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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, August, 2006

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

- Santa Barbara Festival

- Q&A

- Book Review

- What Makes a Good Book Cover Design?

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

There is something motivating about this time of year. We sit at the keyboard, furiously writing that novel or nonfiction book, hoping to have it ready to send to editors who will soon be returning to their desks from summer hiatus.

Or maybe we sit at the keyboard because it’s just too darn hot to leave the house.

Whatever it is, your intrepid SPAWNews editor has recently received a flurry of e-mails from writers who want to sell their work.

Here’s a sample:


I know this is not the standard way to contact a publisher about a potential book deal, but I am curious if you might have interest in my current project.

(Project details omitted)

I am wondering if your business would have interest in taking on this project. We would be happy to send you our manuscript for your review.

I thank you for your time, and look forward to your reply.


(Name omitted)"

While I understand this e-mailer’s desire to become a published author, there are several things wrong with his approach.

One problem is that he wrote a generic "hello." You should always address business correspondence to a "real" person, unless the publisher indicates otherwise, i.e. "Submissions Editor," "Editorial Department," etc.

Additionally, the gentleman says he knows it is not "the standard way to contact a publisher," yet he does it anyway. It is extremely important to check a publisher’s guidelines prior to sending a query and/or a manuscript.

His biggest mistake is his belief that SPAWN is a publisher. We often get e-mails from folks who are under this misimpression. As our members and newsletter subscribers know, SPAWN is not a publisher, but a networking organization for publishers, artists and writers. The cardinal rule of marketing is to know your marketplace. It takes some effort to research potential publishers, agents, or other venues to find out if they are a good match to you and your work, but it is worth your while and theirs.

SPAWN is happy to help writers, artists and publishers help themselves to resources, but it’s up to individuals to be as thorough and professional as possible when going about the business of selling their work. For information about the many SPAWN member benefits, please see Patricia Fry’s response to another e-mailer in our Q&A section.

Meanwhile, try to stay motivated during this record-temperature summer. It sure is easier than staying cool!

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Meet Wendy August 8 at the Thousand Oaks, California Borders Books. Details in Member News.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

We’re celebrating the 70th edition of the SPAWN Market Update!

People joining SPAWN today will receive many more benefits than those who joined even five years ago. SPAWN members today have access to 70 editions of the SPAWN Market Update. And that computes into hundreds and hundreds of links, resources, opportunities and information bites, and they're posted in the member area of the SPAWN Web site.

That's right—you can use our search feature to locate the information you need on subjects of interest to writers, authors, screenwriters, artists, photographers and others within the publishing realm.

The August 2006 edition of the SPAWN Market Update has over 50 opportunities and resources for freelance writers and authors. There are also resources and links for artists and photographers. Included in this edition are 17 places where you can get your book reviewed and 11 magazines that use book excerpts. We list several new magazines and a few book publishers. We also provide ordering information for a book that lists publishers who are specifically seeking new, unpublished authors.

And, we’ve found the remedy for writers who have trouble disciplining themselves. No kidding, there's a site to help you write that book or article you've been putting off. One SPAWN member says that this free program is motivating her to write on a more regular basis. Read her story.

We ask you to share your most unusual book sale story. Read my tale of a blind man who wanted to purchase all of the books I brought to an event—and how I sell books from the trunk of my car.

In this month’s August 2006 Market Update you’ll find:

  • Creative ways to make your down-time with this captive audience work for you
  • Wanted: Information on affluent males, over 40
  • Discovered your "purpose in life?" Find out who wants reflections on how you’re living it
  • Who wants insights on crucial issues facing young people
  • Need motivation to write? Check out this challenge!
  • A great book filled with listings of publishers looking for NEW WRITERS
  • Industry Update: The latest news on obtaining a copyright
  • How to get the most exposure from your book’s review
  • More than 50 opportunities for writers!

Join SPAWN now. The leads and information you glean from just one SPAWN Market Update—available only in the Member Area—will more than pay for your membership. Act on the leads and information we provide and you WILL sell more books, get your articles published, sell your art and more.

