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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, March, 2000

Archives Available

Notice: The West Ventura County Chapter of SPAWN will no longer hold monthly meetings. Board members will, instead, plan workshops, seminars and/or other events to provide networking opportunities and to offer the sort of information members need in order to complete their projects.

SPAWN members and guests who reside in the Ventura/Oxnard/Ojai/ Santa Paula areas are encouraged to attend meetings of our chapters in Thousand Oaks and Santa Barbara. Call a member who lives near you and arrange to carpool to the meetings. That’s another way to network and get to know other members better.

Henceforth, the East Ventura County Chapter of SPAWN will be referred to as the Ventura County Chapter.

We want to thank Patricia Fry, President of the WVC chapter, for all her work in running the chapter. She will now be directing her attention and talents to helping produce seminars and workshops for SPAWN.

Patricia has acted as Associate Executive Director of SPAWN since it was formed in 1996, and has been instrumental in its direction throughout the past four years. She is also Vice President, Board of Directors.

National Writers Union to Establish Tri-County Sublocal

SPAWN has been asked to help the NWU Los Angeles Chapter establish a sublocal to serve Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. As our goals and those of the NWU are complementary, we feel that both organizations could benefit by networking, sharing information and co-sponsoring events and seminars for writers.

The National Writers Union is the trade union for freelance writers of all genres. They have 4,800 members in 17 local chapters. They offer grievance resolution, contract advice, health and dental plans, education, job banks, networking, social events, and much more. The NWU also offers members access to their Agent Database where members can research over 400 agents.

If you would like more information about the NWU you may call the Los Angeles office at 310/281-6901 or go to their website

If you are interested in helping to get the new sublocal going, call NWU’s Susan Casey at 310/452-5318 or Mary Embree at 805-646-3045.


Independent Publisher Book Awards 2000

Formerly called the Small Press Book Awards, this awards program is designed to honor the year’s best independently published titles.

This year there will be $5,000 in prize money awarded to the “Ten Outstanding Books of the Year.”

One book in each of the following categories will receive $500 and public recognition:

  • Most Original Concept
  • Most Likely to Save the Planet
  • Most Helpful to Society
  • Most Unique Design
  • Most Likely to be Banned
  • Story Teller of the Year
  • Most Inspirational to Youth
  • Most Life-Changing
  • Best Health Book
  • Business Breakthrough of the Year

The entry fee is $60 per title, per category (such as biography, cookbook, history, poetry, general fiction, reference, self-help, etc.)

The deadline is April 10, 2000. For more information and an entry form, call 800/706-4636, fax 231/933-0448, or e-mail Website is

American Society of Indexers Wilson Indexing Award

The American Society of Indexers honors the Best Book Index with the H.W. Wilson Award each year.

The award was established in 1978 to recognize the normally anonymous indexers and the publishers who provide high-quality indexes to serve their readers.

The indexer of the winning book will receive $1000 and both the indexer and the publisher will receive a plaque.

ASI is particularly interested in seeing well typeset books on unusual subjects where the indexers were presented with extraordinary challenges. The award will go to the indexer who exhibited the most creativity and highest standards of indexing.

The entry fee is $25 and the deadline for submissions is March 10, 2000.

Books should be sent to the Wilson Award, c/o Dorothy Thomas, 123 W. 74th Street, New York, NY 10023.

Additional information and the entry form are available on their website

National Writers Association Novel Writing Contest

Annual contest is to “help develop creative skills, to recognize and reward outstanding ability and to increase the opportunity for the marketing and subsequent publication of novel manuscripts.”

Entry fee is $35. Prizes are $500 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, $200 for 3rd. Deadline is April 1, 2000.

For guidelines send a #10 SASE to The National Writers Association, 3140 S. Peoria, #295, Aurora, CO 80014. Phone 303/841-0246; fax 303/751-8593. E-mail:

Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction

Manuscripts must be 200-275 pages long. Authors do not have to be previously published.

Submission period April - May 31, 2000. Entry fee $15. Prize $1,000 and publication by Press under standard book contract.

Send SASE for guidelines to University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901. Phone 706/369-6135, fax 706/369-6131.


Editor’s Prize

Spoon River Poetry Review

The Editor’s Prize is offered annually to unpublished poetry “to identify and reward excellence.”

Deadline April 15. Fee is $15 for 3 poems which entitles entrant to a year’s subscription valued at $14.

$500 for 1st place and two $100 runners-up prizes. Includes publication of first place, runners-up, honorable mention and selected finalist poems. Judged by a nationally-known poet. Open to all writers.

