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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, September, 2005

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

- SPAN Conference and Trade Show

- Market Update

- Q&A

- 11 Ways to Promote Your Blog

- Good Search Engine Marketing Depends on Good Writing

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Elegant Writing

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Effective time management can be an enormous challenge to writers, artists, publishers and just plain human beings. Here are two tips that might inspire you to be a better manager.

From Sandra Murphy, SPAWN member and pet sitter, St. Louis, Missouri: "I was whining that I didn't have time to write. Then I remembered reading about a French author who said he wrote a whole book in ten-minute segments because his wife was always ten minutes late coming down for dinner or getting ready for parties.

It has been hotter than heck here. I'm melting. My car thinks that air conditioning should only be on when it is in "park." So when I come out from a pet visit, the car is hot and I sit and let the air conditioner run to cool it off. How long do I sit? Ten minutes.

I started to write while I'm cooling off. I have notebooks in the car and one in my purse. I can write several paragraphs in ten or fifteen minutes. If I'm idling away gas that is $2.35 a gallon here, then I should be writing to make money as it's burning away."

From SPAWN President Patricia Fry, Ojai, California: "When I started my writing career many years ago, a popular piece of advice was to start writing as soon as you get out of bed each morning without even stopping by the bathroom. Just get up and start typing. I still follow that advice with a few small tweaks. I DO visit the bathroom first--how else is one to concentrate (oh my) and I also go to the kitchen. I drink a tall glass of water (we're often dehydrated after a night's sleep and need ample fluids to keep our brains functioning), a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and then I go for the coffee. I leave any leftover dishes from last night's dinner or late night snacks in the sink, walk past the dust bunnies and avoid opening up the morning newspaper until I've put in at least three hours at the computer. On a typical day, I'm at my desk by 5:15."

And from your intrepid editor, Simi Valley, California: 5:15 a.m. is way too early for me, but I’ve always said that Patricia Fry is one of the hardest working writers in the biz. I certainly don’t have the discipline she does. Also doesn’t help when there are constant distractions. In fact, as I was writing this month’s editor’s note, my 16-year-old burst into my office in a fit of teen angst. While I tried to convince her that her best friend wasn’t purposely ignoring her phone calls, my concentration on work dissolved. Thank goodness school has started, so I can settle back into a nice, quiet routine. Or will I? Perhaps our readers can send other time management tips to We’ll publish them in a future issue of SPAWNews. Meanwhile, I think my 13-year-old is calling me… something about her needing me to fix her hair…

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

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SPAWN Recommends SPAN's Small Publishers Marketing Conference and Trade Show

SPAN's mission has always been to help small publishers sell more books, increase profits, and create more successful businesses. SPAN's Small Publishers Marketing Conference and Trade Show on October 21–23, 2005 in Denver, Colorado, will provide a concentrated course in the marketing, sales, and PR aspects of the publishing industry.

For more information:

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The September SPAWN Market Update has something for every member. Those of you who aren't yet members can benefit by joining SPAWN. Not only will you gain immediate access to the current issue of the Market Update, you'll be able to view the dozens of others we’ve archived. What's so hot about the September edition? You'll find nearly 50 solid opportunities, resources and articles pertinent to writers, authors and artists.

You’ll also learn how to successfully manage the abundance of e-newsletters you receive. Make good money writing fillers for magazines. Promote your book through newsletters--I'll give you access to millions of them. Are you interested in writers’ conferences? I've found a great directory for you. And I've listed jobs for writers, authors and artists.

In the latest Market Update, you’ll find out:

  • What a one-book author has in common with an author who has published fifty-two books
  • The writing most magazines need more than anything else (and per word you could make good money)
  • How to determine the newsletters most deserving of your precious time
  • Why it’s never too late to get your book reviewed
  • A targeted audience venue for promoting your book through remotely related topics

If you're serious about becoming a successful publishing professional, you must study every edition of the SPAWN Market Update and become personally involved in the SPAWN organization.

Not a member yet? Want to see what you’re missing? Contact to get a sneak peek.

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Can you direct me towards classes that teach comic book writing? I live in South Pasadena. Also, I am looking for someone to whom I could send my comic book panels for feedback. Do you have any idea how I might go about finding someone to advise me in this capacity?

Many thanks and regards,


Dear LR,

Thanks for writing to SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). Are you familiar with Joe Kubert's school of Cartoon and Graphic Art? They are in New Jersey, but have correspondence courses. Check them out at You might also visit Daryl Cagle's Web site at Are you familiar with Cartooniversity? Find out more about them at Here are a few sites that offer directories of cartoon schools:,

I also suggest that you do a Google search to find others. For example, type in the keywords, "cartoon schools" or "animation schools."

You might also join SPAWN in order to have access to the monthly SPAWN Market Update. I frequently report on opportunities for artists, photographers and, yes, cartoonists.

In case you're interested, here are a few magazines that publish cartoons: Boys Life, Campus Life, Cat Fancy, Utne, Chicago Reader, Sacramento News and Review, Discoveries, Open Spaces, My Youth Worker Journal (this mag pays $100 per cartoon).

I hope this has helped.


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)

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I just finished reading the article "Over 75 Good Ideas For Promoting Your Book" on your Web site and I'm wondering if you could tell me how I should find a good book publicist? How do I determine which ones of all of the publicists listed on the Internet are good and which ones are not? What questions should I be asking these people? Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Hi Mark,

Good question. Referrals/recommendations are always an excellent way to locate potential publicists--good old word of mouth. Find books similar to yours that are doing well and find out who the authors hired to do their promotion.

