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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 Archives

SPAWNews, June, 2008

Sandra Murphy, Editor

For contributions to the newsletter and Letters to the Editor, please email 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

- Q&A

- Can I Write for SPAWNews Too?

- Self Publishing vs. Being Self Published

- Ahaa, Atta Girl, Whoopee, and WOW! By Anne Schroeder

- Market Update

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor's Note

By Sandra Murphy

If, when I write, I’ve put together words in a manner more wonderful than ever seen before, have turned a phrase that brings tears to the eye, and have characters who readers want as friends, how do I share them?

Writing is a solitary pursuit. As a pet sitter (my other job), I see more dogs and cats than people. I may be lacking in small talk. Okay, I’ve missed out on the big topics too because I was out walking a dog and trying to figure out what to do with Dead Todd. But I can talk about my writing. It’s what I know best; it’s my passion.

While talking to Jimmy Arthur the Corgi, about a story on superstition helped me work out the details in my mind, he was no help at all in finding an editor to buy it. I’m beginning to think I need to help the story along by having a blog. Yes, me, the techno- challenged, screen cursing, mouse-bouncing writer who just now figured out flash drives!

What would I write? People love to get something free so I’d tell how I came up with an idea for an article. I’d put in links to sites that have helped in writing stories, maybe something forensic that let me explain how Dead Todd got dead. I’d admit that, sometimes, a blank page is a reflection of a blank mind and how that makes me crazy. I’d mention the day I got mad about that and went off to make fourteen pairs of earrings for Christmas presents and one Scottie dog charm bracelet that ended up in Scotland and how when I went back to the blank screen, I could see the vague shadow of a story on it.

Just think—with a blog, you can talk to people without having to get dressed up, never have to worry about salad between your teeth, can take time to come up with a clever remark instead of thinking of it two days later.

Would it help me sell Dead Todd or the superstition story? I don’t know for sure. I’ve read about people who have blogs, are discovered by editors and have a three book deal before reaching legal age to sign the contract. “No fair,” I yell. But the truth is, they’ve let the world know they have words to sell while mine are sitting in a file.

If the thought of talking to strangers gives you a rash, if you need to carry a brown paper bag to breathe into when meeting new people, if you can’t find a clean outfit to wear that doesn’t make your butt look big, why not promote your work online and in your pajamas? Blog, create a webpage, go to My Space, Craig’s List, Facebook… If you found a clean outfit, join a MeetUp in your area and be brave enough to speak up when you’re there. Use a clever signature line in all your emails. The person you are writing to might pass your name on to someone else—a someone who buys words maybe?

Sandy Murphy



I received the letter below from a non-member. It brings focus to the benefits of SPAWN membership. My reply and Patricia Fry’s reply follow.

Dear Ms. Murphy,

I've just completed an article on tithing. Do you know of any magazines currently seeking fillers? The word count is 640. Or, are there, "Want Articles" websites seeking articles? I am mainly interested in off-line publications.

Thank you for any information you provide.

My Reply

Most magazines are now looking for shorter articles. Our attention spans are getting shorter so we want everything summarized. An article I read said fillers were 250 -300 words. At 640, you're longer than a filler but not quite long enough for an article. It would depend on where you submit.

Are you a current SPAWN member? If so, you can always check the Market Update section and even search the archives for suggestions. That's where I find a lot of ideas for writing and submitting. There's also the SPAWN forum where you can exchange ideas with other writers online—they may know of a site looking for your style of writing.

Reply from Patricia Fry

Our newsletter editor sent me your email with regard to your article submission in case I wanted to add to her comments.

Actually, if you are a member of SPAWN, you can access all editions of the SPAWN Market Update, many of which include magazine directories, freelance writing directories and individual magazine listings. Just recently, I posted directories with over 2,000 jobs for freelance writers.

You probably have the 2009 edition of the Writer's Market. I would spend some time with this directory in search of magazines that use fillers and short pieces starting with religious magazines. As Sandy told you, 640 words is a high word-count for a filler. Many magazines use articles in this word-count bracket.

In order to sell an article (or many articles), one must spend a lot of time in research mode—studying the magazines they want to write for, seeking out new magazines in their subject/genre and so forth.

It's more difficult to place an article you've already written than it is to fit the article to the magazine. Most editors want to see a query letter first. If they like your idea, they'll ask you to write the piece or they might ask for an article with a little different focus than you had planned.

I've been writing articles for publication for 35 years. I've written books on the topic and I teach an online article-writing course. I can tell you that there is a lot of competition in this field. You'll have the best chance of breaking in if you locate and study each magazine's submission guidelines and follow them.

As for specific magazines that you might approach with a tithing article, Alive Now uses articles of 250 to 500 words. Catholic Digest publishes articles of as few as 750 words and they also accept fillers of from 200-320 words. Catholic Forester publishes articles of as few as 500 words and Decision accepts pieces of 400 words. Forward in Christ publishes personal experience articles of 550 words and Faith and Friends uses pieces of 500 words. Group, Guideposts, Liguorian, Lutheran Partners, The Lutheran and others also publish articles of 400 to 600 words.