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 will be unable to log onto SPAWN’s "Members Only" page.

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Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival with SPAWN

Come visit the SPAWN booth in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, Saturday September 30, 2006 from 10:00 to 5:00 at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival. For more information about the festival, go to

When you visit the SPAWN booth, you can meet SPAWN President, Patricia Fry, and Virginia Lawrence, Executive Director. You will also meet the SPAWN members who are sharing the booth. Looking forward to seeing you there!

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Please find attached information about the above-mentioned new book.

If you can assist in any way with my marketing of it, I would be most grateful.

Yours Sincerely,


Hi S.,

Thank you for your interest in SPAWN, the Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network, and congratulations on your new book. You must be thrilled to hold in your hands the results of your labor. But now the real work begins. You must take off your writer hat and don your promoter hat. In today's publishing climate, it is up to the author to promote his/her book.

You asked how SPAWN can help you to promote your book. Let me count the ways:

    Subscribe to SPAWNews

  1. Read every issue of our free newsletter to stay apprised of events, techniques and resources that you can pursue on behalf of your book.
  2. Check out our newsletter archives for numbers of book promotion articles and resources.
  3. Visit the SPAWN Web site. We have posted an enormous number of resources and articles that address the issue of book promotion.
  4. Join SPAWN

  5. Read the monthly SPAWN Market Update, posted in the member area of the SPAWN Web site. Each issue gives opportunities and ideas for promoting your book.
  6. Study all 70+ back issues of the SPAWN Market Update. You'll find hundreds more promotional ideas and resources.
  7. Advertise your book in the SPAWN Catalog of Member Books and Services. The Catalog of Member Books and Services is posted at the SPAWN Web site. We also hand out the printed version at book festivals and other events.
  8. Participate in book festivals with SPAWN.
  9. Participate in SPAWNDiscuss and the SPAWN Forum to learn how others authors are promoting their books.

So, to answer your question, SPAWN can certainly assist you in promoting your book, but what we offer is empowerment and education through information, resources and techniques. We arm you with the knowledge and the tools to successfully promote your own book while also providing a few opportunities to help in your promotional efforts.

I suggest spending some time pursuing the materials I mentioned and I believe it would behoove you to consider joining our organization. Please let me know if you have any further questions.


Patricia Fry, President


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The Perfect Screenplay: Writing It and Selling It

By Katherine Atwell Herbert

Allworth Press

ISBN: 1-58115-439-9

215 pages, $16.95

Review by Patricia Fry

Veteran script analyst and writer, Katherine Atwell Herbert wrote this book for the aspiring as well as the experienced screenwriter who dreams of making it in Hollywood. Perhaps you know Herbert by her other books: "Writing Scripts Hollywood Will Love" and "Selling Scripts to Hollywood." Surely, you’re familiar with some of her work for "Trial by Jury," "Murder She Wrote" and "Quantum Leap."

To read the full review of "The Perfect Screenplay: Writing It and Selling It," go to

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What Makes a Good Book Cover Design?

By Lewis Agrell

The best covers are those that are the most beautiful. Billions of dollars are spent every year in advertising, fashion and manufacturing to infuse more and more beauty. Why? Because beauty attracts the eye. That's why the most beautiful models, actresses, cars, houses and boats cost the most money. Beauty is a precious, treasured commodity.

Beauty has specific qualities: harmony, balance, unity, synthesis, and refinement. Designers struggle to make the colors and design elements—fonts, photos, illustrations, and other graphic elements—work in such a way that the greatest beauty is attained.

