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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, November, 2000

Archives Available

SPAWN Poetry Contest III

See the guidelines and deadline, then join in today!.


See November meeting topics and dates


Are you a writer? Would you like to have a steady job writing? If so, SPAWN just might have the very thing you are looking for.

SPAWNews needs an editor who is an experienced writer and can put together our newsletter, maintaining or improving its present style. The editor’s job is to gather news that would be of interest to our members, such as information on writing, editing, graphic design, printing, publishing, contests, and members’ activities. He/she receives articles from our columnists and edits them if necessary to fit the space.

Adherence to a monthly deadline is essential. Layout and design experience on computer is necessary. She/he should also be able to send the newsletter as an e-mail attachment to our Web site.

The job doesn’t pay much ($100 per newsletter) and it’s a lot of work, but you would get to know and network with SPAWN members and others in the literary and arts community, learn more about publishing and promoting books, and be performing a valuable service at the same time.

In the four-and-a-half years we have been publishing this newsletter we have had only three different editors. I have held this position for the past two years but, due to business pressures, I will not be able to continue much longer.

I will help whoever takes this over at the beginning and will continue to contribute articles and news items, as needed.

If you are interested, please e-mail information about yourself and your experience as soon as possible.; 805-646-3045.

—Mary Embree

Promote Your Book Through Magazine and eZine Articles

by Patricia L. Fry

The editor of a writing-related eZine said to me the other day, “I don’t know why more authors don’t offer us articles. We almost always publish them along with their bio. It’s great publicity for their books.” Whether your book is self-published or you have a traditional publisher, it’s up to you to get exposure for it. Why not promote your book doing what you love best—writing?

Many popular magazines and eZines use book excerpts. Of course, they generally want excerpts from books that relate to their magazine. Cooking magazines want excerpts from cookbooks, a travel magazine will quote travel books and a poetry magazine wants to excerpt poetry books.

Use your imagination to come up with more possibilities. If your book features Native American art, for example, a California history or travel magazine might be interested in publishing your chapter on California tribes. An excerpt from a book on tax tips for home-based businesses might provide a good article for a writer’s magazine.

Submit articles on topics only remotely related to your book and still promote it. I wrote a book called Creative Grandparenting Across the Miles. Now I’m considered an expert on grandparenting issues. I’ve sold articles featuring storytelling techniques for grandparents, how to teach grandchildren money awareness, how grandparents can uphold family traditions, and tips for helping grandparents bond with their new grandbaby. But I can also plug my book even if I’m writing an article about snails.

I might mention, for example, that when I was writing the grandparent book, I met a grandfather who paid his 5-year old grandson a penny-a-piece to catch his garden snails in a bucket.

You can almost always get a tag line at the end of an article. Use this as an opportunity to promote your book, as I have here.

—Patricia Fry is the author of

A Writer’s Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion and Profit and Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book.

or 805-646-3045

Contests & Awards

Screenwriting Contest

The Monterey County Film Commission announces its 2001 Screenwriting Contest. The top three finalists receive several prizes and a trip to the annual Screenwriting Day in May where feedback from industry insiders who have read and judged your screenplay will be given. The early deadline (with a discounted entry fee) is December 31, 2000; final deadline is January 29, 2001.

More information and the necessary forms are on their Web site, Their address is Monterey County Film Commission, P.O. Box 111, Monterey, CA 93942-0111. Phone: 831/646-0910.


The following books may be of interest to members. They have not been reviewed, however. The first is co-written by SPAWN member Marcia Grad Powers.

The Secret of Overcoming Verbal Abuse

Getting Off the Emotional Roller Coaster and Regaining Control of Your Life, by Albert Ellis, Ph.D. and Marcia Grad Powers, Wilshire Book Company; 256 pages, $12.

Dr. Ellis, a renowned psychologist, adapts his widely acclaimed philosophy and techniques to helping verbally abused people perceive their situation, cope with their relationship and feelings, and regain their dignity and personal power.

The Complete Guide to Book Publicity

by Jodee Blanco, Allworth Press; 277 pages; $19.95.