I hope this has helped. Good luck with placing this article and many others.


Patricia Fry, President


Can I write for SPAWNews too?

This month I’ve had several writers ask about writing for SPAWNews. All asked about pay rates, bylines, and mentioning their books or other work. Almost all were non-members. Here’s the short version of my reply.

  • Submission is not a guarantee that your article will be published in SPAWNews.
  • There is no rate of pay; however, it does look good on your resume.
  • You would have a byline.
  • Word count is around 300.
  • Articles should be about some aspect of writing, publishing or promoting your work.
  • We prefer to use articles written by members but will consider outside writers if the article is exceptional.
  • No blatant self-promotion; a signature line is permitted.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or would like to submit a short article, email

Self Publishing Versus Being Self Published

By Patricia L. Fry


The concept of self publishing has been around for as long as writers have been writing. Early self-published authors include Mark Twain, Carl Sandburg and Mary Baker Eddy. More recently, Dan Poynter, James Redfield and Deepak Chopra are among those who have experienced success publishing and promoting their own works. I have published close to two dozen books since 1983 through my publishing company, Matilija Press.

Enter the twenty-first century and the parameters around the term self publishing began to blur. Authors, when discussing self-publishing, discovered that they were sometimes comparing apples to oranges. But there’s only one way to self-publish, right? Well, maybe not.

To read more about the difference between self publishing and self published go to:


By Anne Schroeder

A reader might not be able to articulate what makes a compelling women’s western novel—but she knows it when she sees it.

It’s a combination of Ahaa! Attagirl! Whoopie! and Wow!

Find out how these elements can factor in to your novel writing at:

Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The June Market Update (posted in the member area of the SPAWN website), is rich with industry statistics, jobs for writers and book promotion resources and ideas. Do you want to know what book genres are selling and which ones are pretty much in the toilet right now? If you’re planning a book, this is information you need. Why is this important? Because of the growing—I mean GROWING—competition for authors. In this issue, we announce the outrageous number of new titles produced in 2007. You’ll be shocked!

Did you know that audio book sales are soaring? But are large publishers making decisions that could help them and possibly hurt you? Read this issue and find out.

We list even more writing job directories. If you don’t get writing work or sell an article to promote your book using the resources in this issue, you aren’t even trying.

We attempt something never before attempted—we provide our resource recommendations for authors in the form of must-have books and useful blogs. We give you what you need in order to tout your book on radio and TV.

And this is just some of what you’ll find in the June edition of the SPAWN Market Update. Add this to what is waiting for members in the 6 years of Market Update archives and you’ve discovered something worth hundreds or thousands of times the value of your membership fee of $45.

JOIN SPAWN NOW and get a free book—we give you six titles to choose from—3 ebooks and 3 print books, plus so much more.

In this month's JUNE 2008 Market Update:

  • The list of essential things to do BEFORE approaching traditional publishers or POD companies, or self-publishing
  • Great "freebie" ideas to offer your customers
  • Where to go for explicit instructions for writing book proposals AND find examples of actual successful book proposals
  • What categories of magazines and books are hot right now
  • Learn why there's no more protection for audio books
  • This publisher maintains a database AND editorial calendars for magazines
  • Web directories for writing jobs and other online writing work, plus print jobs
  • A list of the most highly recommended all-around books for authors
  • Ways you can always come across as a professional

Member News

Congratulations to Leon Cooper whose book The War in the Pacific—A Retrospective, has been named a finalist in History/Historical non-fiction category of the 2008 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Check to find out more.

The Author’s Repair Kit is a NEW ebook designed to help you breathe new life into your faltering or failing book. Use Patricia Fry’s post-publication book proposal system and heal your publishing mistakes. The Author's Repair Kit, only 27 pages: $5.95.

SPECIAL BONUS OFFERS NOW AVAILABLE: Notes from Barbara Florio Graham's sold-out workshops on book promotion and humor writing for a small fee with book purchase. See for details.

Barbara Florio Graham

Simon Teakettle Ink

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


The Online Writer's Studio was created in close partnership with the Stanford Creative Writing Program. Classes are taught by Stegner Fellows and acclaimed authors. The Stegner Program, which is one of the most competitive programs at Stanford, regularly attracts the country's most gifted young writers and poets, and their writing workshops receive the highest of ratings from students.

Courses offered this summer include:

Introduction to Creative Writing

Novel Writing: Making a Great Debut

Short Story Writing

Creative Nonfiction: Beginning Your Book

Creative Nonfiction for Magazines

Fiction Writing: The Short Story Cycle

Poetry: Writing the Moment

Classes begin June 23. For more information and to register, please visit:


The Bakersfield California's Fourth Annual Festival of Books is looking for vendors. The event, which is organized by the Kern Adult Literacy Council, will be held Saturday November 1st, 2008 from 10am to 2pm at The Holiday Inn Select in Bakersfield, CA.

Booth location cannot be guaranteed but vendors who register early will have a better location choice. Contact Donna Hylton at 661-324-3213 or email


Read about the latest contests at:

Events and More

Read about the latest contests at:

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

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

Sandra Murphy

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 Sandra Murphy, 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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