Read more about how to achieve the best cover design for your book at:

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Self Publishing Versus Finding an Agent

By Bobbie Christmas

To read about this 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

Star Publish ( announces the July 2006 release of "Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch" by Robin Cohen Westmiller. Anyone who has vacationed in the beautiful Catskill Mountains knows the village of Ellenville, New York, and no visit to Ellenville was complete without a stop in Cohen's Quality Bakery, "Home of the World Famous Raisin Pumpernickel." Cohen’s Bakery owners Ruby and Reginia Cohen struggled together for over fifty years to build a lasting legacy for their grandchildren and financial security for themselves in their retirement years, yet it took only a handful of outsiders less than eighteen months to destroy everything they worked their entire lives to acquire. Robin says, "This is the true account of the events that lead to the near destruction of our family at the hands of my cousins, a court appointed guardian, and one of the most powerful Elder Law attorneys in South Florida. It is a story of determination, fortitude and of the victory, which inspired the creation of the National Association To Stop Guardian Abuse. They say blood is thicker than water, but you can't bathe in it, you can't cook with it, and blood tastes lousy with scotch." "Blood Tastes Lousy With Scotch" is available in paperback and e-book versions, and can be purchased at local bookstores and at online bookstores such as (5 star review!),, and others. Robin Cohen Westmiller is also author of "Red Wine for Breakfast" and "First Class Male," published under her pen name, Raven West. To visit Robin Cohen Westmiller online, go to Robin’s short story collection of erotica, "Journey To Dimension Nine" was also recently released by her other publisher, Lighthouse Press.

Anne Louise Grimm announces that Washington (state) Governor Chris Gregiore wrote a proclamation for "Eleanor Roosevelt Day" on August 14, 2006. According to Anne, "One more step in the recognition of a woman on the national calendar, begun in a rural corner of the state with a column in a weekly newspaper in October 1993. Followed with a resolution by the state Grange the following June and the National Grange—putting 300,000 behind it—in November." See the Eleanor Roosevelt Web site and write to join the campaign.

Patricia Fry's latest book, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book," is receiving rave reviews. The two most recent reviews were written by Cristy Lawler of "Reader Views" and Rob Preece of "Books For a Buck." Check out the reviews at and, or see them posted on the book page at,

Patricia Fry just returned from Seattle, where she presented a workshop on article-writing at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference. It was a wonderful conference attended by over 350 enthusiastic writers and authors. Her next stop is Jaynesville, Wisconsin, where she will present a workshop on authorship at the Wisconsin Regional Writers Association Conference September 23 and 24. Learn more at

Wendy Dager will be signing copies of the anthology "Out of Thin Air" at the August 8 meeting of the Ventura County Writers Club at Borders in Thousand Oaks, California at 7:00 p.m. Wendy’s first-place prizewinning short story "The Concrete is Always Greener" appears in the anthology. She and other contest winners will be reading short story excerpts and poems. To purchase a copy of the anthology, send $11.50 to Gerry Schiller, P.O. Box 246, Newbury Park, California 91319. For more information about the Ventura County Writers Club, go to

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

The Black Writers Guild of Irving is hosting a pitch party in Irving, Texas in October. They're seeking agents, editors and publishers to attend. For more information contact Christina Taylor at

St. Louis Writers Guild has launched a writing project to involve the public in writing a tongue-in-cheek book about the Mississippi River--what it's REALLY like! It's an anthology of brief recollections, observations, laments, celebrations, humor, and soapbox tirades--all aimed at revealing aspects of life on the Big Muddy. The working title is "MIGHTY OR MUDDY? Reflections on the Mississippi River by Those Who Know it Well." Publication is planned for October 2006, after which the original submissions binder (with autographed submissions) will be raffled or auctioned off. This is a St. Louis literary, historical event. For more information: Deadline is August 31, 2006. The address to send submissions is St. Louis Writers Guild, Collaborative Book Project, POB 771765, St. Louis, MO 63177, or fax: 314-821-3823.

Vendors are wanted by the Bakersfield Californians Second Annual Festival of Books. The event, organized by the Kern Adult Literacy Council, will be held Saturday, November 4, 2006 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the California State University Bakersfield Gymnasium. For more information, e-mail Ashley Hurst, or call (661) 324-3213.

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

Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

Read about the coming events at:

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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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SPAWNews 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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