Send SASE for guidelines to Spoon River Poetry Review, Campus Box 4240, English Dept., Illinois State University. Normal, IL 61790-4240. Phone309/438-7906; fax 309/438-5414. Website:

Columbia Poetry & Fiction Contest

There is a cash prize of $250 plus possible publication in Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art. The judges are Alice Quinn, Poetry Editor of The New Yorker, and Maryse Condé, author of Segu and winner of Le Grand Prix, Litteraire de Femme.

The entry fee is $12 per story or 5 poems and the deadline is April 15.

For more information, send SASE to Columbia: A Journal of Literature & Art, 415 Dodge Hall, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. E-mail: Website is

Did you know . . .

copyright law did not exist before the printing press was invented in Europe in the 15th century? It was too expensive and too hard to produce a book and most people couldn’t read anyway.

It wasn’t until 1710 that British Parliament passed a law, called the Statute of Anne, which became the first real copyright in the modern sense. It granted authors the exclusive right to authorize the printing of books.

In 1790 the United States Congress adopted the first U.S. copyright law. Though revised and amended frequently it remains the legal basis for copyright protection in the United States.


Robin G. Westmiller, author of Red Wine for Breakfast, will be conducting a seminar at the Creative Options Day for Women at CLU on the Electronic Publishing Revolution which will detail the entire industry.

The seminar is on March 4 and costs $30 for the day. For more information call 805/493-3345.


Book of Forms

Allworth Press has published a revised edition of the reference book, Business and Legal Forms for Authors & Self-Publishers, by Tad Crawford; 192 pages; $22.95.

SPAWNews has not reviewed the book but the news release we received states that there are “20 different forms, each with a explanatory discussion and step-by-step instructions on how to fill it out.” Among the forms included are a contract with a literary agent, collaboration agreement, contract with a printer, permission form (to use copyrighted work), book publishing contract and more.

The forms are also included on a CD so that they can be customized to fit individual needs.

The book can be found in bookstores or ordered directly from the publisher by calling 800/491-2808.

New Magazine for Self-Publishers

The premiere issue of Self-Publishing, the only magazine devoted exclusively to self-publishing of all types, will be online March 1 at

The magazine features articles by and about experienced self-publishers of prose fiction and nonfiction, poetry, music, photography, and fine art.

Regular departments include a column by Dan Poynter and items giving advice on marketing, promotion, distribution, advertising and all other aspects of the business.

Special features of the online magazine include "Subscribers Showcase" where subscribers may promote their works; "In the Trenches" where readers share their self-publishing experiences, the "Palaver Parlor," a message board for online discussions, and a comprehensive "Resources" section containing articles and links to information such as copyright, industry associations, and other publications useful to self-publishers.

For further information, contact Charles Wesley Orton, editor, at 760/722-2265 mornings or evenings, 949/661-4266 days, or by e-mail to

Error Haiku

Received by anonymous e-mail and submitted by Virginia Lawrence

Sony has announced its own computer operating system now available on its new portable PC called the Vaio. Sony's chairman Asai Tawara said, "We intend to capture the high ground by putting a human, Japanese face on what has been until now an operating system that reflects Western cultural hegemony. For example, we have replaced the impersonal and unhelpful Microsoft error messages with our own Japanese haiku poetry."

The chairman went on to give examples of Sony's new error messages:

A file that big?

It might be very useful.

But now it is gone.

The Web site you seek

cannot be located but

endless others exist.

Chaos reigns within.

Reflect, repent, and reboot.

Order shall return.

Aborted effort.

Close all that you have.

You ask way too much.

Yesterday it worked.

Today it is not working.

Windows is like that.

First snow, then silence.

This thousand-dollar screen dies

so beautifully.

With searching comes loss

and the presence of absence:

"My Novel" not found.

The Tao that is seen

Is not the true Tao, until

You bring fresh toner.

Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.

A crash reduces

your expensive computer

to a simple stone.

Three things are certain:

Death, taxes, and lost data

Guess which has occurred.

You step in the stream,

but the water has moved on.

This page is not here.

Out of memory.

We wish to hold the whole sky,

But we never will.

Having been erased,

The document you're seeking

Must now be retyped.

Serious error.

All shortcuts have disappeared.

Screen. Mind. Both are blank.


Virginia Lawrence’s regular monthly column will resume next month.

A novel is a mirror that strolls along a highway. Now it reflects the blue of the skies, now the mud puddles underfoot.


Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

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

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary 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 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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