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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!
Not sure? Check out back issues of SPAWNews on our blog, or in the older SPAWNews archives)

SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, May, 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

- Got SPAWNdiscuss?

- What's in Your Subject Line?

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

By Wendy Dager

About seven years ago, the lifestyle editor at the newspaper for which I freelance gave me an assignment to write a feature article about a syndicated columnist. I interviewed him by telephone. He then gave me the phone number of the artist who provides illustrations for his column. I called her to get a quick quote for the article. She and I hit it off immediately and have been close friends ever since.

We're very different: She's definitely East Coast and I'm totally West Coast. She's quiet. I'm outgoing. I love vintage purses and big, foofy '50s circle skirts. She prefers jeans and sneakers.

We have much in common: We are the same age. We both married in 1985, wearing nearly identical wedding dresses. We have two kids each. Our senses of humor are similar.

The greatest bond we share is that we know exactly what it's like to live the freelance life. It's often hard to convince people it's a "real" job because we work from home. Sometimes, we're swamped with assignments. We have crazy deadlines. We receive not-so-subtle criticism. Occasionally, we get compliments. Recently, my friend was at her child's school and a bunch of kids started chanting her name. They had been her students in an after-school cartooning class, which had made a big impression on them. Around the same time, in my parallel universe, I was getting my hair cut in a salon and the woman in the next chair recognized me as a local newspaper opinion columnist.

My drawing skills aren't so hot and my friend has never written an article, but we "get" each other, particularly when it comes to our work. We share the same pain, the same glory, and, most importantly, we share the knowledge that we'll never be alone.

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

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The May edition of the SPAWN Market Update relays the sad story of publishing sharks swallowing another author. Then, we give you a list of warning sites to keep you safe in shark-infested publishing waters. We provide 30 opportunities for writers, authors and artists. We offer resources listing hundreds of agents, publishers and editors. You'll find useful information about taxes for authors, a new policy for Barnes and Noble and why some people believe that the press release is obsolete. As a bonus, read two incredible author success stories about ordinary people like you and me.

In this month's May 2007 Market Update:

  • How to check for warnings regarding an agency or individual before you use them
  • A great list of categorical and location specific events for authors and publishers
  • Who's looking for your inspiring advice and/or real life experiences for overcoming publishing challenges
  • Who has an agent screening system
  • CraigsList to search for writing jobs? A surprising list of opportunities.
  • Which TV/RadioBroadcasts want you as a guest.
  • An informative article on taxes and the writer
  • The latest essential compliance requirements for Barnes and Noble
  • Discover the difference between a distributor and a wholesaler.
  • Find out whether press releases are worthwhile!
  • Plus years of Market Update archives...

Market Update is one of the most valuable benefits of being a SPAWN member. Be sure to take advantage of this timely information!

To read the Market Update, you first join SPAWN. Go to and click on the "Join SPAWN Now" button in the upper left corner of the page.

After you join, you'll receive the password for the private member area!

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Book Review

Review by Patricia Fry

Success in the Arts: What it Takes to Make it in Creative Fields

By A. Michael Shumate

Elfstone Press, 2007

128 pages, $10.95

Now here's the book that many creative types have been waiting for as it teaches how to turn your love of writing, music, dance, art or performance into a paycheck. These are some of the questions graphic designer/illustrator Michael Shumate addresses in this book:

  • What do you need besides talent?
  • What is real creativity and how do you cultivate it?
  • How do you get through tough times?
  • How do you deal with criticism?
  • How do you "get breaks" in your field?
  • How do you keep from "selling your soul?"

To read the full review of Success in the Arts: What it Takes to Make it in Creative Fields, go to

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Book Marketing Idea of the Month

Tap Into the Lucrative Library Market

By Patricia Fry

When I produced my first self-published book, The Ojai Valley, An Illustrated History, part of my promotional plan was to go after library sales. At that time, libraries paid full price for books. Some still do, but most prefer getting a discount whenever they can.

Here's how I sold to libraries in 1983. I gave a few copies of my book to the local library along with an order form. The county library system then ordered several additional copies. I always recommend that authors donate copies of their books to their local libraries and to libraries in the area where their story takes place, they were born, the subject of their biography is centered, etc.

