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SPAWNews, August, 2003

Wendy Dager, Editor

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I’ve been having a good time lately. This is not news to those who know me well, since I try to have a good time pretty much everywhere I go: Chatting with people in line at the supermarket; taking my kids out to lunch during the summer months; shopping for bargains at the thrift store.

From a writing aspect, the good time I refer to is the contests I have entered lately. This is something new—or, rather, renewed—for me. I entered writing contests early on in my career and even won a few. Years ago, a sitcom idea of mine actually "placed" in the top 100 in a Writer’s Digest Magazine competition. I also once won a gift basket for a Mother’s Day essay, and I even got some recognition for my bad prose, which was the object of a local Bulwer-Lyton contest.

But I stopped entering writing contests—mostly because I didn’t have the time or patience to craft that short story or article or limerick. I was also deterred by entrance fees—worried I’d be wasting my money since I wasn’t sure my work had a chance of winning.

I don’t know what started me entering contests again. A newfound confidence? A "why not" attitude? Perhaps, instead, it has something to do with my wanting to have a good time. For instance, writing fiction had always been difficult for me, but I managed to churn out a novel, and, amazingly, had a darn good time doing it. So, still high off that feeling, I recently entered a short story contest. I haven’t learned yet if I won anything. It’d be nice if I did, but even if I don’t, I will remember the exhilaration I felt when the story was complete, tucked into an envelope, and dropped into the mailbox at the post office. Being a creative person doesn’t mean that we always have to suffer for our art. Even when we’re working, it sure doesn’t hurt to have a good time.

Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews.

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SPAWN has purchased a booth at the 2003 Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival to take place on Saturday, September 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

We are inviting members to participate in the booth either in person (we'll schedule shifts) or from a distance. Those who cannot be there, can send one copy of each book title for display along with promotional material for a fee of $10 each title.

Space is limited, so make your reservations now. For additional information and to reserve space, contact Patricia at

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The Market Update is an additional benefit provided for SPAWN members. Each month we publish 8-15 pages of information and resources for writers and publishers. The August issue of the SPAWN Market Update features 5 new magazines that need writers and photographers. In this issue, we report on a publisher that is aggressively seeking authors, 4 sites for writers/researchers and you'll also find interviews with an author/book coach and a publisher who publishes works by young people.

Here's a quote from Deb, publisher/Executive Editor at SynergEbooks, "All writers should read and write every day if they are serious about their craft. But write what you know whenever possible. Find your strengths, be it dialogue, description or otherwise, and use that to its full advantage. Get yourself a journal and write down every new word and/or description you find in other peoples' work. Keep all of your unfinished stories and go back to them frequently to see if they spark. And listen to your characters when you're writing--they will speak to you. And often they will take you to places you never dreamed possible in your writing."

This month's Market Update answers your questions:

  • Where are digital publishers placing their books for sale?
  • Can a writing coach help you to increase your writing success?
  • Which book publisher is looking for authors for specific nonfiction topics?
  • How will Ingram's new policies affect small publishers?
  • Where can you get free copies of popular magazines for your research?
  • Is it possible to earn a living as a writer/publisher while still living a life?

All back issues of the Market Update are available in the Member's Only area of the SPAWN Web site,

Join SPAWN now for access to this generous issue of SPAWN Market Update and all 20 back issues.

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The July meeting had relatively low attendance, but the speaker was entertaining as well as informative. Author Donn LeVie's topic was, "Collaborating with Convicts, Small Publishing Houses, and Other Nightmares." He shared his sometimes incredible experiences (good and bad!) while collaborating with other writers on a book. He related that successful collaboration is "part art, part science, and part luck--and at times can feel like it's coming apart at the seams."The August meeting will be held on Thursday the 14th and will feature book designer Tamara Dever of TLC Graphics. If you wish to join the Austin Chapter, e-mail Tamara Dever,


One of the next meetings of the Baltimore Chapter will be August 27 at the Towson, Maryland Barnes and Noble. If folks can't become SPAWN members now, we appreciate a donation of $5 each time they come to a meeting after the first three to help save money for chapter events. The Baltimore Chapter of SPAWN will continuously have 2 meetings per month, one on a weekday and one on the weekend, so that all SPAWN members may benefit from the experience. For more information, e-mail Ramona Davis,


If you're interested in starting a SPAWN Chapter in your area, find out more at, then contact Patricia Fry at Please remember that you must be a paid SPAWN member prior to becoming a SPAWN chapter leader.

