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SPAWNews Archives

SPAWNews, September, 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

- Join SPAWN at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival

- Market Update

- Book Review – The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, The Contracts and Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed

- How to Protect Yourself from Publishing Scams by Patricia Fry

- Ask the Book Doctor by Bobbie Christmas

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

Editor's Note

By Sandra Murphy

A friend and I were talking about change while eating our Chinese lunches. She was trying a new chicken dish with mixed results—good, but not a keeper. I had my usual beef and broccoli.

Our question was about big changes, the ones forced on you, the ones that make you feel like you’ve been shot out of a cannon and where is that net? Why do we have those?

I’ve decided it’s because we’re slow to make small changes. We get in a rut and like it there. Now and again, we get hints saying let’s spruce up the rut, move things around, liven things up a little but we ignore them. Pretty soon, we are going feet first into the mouth of the cannon, wondering how we got there.

It’s my goal to make small changes, enough to ward off the cannon shot, enough to make me try to write a new genre, submit more articles, expand that fiction story into a supermarket rack paperback book. It may not ward off the big changes but I’ll be more prepared when they show up. Instead of yelling, “STOP!” as I zoom through the air, I hope to be yelling, “Look at me!” I want to have my tiara firmly in place, my sequined outfit on, my smile real, not forced.

This week I wrote an article about murder mysteries and food to submit to a local foodie paper. I made a to-do list and crossed things off as they got done. Every time I leave the house, I try to take out a small bag of annoying trash—the grocery ads, empty cat food cans, something that’s been in the way. I’m part of a group of eight who will read and edit each other’s books—our goal is to be published—as soon as I flesh out that murder mystery story.

And next week, when I meet my friend for lunch on Tuesday as usual, at the same Chinese place, I’m going to order the House Beef with Plum Sauce. It’s a start.

Sandy Murphy


Join SPAWN at the Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival

September 27, 2008

10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Santa Barbara Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA

SPAWN has reserved 4 tables for our members who want to participate and who can't afford the $300 booth fee. Pay just $90 for one-half table (3 feet of space). Or reserve a whole 6-foot table for $175. This is an incredible deal!

Join us in beautiful Santa Barbara on the grassy area of the library grounds just off of State Street (Santa Barbara's main street) under a canopy of oaks.

Sign up now. Booth space goes fast.

Get listed in the SPAWN Catalog

This message is going out to all SPAWN members. Any members who submitted their listings in the spring of 2008 will remain in the catalog until next spring!

We'll be distributing the catalog at

  • Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival
  • San Luis Obispo Book Festival
  • Ventura Book Festival
  • Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

And, of course, the pdf of the SPAWN Catalog is always available for online download from the first page of the site. Since our site receives about 180,000 visitors per year, many people are downloading the free catalog.

Adding your listing to the SPAWN Catalog costs only $35 for one year.

How do you benefit from this opportunity?

The SPAWN catalog, with your listing inside, will be distributed to several hundred people. Your catalog listing will be posted at the SPAWN web site for a full year.

The absolute deadline for new catalog listings is September 6, 2008. Sign up now by going to

Write to or if you have any questions.

Market Update

By Patricia Fry

This month we have close to 300 tips, opportunities, resources and information bites to share through the SPAWN Market Update.

  • Have you ever wondered when you should get permission to quote material or individuals for your book or article and how to go about it?
  • Would you like to tap into the lucrative trade journal market?
  • Are you interested in directories listing hundreds of children’s book publishers?
  • How can you stop those pesky, disheartening manuscript rejections?
  • Would you like an easier way to conduct library research?
  • Which US libraries carry your book?

Answers to these questions and so much more are included in the massive September edition of the SPAWN Market Update. Add to this, sites for kids who love to write, opportunities for artists and poets, book promotion opportunities and surprising stats that could help you get published.

Join SPAWN now and access this amazing resource. Membership also entitles you to peruse our gigantic SPAWN Market Update archives. For ease in locating your topics of interest, use our convenient search function. Maybe you want to find book festivals, library directories, book marketing ideas, science fiction publishers, magazines that publish personal stories. Whatever it is, our search function can help you find it.