Next, I located a directory of U.S. libraries in the reference section at the local public library and began copying their contact information.

Read about great tips on how to tap into the lucrative library market with your memoir, book of poetry or novel at

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Got SPAWNdiscuss?

Wow! SPAWNdiscuss, our e-mail discussion group for members only, has been active lately. Some of the recent discussions among SPAWN members include:

  • Unique ways to approach bookstores with your books.
  • How is an author supposed to handle book returns?
  • What's the real difference between distributors and wholesalers?
  • How does an author get his/her books into libraries?
  • How can an ordinary author get Ingram and B&T as a distributor?
  • "The Secret" movie and the value of positive thinking

Fun, provocative and wonderfully informative! Want to participate? Not yet a member? Join now online at

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What's in Your Subject Line?

By Patricia Fry

Do you often feel rejected because your e-mail messages are ignored? Do you envision a black hole where your outgoing e-mail is swallowed up, never to be read by human eyes? Well, that's exactly what happens to thousands of e-mail messages each year. And it's mainly because of what you put -- or neglect to put -- in the subject line.

What's the big deal about the subject line? Read about the importance of the e-mail subject line at

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Ask the Book Doctor -- What do Acquisitions Editors Really Mean?

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: Recently a member of my writer's group got a letter back from an acquisitions editor saying that he liked her work but she needs to be careful with "stock romance imagery." We don't know what he means.

A: What a great tip! Without seeing the manuscript, I can only interpret the comment without being specific, but here's my take on it:

Romance novels in the past were famous for incorporating predictable language and images. All the women had slender waists and slender wrists; all the men had rippling muscles. The characters tended to be purely good or all evil. Certain images of the characters, settings, and events became clichés in the romance industry. Today's romance publishers want good novels with unique settings, characters, imagery, conflicts, and resolutions.

Perhaps the manuscript relied on scenes, characters, settings, conflicts, descriptions, or other elements that were once standard in the romance industry, and the publisher would like to see fresh ideas, rather than stale ones.

Read more about acquisitions editors at

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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

Barbara Florio Graham has completely overhauled her website, and now offers a great deal of free information on a variety of topics. Check it out at One item recently posted is a warning about entering contests or submitting to anthologies. Bobbi suggests you read guidelines carefully to make sure the publisher doesn't take your material without compensation. A recent contest contained the wording: "All entries, photographs and images become the property of [name of publisher]." This means that you will lose all control over your original work, which may appear in any number of publications, Web sites, or promotional materials without your receiving any payment. You may even not receive a byline or any other credit.

Interested in investing in the stock market, but don't have the time or experience? Steve Haberman's Beginner's Guide to Top Low Cost CommonStock Mutual Funds (ISBN:1-4166-6908-8) explains how. In eight detailed-filled chapters, the Guide explains how funds work, their tax aspects, and guidelines about when to sell. Also included are 13 top low expense funds, including one that turned $10,000 into over $396,000 over three decades. Investing in low expense funds let Steve Haberman quit the rat race early in life. They've also permitted him to travel to Europe many times. Available at For more information: and

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SPAWN Founder Mary Embree announces the The Second Annual Ventura Book Festival on Saturday, August 25, 2007 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Ventura, 5654 Ralston Street, Ventura, CA 93003. The book festival is produced by the Literary Arts Society as a joint project of the LASVC and the Unitarian Universalist Church. Authors, publishers, booksellers, and others will have tables where festival-goers may look at and purchase books. A wide range of genres will be featured. They will also be presenting seminars on writing, editing, publishing, and promoting books and will have a panel discussion on self-publishing. Publishers, authors, graphic designers, illustrators, bookstores, libraries, and nonprofit groups are invited to exhibit, sell, and/or promote their books, services, and organizations. Exhibitor's booths with a display table and two chairs will be provided. Registration fee is $100 per table for those who register before July 31, 2007. After that date, the fee will be $125 per table. The deadline for all registrants is August 18. Those wishing to participate may get an application form by sending an e-mail to or calling (805) 643-3385 and making a request. An application will be sent either by e-mail or USPS. For more information, call festival coordinator Mary Embree at (805) 643-3385.

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Read more about the latest contests at

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Events and More

Read more 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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