracting an audience.

In this month’s February 2007 Market Update:

  • Breaking News: Which major book distributor has failed.
  • What many authors don’t take into account when they rush to produce a book.
  • Have you been in the right place at the right time and it changed your life? Who wants your story.
  • How knowing your own site/blog popularity can help with your book promotion.
  • Why giving more with your book beats your competition.
  • Examine Your Platform: Why it’s so important, how to know if you already have one, and how to establish one if you don’t!

If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, please join now online at

Note: If you are a free newsletter subscriber only, you must join SPAWN before you can log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" area.

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts and Services of 48 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked and Exposed

By Mark Levine, former intellectual property law attorney and president of Click Industries, Ltd.

BridgewayBooks, 2006

215 pages, $16.95

If you are thinking about signing with a fee-based publishing service, you MUST read Mark Levine’s new book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing. Levine publicly analyzes 48 fee-based POD (or self-publishing) companies’ contracts and services and even ranks them for you. Levine says, "I can promise you that if you follow the advice in this book, you won’t get ripped off by any self-publishing company and may, in fact, negotiate a better deal. If you don’t follow the advice here, you may find yourself spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to battle an unscrupulous publisher."

To read the full review of The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts and Services of 48 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked and Exposed: go to

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Book Marketing Idea of the Month

Promote Your Book Locally First

By Patricia Fry

Most authors write for a national or international audience. When boxes of our newly published books land on our doorstep, we are suddenly overwhelmed by the vastness of our promotional possibilities. We wonder how to start. Should one build a Web site, solicit book reviews, appear on radio shows, send out press releases or set up speaking engagements? And where does one start—large cities, metropolitan areas, in the West or the East or somewhere in the middle?

Why not promote your book locally first? Not only is this a good way to attract readers/sales, but pursuing your promotional activities on a smaller, more familiar scale can help you to discover which ones work best for your particular book.

Read more about some great ideas for local promotion at

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Ask the Book Doctor: About writing humor, showing transitions, the use of "had," and using standard manuscript format

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: Do you have any suggestions about how to write humorous personal stories?

A: Humor takes hard work yet often still does not work. When a group of writers discussed this matter, one person suggested recording the stories as you speak them, then typing them up as spoken. That method avoids a stilted writing style that intrudes on the story. We all agreed that someone else must read the stories to ensure the humor is intact and that it works. Study the masters at telling humorous personal stories, such as Dave Barry, David Sedaris, and Erma Bombeck.

To read more about these and other interesting topics go to

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Member News

Note: To have your announcements included in this section, you must be a paid member of SPAWN. Please e-mail your news to

Brigette Aflalo tells us the December issue of Washington Woman published her story "New Vision in Hair Care." Channel 4 liked the article so much that she was interviewed live on television. The September/October issue of New Moon for Girls published her article: "Women on Top: on New Presidents of Chile, Sierra Leone and German Chancellor—All Women."

Edward Fierro is pleased to announce that the Cat Writers Association, Inc. awarded its Certificate of Excellence in the category of gift books to The Well-Lettered Cat. Submissions in this category were reviewed by three independent judges on the basis of distinctive writing, artistic merit, and the overall execution of the project. Authored by Porter Evans and designed by Edward Fierro, The Well-Lettered Cat is an adult alphabet book for the literary or artistic cat lover. Published in 2006 by Lines Rampant Press, the hardbound, full-color volume is available online at and at selected bookstores and museum shops. In the Santa Barbara area, The Well-Lettered Cat can be found at Chaucer's, Borders, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Westmont College bookstore. The Cat Writers Association, Inc. (CWA) is an organization of professionals who write about cats. "Our members include writers, editors, publishers, artists, public relations specialists, and broadcasters," said Beth Adelman, CWA contest chair. "The goal of our annual communications’ contest is to encourage and reward excellence."

Simon Teakettle Ink,, is offering a free update to its list of Canadian Libraries with purchasing power. Barbara Florio Graham updated and revised the list last fall, and anyone who purchased the list in the past should contact her for the free update. New purchases should see the website for information about how to obtain this list of more than 90 libraries for just $25. For more information, e-mail

Patricia Fry will teach an eight-week online "Self-publishing Workshop" starting February 6, 2007, $160. She is also teaching a six-week online article-writing course starting April 10, 2007, $125. Sign up now at

Patricia Fry will be guest speaker at the first-ever luncheon presented by the Orange County Writers MeetUp Group, February 10 in Santa Ana, California. For more information contact Russell Traughber at

Authors in the Atlanta area can attend Patricia Fry's workshop at the Spring Book Show 2007 Author-Publisher Seminar March 23-24. Go to to register.

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Women’s Artistic Network promotes women networking with other women to achieve success in the artistic world. Women’s Artistic Network is the brainchild of a group of area women who want to inspire, support and jump start women with creative endeavors. Membership is open to professional women and to women who are just starting out, who want to network in the arts, want validation for their work, or who seek help either in writing, art, and music or those hoping to enter the world of public speaking. Newly elected officers are: President, Carol Doering, Simi Valley, Vice Presidents, Kateri Alexander, Westlake Village and Diantha Ain, Simi Valley, Treasurer, Margaret Brownley, Simi Valley and Secretary, Mary Shaffer, Van Nuys. The group meets on the second Monday of each month. Journalist Karen Hibdon will present a program in February and novelist Margaret Brownley is featured in March. For more information contact Carol Doering at 805-493-1081.

The 2007 Backspace Writers Conference brings together best-selling authors, top literary agents and editors for a two-day, two-track event featuring panel discussions, workshops, and socializing in the heart of the publishing world. Scholarship applications must be received by March 1, 2007. Winners will be notified by April 15, 2007. Details at

Meg Weaver created the Wooden Horse Magazines Database just for people like you. What began as a list of titles in a loose-leaf binder has now grown to over 2,000 US and Canadian consumer and trade magazines in a searchable online database. For more information:

Readers Passport is a pilot community project jointly sponsored by R.R. Bowker, local libraries and literacy councils, publishers, distributors and authors. It is a community project that increases circulation and triggers books being donated to people who are temporarily "stuck" somewhere with nothing to do—but read your book. From their press release: "Imagine a patient sitting for hours during chemo therapy or dialysis treatment; imagine a victim of domestic violence suddenly at a loss without belongings at a shelter. Anxious or bored, they wait the long hours unless—suddenly they are given a book. Their experience of the book is something valuable in their hands at just the right time. It could be your book that grateful person is reading, and what triggers the donation is the Reader’s Passport." For more information: or e-mail

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Read about the latest contests at

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at

Note: SPAWNews advises "caveat emptor" when dealing with venues, contests or promotions unknown to you

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SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

Donations are tax deductible.

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book! 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.
  • Member Catalog where you can list your books and services
  • Member Discussion list where you can discuss your triumphs and questions with your publishing peers.

Join SPAWN now by clicking on the "Join SPAWN Now" button at the top of this page.

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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


Telephone: 805-646-3045

Fax: 805-640-8213

Wendy Dager

SPAWNews Editor, Membership and Database Coordinator


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President



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

PMB 123

323 E. Matilija St., Suite 110

Ojai, CA 93023

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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