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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, September, 2007

Wendy Dager, 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

- Market Update

- Win a Free Book

- Letter to SPAWN

- Book Review

- Sell Books Through Book Reviews

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Kudos

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

I have a running joke with my teenage daughters. I tell them not to do anything to irritate me, or they’ll see themselves in my biweekly opinion column, which I’ve been writing for my local newspaper for nearly ten years. Believe me, over the last decade, my kids have given me plenty of topics about which to opine.

Despite our joke, and, while I’ve chosen to make family and community issues my main area of focus, I haven’t embarrassed my children in my newspaper column. I always ask their permission before I write about them, and if they want to, I let them read what I write before it goes to press. If they’re uncomfortable with the story, I find a new topic.

For instance, about three years ago, I allowed my youngest daughter to go to the movies with friends, without adult supervision. When the movie was over, the other mom picked up my daughter’s two friends, leaving my child by herself. It was daytime, and my daughter was only there for about ten minutes until I arrived, but I was livid. How could that mother leave a preteen alone in front of a movie theater, in the middle of a busy suburban outdoor shopping mall?

I wanted to write about the incident, but my then-12-year-old was worried that her friend’s mom would read the column and that her friend would be mad at her. (Note: This story is shared with SPAWNews readers with the permission of my daughter, now 15.)

Granted, my job as an opinion columnist requires that I touch on subjects that are supposed to generate a response. I wouldn’t be a successful writer if every essay was boring or pointless. However, I not only ask my children if it’s OK to write about them, but if I’m writing a less-than-flattering column about a community issue, I make sure my interviewees—from business-owners to city council members to regular folks—know my intentions up front. That way, they don’t have to talk to me if they don’t want to.

Lately, we’ve heard many reports of plagiarism and misrepresentation and making up stories out of whole cloth in journalism and other areas of nonfiction writing. But it goes beyond that. Writers—with few exceptions—should not be deceptive with those who hold us in their trust. We might not get the story we’re going for, but at least we’ll maintain our integrity.

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

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

The September issue of the SPAWN Market Update includes a variety of news, resources and ideas for freelance writers, authors and artists.

  • Are you wondering what to charge for your freelance services? We show you how to figure it out.
  • Are you looking for writing work? We tell you about a directory of jobs for writers.
  • Maybe you're ready to pitch a manuscript. We introduce you to several publishers seeking good manuscripts.
  • Are you intimidated by the query letter? We offer over a half-dozen links to successful query letter samples.
  • Do you want to make some money writing for magazines? We give you a generous list of high-paying article markets.
  • Are you trying to establish a career around your art? We provide some valuable resources and links.
  • Do you have a book to promote? You'll find tips and resources in this issue of the SPAWN Market Update and there are hundreds more in the archives.
  • What you get with the Deluxe Edition 2008 Writer's Market.
  • Which country is experiencing a book boom.
  • Who's offering grants for publication projects and artists.
  • $5,000 for Grand Prize best story? We'll tell you where.
  • Opportunities for book promotion through book series and anthologies.
  • Find out why publishers simply miss good book submissions.

There's potential for you to earn your SPAWN membership fee back threefold or more by pursuing some of the suggestions and resources in this one issue of the SPAWN Market Update. Spend time researching the Market Update archives and you may discover ideas and resources that will result in huge profits.

If you haven't yet joined SPAWN, maybe you're getting in the way of your own success as an author, publisher, freelance writer or artist. Spend $45 today, get a free book of your choice, access to SPAWNdiscuss, the SPAWN Forum and thousands of resources that could save you or make you some money. Active participation in SPAWN is a win-win situation.

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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Win a Free Book!

Open to all SPAWN Members

Send us a brief—up to 300 words—essay on how SPAWN’s Market Update has helped you! The first three entrants will receive Richard F.X. O'Connor's How to Market You and Your Book, and their essays will be published in a future edition of SPAWNews. Email your essay to

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Letter to SPAWN

Dear SPAWN Directors,

Can someone there evaluate my book proposal to see if I’m on the right track? I’ve attached it for your convenience.


Eager Author

Dear Author,

Thank you for your note to SPAWN. You have reached Patricia Fry. I am the president of SPAWN and the author of several books, including three books that address the process of writing a book proposal.

While we don’t offer a proposal evaluation service, I have taken a quick look at your attached proposal. Here are my impressions.

First, thank you for sharing your query letter and proposal with me. I think you have done a fine job of describing your book, the purpose, your audience, your competition and your qualifications to write the book. I have two comments:

The query letter should not accompany the book. You send this first to those publishers or agents who prefer a query letter first. (This is most publishers/agents.) If the publisher asks for more, send the proposal. Devise a cover letter—similar to the query letter only shorter and more to the point. The cover letter accompanies the book proposal. It is an introduction to the proposal.

The only thing I see missing from your proposal is your marketing plan. How do you plan to promote this book to your target audience? All authors today, whether they publish with a traditional royalty publisher, self-publish or go with a fee-based POD publishing company (such as Authorhouse) must participate in promoting their books. Even a traditional publisher such as Simon & Schuster wants to know that you can and will help promote the book, and they want your promotions’ plan.