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SPAWN is offering you an opportunity to promote your books, services and businesses to thousands of people. We are pleased to announce that we will be producing a catalog of members’ books, services and businesses. This catalog will be posted on the SPAWN Web site for one full year if you maintain your membership in SPAWN. The catalog will be available for reading and/or downloading by the general public and by SPAWN Chapter leaders. Note that the SPAWN site receives over 150,000 visitors per year.

Your book covers, publicity photos, and logos will appear in color on the Web site. You can see the examples for one book page and one services page at We are also producing a print version of the catalog for distribution at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival on September 20, 2003. We will not be mailing any copies of the print version.

And the fee for this opportunity? Only $35 per title, business, or service for members. Only $20 per title or service for members who are also participating in the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival. This is in addition to the fee for book festival participation.

For more information about the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival, contact Patricia Fry at

Sign up now to promote your book(s) and/or advertise your editing, publishing, printing, graphic arts or other service or business in the SPAWN catalog.

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Join SPAWN.
  2. Fill out the form with full book information and pay your listing fee at the SPAWN Catalog Signup Form.
  3. Send your cover graphic as an attachment to
  4. That's it! Your listing will be included in the catalog distributed at the Santa Barbara Book Festival, and in the online version.

Each ad will fill one-sixth of an 8.5 x 11 page and it will run for one year. The printed version of the catalog will be handed out at all book festivals where SPAWN has a booth.

If your membership expires within that year and you do not renew your membership, your ad will be dropped.

This offer is for members only.

This offer is for members only. Join SPAWN now to participate! .

If you have any questions, please contact:

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By Ramona Davis 

There are many children in the world who experience emotional pain.  

In order to help these children we must understand their pain. But  first we must get them to open up. How? One way is through writing.    

 Writing saved my life. My family moved around a lot. By grade 6, I  had been to 13 schools! I gave up trying to make friends. I stayed  locked in my room, reading. Books gave me exotic places to visit and  an endless supply of friends. In the 5th grade, I was introduced to  the works of great poets and I started writing poetry. My writing  gave me salvation and a friendly ear when no one else would listen.  

 I continued my love affair with writing into adulthood. And I also began to study the therapeutic value of poetry through such experts  as Arlene Hynes, Nicholas Mazza, John Fox and the National  Association for Poetry Therapy. 

 Because of my own experiences and my studies, my belief in the power  of poetry as therapy grew. And in June 2003, my husband Jason and I  started PJPKidz N' Teenz, Ltd., a non-profit youth outreach organization designed to use poetry to develop a child’s creative expression and communication skills and help them to heal. This method of healing not only helps youth express their feelings, but also helps them to gain self confidence and self esteem. A youngster can express himself  in a supportive and nurturing environment. He is motivated  to articulate his aspirations and visions while gaining the tools necessary to maintain a positive outlook on life.  

 We accomplish our mission by visiting local schools and youth  organizations to present poetry workshops that teach the youth how  to reach inside themselves and use their inner feelings to create  poetry that will help them heal instead of keeping their negative  emotions locked inside. Many of the children we work with come from  homes with little guidance and more yelling and cursing than  hugging and nurturing. These children don’t realize that they have the ability to write poetry--most often all they need is a push  in the right direction to get the creative juices flowing and at least one moment where someone actually listens to their feelings.  

As adults, many of us understand how important our writing can be to  our mentaland emotional health. I believe it is critical for children to be introduced to the power of writing, as well. Whether it is through poetry, short stories or journal writing, they need to find this creative outlet. I share my childhood experiences with  every child I work with because I believe that my story can be an  inspiration to them and because I can remember when I was once where they are now. 

 a Child's Pain  

How many screams from my mother today? 

Depends on how mad she is. 

And how many hits from my dad today? 

Well, depends on how drunk he gets. 

So how do I keep my smiling facade? 

By writing away my gloom. 

An excerpt, Copyright © 2003 Ramona Davis  

This poem is a variation of Shel Silverstein's "How Much, How Many"

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SPAWN is pleased to announce that we are branching out to develop, support and guide young people in their writing endeavors. We are in the early stages of developing a pilot program through the Ojai Valley Youth Foundation in Ojai, California designed to benefit and nurture young writers. Through this program, we hope to encourage talented young writers in honing their skills and finding outlets for their work. We also want to attract children and teens who are considered at-risk and show them how to use writing as a tool for coping, healing, esteem-building and joy. SPAWN is a 501(c)3 organization and has already received some funding for this program. At this point, we are encouraging additional funding as well as additional ideas for a building a viable program.