JOIN SPAWN NOW and get a free book—we give you six titles to choose from—3 ebooks and 3 print books. NEW TITLE JUST ADDED - See the book review below.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, The Contracts and Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies—Analyzed, Ranked & Exposed

By Mark Levine

Bascom Hill Publishing Group,

Third Edition, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9802455-7-8

321 Pages -- $17.95 (US)

Size 8.5 x 5.5


Review by Patricia Fry

You may recall reading my review of Mark Levine’s book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, in the February 2007 edition of SPAWNews. This book was new then; and only 215 pages. In fact, Mark sent me an unedited review copy at that time. But I was so impressed by this book that I gave it 5-stars. I’ve also recommended it to hundreds of hopeful authors across the country and I list it as Recommended Reading in my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book.

What is so great about this book? It is the only guide that I know of that honestly rates and ranks dozens of fee-based POD publishing companies. If you are considering signing with a “self-publishing” book producer, such as AuthorHouse or Infinity, you MUST reference a copy of this book, first.

To read the full review of this book, go to

This book is a bargain at any price, but how would you like to get it for FREE? For any books we give to new and renewing members, Mark Levine has generously donated his profits to SPAWN so that we can offer this book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing as a free book choice for new and renewing members. Sign up today at Click on “Join SPAWN Now.”

How to Protect Yourself From Publishing Scams!

By Patricia Fry

Earlier this month, a SPAWN member contacted us with a complaint about a large book fulfillment and distribution company. He said that, while he made only a few sales through this company, his bill, at the time he decided to close his account, was quite large. Before getting involved, he did his research, he saw no red flags, so he signed and lost.

When I found out that this member will have to end up paying around $3,000 for the sale of roughly SIX books, I became enraged and motivated to see what we, here at SPAWN, could do to help him out.

To read about the full results and how to protect your business, reputation, and bank account, go to

Ask the Book Doctor: About Capital Letters, Word Counts and Song Lyrics

by Bobbie Christmas

Q: My mother wrote her first short story. I’m proud of her for writing, but I think she doesn’t get her capitals correct, and I don’t want to discourage her from writing by criticizing her. For my own knowledge, though, should she capitalize a person’s title or class titles? Here’s an example: Suzie spoke to the Teacher who taught Math.

A: Congratulations on encouraging your mother to write. When she’s ready to learn more about revising and editing her work, you can gently explain that titles are capitalized only if they are precede a name and are part of the name. It’s correct to write Judge John Smith, but it’s incorrect to write John Smith, Judge, or John was a Judge. Subjects in school are not capitalized unless they are a foreign language. For an example, the following sentence is correct: Suzie spoke to the teacher who taught both math and French.

To read about this and other interesting topics, go to

Member News

Patricia Fry will be presenting two workshops back to back at the Wizards of Words Writers Conference in Scottsdale, AZ, Saturday morning October 11, 2008 at the Chapparral Suites. She'll give her hallmark presentation with a couple of surprise twists. If you'll be in the Scottsdale area and if you'd like to learn the 2 Simple Steps to Publishing Success, sign up today at


Members recently did some networking on the SPAWNDiscuss list—were you reading the emails? It was an update of what people were writing and where they sold it—and how they found the market (here, of course!) The email list and the forum provide a place for writers to connect—no need to sit in your attic alone to write. Drop by and start talking. If you’re a SPAWN member but not yet a SPAWNdiscuss member, SPAWNdiscuss is free to SPAWN members. Write to Virginia Lawrence, to ask for an invitation!


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


Get FREE exposure for yourself and your book when you are a guest on The Authors Show. Check Interviews are done at no cost to participants, with optional marketing opportunities available for purchase if you wish to maximize your exposure beyond the initial one week interview broadcast program.

Next Authors Show session: Thursday September 11, 2008 - 10am-1pm

Location: Tempe AZ

Show Host: Linda Thompson

Cannot make it to our video taping session? How about being a guest on our radio show? Check and click on the authors show on the left side of the page. Our radio Authors show host is Paul McNeese. Those interested in participating in our any of our taping sessions (radio or TV) must register at, and email their request for guest appearance. This request must include complete contact information, book title, a short paragraph introducing the book topic. The selection process is based on various criteria, including book topic and time of the year, with 5-6 guests to be selected for this session, each of whom will be confirmed by email. The optional marketing program will be emailed with the guest selection confirmation.

The Bakersfield California 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


FAME (Florida Association for Media in Education, is set for September 24-26, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Orlando. Attendees are school librarians. Display of each product in the Florida Publishers Association booth costs $60 for publishers that are not members of FPA. (A booth of your own costs $800.) To learn more about how to display with FPA at FAME, visit


To read about the latest contests, go to


To read about the coming events, go to

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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