Probably the next most important thing to consider is whether this publicist is compatible with your book topic. As you know, not every book is successfully marketed through the same channels. An effective publicist must be somewhat familiar with your topic and/or able and willing to do the research necessary to learn the potential market.

Third, always ask for references. Talk to his/her other clients and listen carefully for any red flags. A publicist who will not reveal a client list is a publicist you should cross off your list.

Number four: Communicate with a potential publicist to make sure you will work well together and that you want this person representing your book.

Five: Ask him/her exactly what sort of marketing ideas they would consider in promoting your book. Let the publicist know up front what you are and are not willing to do in order to promote your book. Some publicists can keep you awfully busy traveling and making appearances. Is this what you want? Make sure you and the publicist are on the same page.

You might also consider joining SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). We often interview or mention publicists in our monthly newsletter and the SPAWN Market Update. I frequently publish book marketing opportunities and ideas, as well. SPAWNews is free. In order to view the more in-depth Market Update, you must be a member. Go to for more information.

I hope this helps and good luck with your project.


Patricia Fry, President

SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)

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(Note: The following was submitted by SPAWN member Leon Cooper and used with permission of

11 Ways to Promote Your Blog

By Chileshe Mwape

Read about the various successful ways to promote your own blog at

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Good Search Engine Marketing Depends on Good Writing

By Virginia Lawrence

When you’re marketing a Web site, you’re writing and editing for the site visitors and for the search engines too. You are writing the words that your customers and the search engines are looking for.

Read why Web site marketing is dependent on good writing at

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Ask the Book Doctor:

About publishers,, and poor reviews

By Bobbie Christmas

To find out more about these and other topics go to

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Elegant Writing

By Richard F.X. O’Connor

Of late my reading has taken me back to the Civil War. The letters, diaries and memoirs of officers and common soldiers display an eloquence of language completely missing from this age of instant messaging and email. And we are the lesser for it.

For example the color gray, worn by rebel soldiers, was alternately described as butternut gray or chestnut gray. Would we even know today what that reference meant should we happen upon it?

I will let one letter speak volumes. A week before the Battle of Bull Run, Sullivan Ballou, a Major in The Second Rhode Island Volunteers, wrote home to his wife in Smithfield. His letter is pure poetry, an eloquent testament to idealism and nobility.

To read this elegantly written letter go to

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Member News

SPAWN members are being offered a 20% discount at a member’s book store. Join SPAWN now and get that discount. Go to and click on the Join SPAWN Now button in the top left corner of the page.

The 20th anniversary edition of Barbara Florio Graham's popular little book, "Five Fast Steps to Better Writing", contains a new section just for freelancers. It includes an extensive list of resources, information about copyright (both in the U.S. and Canada), her article on "disaster-proofing" assignments, and bonus material on creativity and self-publishing. The book will be launched October 26, 6:00 p.m. at the National Library, Ottawa, in the sunken foyer at 6:00 p.m. For more information on the launch, contact Barbara Florio Graham at 819-663-3206. This is the third book under the Simon Teakettle Ink imprint and is available for $18 + p&h. Details at:, or e-mail

Erika Dreifus has recently published a revised and expanded edition of "The Practicing Writer's Guide to No-Cost Literary Contests and Competitions." The e-book now includes 184 opportunities. Erika says: "For added value, we've excluded competitions that are limited to writer-entrants from a single state or province." Download a complimentary preview with sample listings at

Patricia Fry has a busy month planned for October. On October 8, she'll be speaking on The Right Way to Write and Publish a Book at the Write4Hope Charity Conference in Simi Valley, CA, On October 21-23, she will be at the 2nd annual Meet Me in St. Louis Book Festival to give a workshop on book promotion, On October 29, The Toastmasters have invited her to speak at their regional conference in Los Angeles. The subject: writing and speaking. For more about Patricia, her work and her engagements go to

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

Phil Spotts, owner of Phil’s Flags in Junction City, Kansas, tells SPAWN that his store has been collecting and shipping used books to soldiers stationed at Fort Riley (Kansas) who are deployed overseas. Phil also accepts overstock or damaged books, as well as children’s books, which are distributed to the children of soldiers. For more information: Phil's Flags, 908-B Grant Avenue, Junction City, KS 66441, 785-762-2242.

A Cup of Comfort is a best-selling anthology (book) series published by Adams Media, an F+W Publications Company, and compiled/edited by Colleen Sell. Each volume features 50 creative nonfiction stories about the experiences and relationships that inspire, sustain, and enrich our lives. Submissions are now being sought for the following new volumes: A Cup of Comfort for Expectant Mothers; submission deadline: September 15, 2005 and A Cup of Comfort for Parents of Children with Autism; submission deadline: November 15, 2005. Guidelines: (click on "Share Your Story"); or email request for guidelines to; or send SASE to P.O. Box 1539, Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424.

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Contests and Awards

Read about the latest contests at:

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Events and More

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.

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 by Patricia Fry. 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


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 (as of December 1, 2003)

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

President of SPAWN

Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Executive Director of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer of SPAWN

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant

Tamara Dever

Book Designer

SPAWN Founder

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant of SPAWN


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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