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Chuck Hillig’s latest book, Seeds For the Soul, was selected as Book-of-the-Month by, the oldest and largest Book Review site on the Web.  For more information about Seeds For the Soul: or

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

A collection of genuine stories from people who have triumphed in life by simply being ordinary is being compiled and edited by literary agent Jeff Herman. Submissions should be made to: Ordinary, c/o Jeff Herman, P.O. Box 1522, Stockbridge, MA 01262. Deadline is August 15, 2003.

The SPAN BookPublish 2003 College will be held in Torrance, California on October 24-26. Save the date and watch for more information soon.

Members of the Sacramento Publishers and Authors are planning to reserve a booth at the ALA Convention in Seattle on February 24-28, 2004, to display their books. They are seeking other authors who wish to have their books displayed to keep the costs down. They ask that any SPAWN members who are interested please contact Ernie Spencer at

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Join SPAWN now and receive one FREE book by Patricia Fry. See the selection from which you can choose your book at the Member Benefits page. Members can participate in the SPAWN e-mail discussion list and interact with their peers. As a member, you can also 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.
  • Metasearch where you can run a single search and get results from six of the top search engines.
  • A simple Poll where you can tell SPAWN what you think about the Member Area.


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San Luis Obispo Nightwriters announce its 14th Annual Short Story Contest. 500-word maximum; story must begin with: "Be careful what you wish for." Deadline is August 31, 2002. For more information: Fran Lombardo, (805) 481-6531 or e-mail

The 2003 DIY Book Festival has issued a call for entries for its annual program celebrating independent authors and publishers. Award winners will be honored at a ceremony held this October in Los Angeles. The DIY Book Festival will consider self-published or independent publisher nonfiction, fiction, children’s books, how-to, photography/art, comics, fan fiction, zines and e-books released after Jan. 1, 2001. All entries must be in English and have been self-published or issued by an independent house that has published less than 50 works since the entry cut-off point.

This year the grand prize for the 2003 DIYBF Author of the Year is $1000 cash and a flight to Los Angeles. Other genre category winners will receive software, books and assorted prizes, including a review of their work in the

Deadline: Submissions in each category must be postmarked by Sept. 24, 2003. Entry forms are available online at

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Please note: Although SPAWNews does its best to filter announcements and press releases for various events, seminars, and classes, we cannot guarantee a successful experience for all who attend.

You will have the opportunity to meet James Bond and over 60 other Film/TV/Real spies at SpyFest 2003 on the Queen Mary August 9-10. For more information:

Patricia Fry is also teaching a class on self-publishing at the Ventura College in Ventura, CA Saturday, August 9 from 9 a.m. to noon. To enroll or for more information on Self-publishing: A Step-by-step Journey Through the Publishing Process, contact Karen Gorback at 805-654-6459.

PJPKidz N’ Teenz, Ltd and PoeticJava Publishing (Ramona and Jason Davis) are hosting the following events: 2nd Saturdays- PoeticExpressions- showing youth a positive way to self –expression, 5 to 8 pm, 4604 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore MD; Youth to age 17 FREE, Adults $10 and the cover is tax deductible- hosted by PJPKidz N' Teenz, LTD.

 3rd Sundays- NEW EVENT- PoeticPride- an open mic venue geared to the GLBT community but all are welcome, 4 to 7 p.m. beginning August 17, SOHO Tea and Coffee, 2150 P St NW WDC (Dupont Circle- corner of 21st and P); $5.00 cover- hosted by PoeticJava Publishing

 4th Saturdays- Girls Nite Out- an open mic venue just for the ladies, 4 to 6:30 p.m., 4604 Reisterstown Rd Baltimore MD; $5.00 cover- hosted by PoeticJava Publishing

 1st Annual Youth Poetry Slam - Saturday August 16, 2003, 12-2:30 p.m. Every youth that enters will receive a gift and there will be prizes for winners in each age group. Youth to age 17 FREE, adults 18 and older, $5 and the cover charge is a tax deductible donation to PJPKidz N’ Teenz, Ltd. FMI,