I see that you have listed similar books—be sure to explain how your book differs from these. And you'll want to contact the publishers of these books with your query/proposal. Some of them won't work directly with authors; you will have to go through an agent to reach them. You'll find agents listed at You may not need an agent if you are seeking publication through a university press, however.

All in all, I think you have a professional presentation here—just consider the embellishments I suggest and you will most likely land the publisher of your choice.

Wishing you success with your project,

Patricia Fry

Dear Ms. Fry,

I cannot thank you enough for your comments on my book proposal! You have restored my confidence as a professional writer. Even though I wrote 10 scientific journal papers and 6 philosophy papers, I had my doubts that I could write a professional book proposal. I am infinitely indebted to you. I wish you were my literary agent!

Thank you,

Eager Author

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

The Way of Story, The Craft and Soul of Writing

By Catherine Ann Jones

Michael Wiese Productions (2007)


193 pages, $22.95, paper

If you write fiction and yearn for support on behalf of your craft, this book is for you. Award-winning playwright and screenwriter Catherine Ann Jones shares her expertise in everything from choosing a story to making story your life, and she does it with clarity and a sense of clever creativity. Through the use of free-flowing narrative, meaningful anecdotes and quotes, Jones takes readers on a lovely journey toward understanding the concept of story.

To read the full review of The Way of Story, The Craft and Soul of Writing , go to

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Sell Books Through Book Reviews

By Patricia Fry

Every author wants book sales—lots of them. The primary way to make sales is to get exposure for your book. No one will buy a book they don’t know about. A great way to get exposure is to have your book reviewed again and again and again.

Read more about book reviews and how to get book reviews for your book at

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Finding Agents and Getting Published

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: What are some of the established/credible, editors/publishers you would recommend to consider publishing my collection of self-published short stories?

A: Note that many publishers do not accept books that have already been self-published, which is another darned barrier we have to get around. I don't have a pat answer for your question; I'd have to do the same research you would do: go to bookstores and see who is publishing your type of book, check with Writer's Market or to get guidelines and addresses, etc. I offer submission services for a fee, where I do the research, copying, envelope-making, and mailing, but the process is far too time consuming to offer for free. Sorry, but it's a job you'll either have to do yourself or pay someone to do. It's a hat most writers don't want to wear, but it's a hat we must wear if we want to get past the gatekeepers and get published traditionally.

Read about these and other interesting topics 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 email your news to

Lines Rampant Press award-winning gift book The Well-Lettered Cat is a literary alphabet book, written and designed by local author Porter Evans and artist Edward Fierro, and printed at Ventura Printing. Lines Rampant Press is a frequent advocate for pet welfare, and in May 2007 sponsored "Please Purr Up a Chair," a benefit for Resqcats, a private Santa Barbara cat sanctuary. In September, Lines Rampant Press will appear at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival, where Porter Evans will join a panel of authors who frequently write about animals. In addition to displaying The Well-Lettered Cat, they will show products from The Arts and Cats Movement, their recently launched gift line. For more information, please email Ed Fierro or Sheryl Fierro at

Barbara Florio Graham's popular workshop "Write It! Sell It! Sell It Again!" is now available in booklet form for just $15. This workshop was presented to the Canadian Authors Association annual conference in July, and all thirty participants gave it high evaluations. Go to to read a full description and for order information.

Sarah Bolme’s book, Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace, has won the following awards: a Bronze Award from Independent Publishers Book Award (IPPY Awards) in the Writing/Publishing category; a Finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Award in the Reference category; and Best Author’s Reference Book of the Year 2007 from Christian Storyteller. For more information:

Shel Horowitz's seventh book, Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers, has won its first award, an Honorable Mention in the Indie Excellence Awards (joining his fifth and sixth books, Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World and Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, to make three award-winners in a row). Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers has also secured endorsements from Dan Poynter, John Kremer, and Marilyn Ross, among others. For more information:

Patricia Fry’s 366-page The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book, Revised Second Edition, is scheduled for publication in mid-September. Patricia is offering a 20% pre-publication discount for orders placed before September 20, 2007. As a bonus, Patricia has also produced the Author’s Workbook to be used with The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. The Workbook is regularly $12.95. Order the Author's Workbook with the Revised Second Edition of the book NOW and save nearly 25%. Choose from 4 ordering options at

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Kudos to Helen Gordon

The SPAWN executive board heartily congratulates Helen Heightsman Gordon, one of the original members of SPAWN, for winning first place for her book, Voice of the Vanquished: The story of the slave Marina and Hernan Cortes,in the Genre-Based category at the 2007 Hollywood Book Festival competition.

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Robin Gorley and Starr Reina, chairs/hosts of the West Coast Author Premiere are planning their 2008 event. Visit for more information and to register.

Eileen Parker is a former literary publicist and book lover who wants to help out authors. An avid quote collector, she has created Author Sound Bites,, a forum in which she hopes to showcase the wisdom of writers. Visit the blog or email for more information.

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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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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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