For more information, email Ramona Davis at or call 877-POETICJAVA. Sign up for their monthly newsletter by emailing to You can also join our online group by sending an email to

Artists Helping Artists (AHA!) and The Creative Line magazine are offering the first 1,000 artists that register at FREE access to the big Southern California Call to Arts! Expo on Saturday Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the beautiful University Student Union facilities at Cal State Fullerton (about 5 miles from Disneyland). The Call to Arts! Expo will include over 2000 artists coming together, 100 arts and music exhibitors and organizations, 25 musical performances/sets at the Creative Vision musical showcase (with folk, Latin, Rock, World Fusion and Visionary) on the Main Stage in the exhibition pavilion, a juried visual art exhibition of more than 30 top fine artists and the Longest Open Mic Showcase west of the Mississippi featuring another 100 songwriters. To receive the FREE offer to the Call to Arts! expo artists must register at Expo Registration page at and then deliver one sample of their art work—visual art print, CD, demo, book of poetry, etc.—to the big ART BINS at Registration on the day of the Expo. For more info on the offer and the expo go to the web site or email or call (818) 897-3130.

The third annual Amelia Island Book Festival, dedicated to literacy, love and celebration of the written word and the community of writers and readers, is October 2-5, 2003. It features more than 30 authors of novels,mysteries, histories, westerns, suspense thrillers, poetry and books for young readers. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet the authors andparticipate in workshops with authors, agents, editors, publishers and publicists. The festival features several events including Rock-N-Roll Readings, 25 author-led workshops and discussions, Lunch-with-Authors,Dine-with-Authors and Authors-in-Schools of Nassau County. The $15 festival ticket provides admission to all workshops and readings. The Lunch-with-Authors event is also $15. Luncheon seating is limited. Ticketsare available now at BooksPlus, First Coast Community Bank, the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce offices and by mail. For more information, visit or call the Book Island Festival, 904/491-8176, or e-mail

The tenth Annual Austin Film Festival is October 9-12. For details on badges, teachers, hotel discounts, and full list of confirmed panelists, or any questions, go to or call 1-800-310-3378

Authors for Charity, a group of independent writers, has declared October 2003 "National Authors for Charity Month."  Throughout the month they will be sponsoring book-signing events in cities across the U.S. All participating authors will be donating a portion of their royalties to local charities. For more information: or contact Shirley Dicks,

NoLA Book Fair On the weekend of October 25, 2003, streetcars, booze, food, music,authors, poets, publishers, art book makers, zinesters, booksellers, activists and culture jammers are coming together for a weekend celebration in the heart of old New Orleans. Tables are only $7.00. Participating publishers include City Lights, Soft Skull, AK Press, Last Gasp and Verso. Over 70 publishers are making the trip this year. For more information:

The Maui Writers Conference sets sail on an adventure that is unparalled in the book world. Cruise into history with New York Times best-selling authors Janet Evanovich, John Saul, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth George, Terry Brooks, Susan Wiggs and Gail Tsukiyama who will set sail aboard the MS Rotterdam for the 1st Annual MWC PANAMA CANAL CRUISE for BOOK LOVERS and WRITERS, March 3-13, 2004. E-mail Georja Skinner, for more information.

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By Virginia Lawrence 

Last month we discussed optimizing your Web site with a small set of keyword phrases in mind. This month we discuss the next step, submitting the site URL to the search engines.

Real the full article.

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Electronic Scrip Incorporated (ESI) is a California-based corporation dedicated to establishing relationships between commerce and community. Since 1999, over $40 million has been distributed to schools and groups. eScrip is a fantastic resource for fundraising where participating business partners contribute a percentage of your grocery loyalty cards, credit card, and debit/ ATM card purchases to up to three schools, groups or organizations of your choice. You register any one or all of your existing grocery loyalty, debit and credit card for use in the program. Participating merchants will make contributions to your chosen group, based on purchases made by you, just by using the cards you have registered. You can go to, click on the orange Sign Up button, type in SPAWN, then register your grocery cards and/or credit cards. SPAWN, a 501(c)3 organization, gets a little over 2% in donations from all purchases from participating merchants. If you already have an eScrip account, please remember that you can list up to three groups. Thank you for supporting SPAWN.

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August, 2003

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

SPAWN Webmaster


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Executive Director


Patricia Fry

SPAWN President


Advisory Council

Carol Doering

Dallas Glenn

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Jean Wade


Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


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, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653 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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