The author, a book publicist and public relations executive who has propelled many books onto the New York Times bestseller list, tells what it takes to turn a book with potential into a blockbuster.

eScrip Program

SPAWN is participating in a powerful fundraising opportunity! The eScrip Program. It is simple and convenient—all you need to do is register your favorite card(s) and each time you use that card a donation is made to our organization in your name. This is how it works:

  • Register your grocery loyalty card such as Vons/Pavilions, your debit/ATM card, and credit cards.
  • There is a $10 annual fee that is automatically charged by eScrip to your bankcard.
  • You will receive a confirmation notice by mail once your cards are registered.

Join us in this important fundraising effort. Send an e-mail to and ask for a registration form or call 800/592-0942. Our Group ID number is 3793390.

Please do it today. We need your help.

Member News

Richard F.X. O’Connor will present a free seminar at the Schott Center, Room 28, Santa Barbara City College, on November 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

O’Connor, Executive Editor of Renaissance Books, tells “How to Make the Leap from Writer to Published Author” (aka “What an Acquiring Editor Loathes and Loves”).

In addition to his responsibilities as an acquiring editor, he is the bestselling author of seven books, former Marketing Director for both Waldenbooks and Doubleday & Company, a SPAWN board member, a faculty member of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and dry fly trout fisherman.

Guest speakers are SPAWN member Debbie Puente whose book Elegantly Easy Crème Brulet has sold over 80,000 copies, and writer Fred Klein, former Executive Editor at Bantam, Dell, Doubleday.

E-Commerce: Boom or Bust?

By Virginia Lawrence

We are all reading about e-commerce companies laying off workers and/or closing down completely. Since we are also reading about the e-commerce companies that are exceeding expectations, what does this imply about the future of e-commerce? Can anyone be successful at e-commerce?

Let's look at a few of the recently closed or nearly closed companies. The unsuccessful companies have made big mistakes in the amount of money spent, the type of offer, the type of presentation, or the final delivery. had a reasonable offer, but they signed an advertising agreement with to pay $45,000,000 over five years for a button on the front page of Amazon. With $9,000,000 per year committed to, the site required an incredible income stream just to cover their advertising. They went out of business this year. spent almost all of the $120,000,000 invested in the company before they closed recently.

Most of the e-commerce companies that advertised during the Super Bowl have already closed down. Their ads were confusing and cost millions to appear to the untargeted Super Bowl audience. Those businesses were operating on testosterone rather than careful business planning. is still limping along. They've spent $300,000,000, and they've been hoping to build revenues by selling advertising space on the site. It's a wonderful site, but it seems unlikely that it can earn the initial investment within the next few years.

The unsuccessful Internet startups in the news spent astounding amounts of money and counted on even more astounding revenues. Remember, most new businesses go out of business within the first few years. The stupendously-funded Internet startups get headlines when they go out of business.

What about the successful companies? The successful companies have spent a reasonable amount of money to put together the right offer, the right presentation, and the right final delivery. They have avoided overspending on untargeted advertising.

According to Forrester, shoppers spent $4.22 billion online in September. The Web is clearly growing as a place to shop. A few of the many successful sites are:,,,,, and These companies don't make headlines, because they aren't throwing money around. They simply offer products people need, at a good price, with reasonable customer service. They spent sensibly on their site development and their marketing.

Yes, e-commerce will survive. Some companies are doing it well.

~ © 2000 Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D. Virginia Lawrence, SPAWN's Webmaster is a professional Web Designer and Online Marketing Consultant., or

SPAWN is a nonprofit corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Senior Editor


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Jean Wade

President, Santa Barbara County Chapter.


Carol Doering

President, Ventura County Chapter.


Patricia Fry

Vice President


Ruth Hibbard

Treasurer and Membership Chair


Advisory Council

Patricia Fry

Author, Publisher

Rosalie Heacock

Literary Agent

Andora Hodgin

Writer, Editor, Publicist

Irwin Zucker

Book Publicist

Jim Lane


Marcia Grad-Powers


Melvin Powers


Dan Poynter

Author, Publisher

Mary Embree

Author, Publishing Consultant

Board of Directors

Mary Embree

Author, Editor, Literary Consultant

Founder and President of SPAWN

Patricia Fry

Vice President

Virginia Lawrence, PhD

Writer, Editor, Webmaster

Secretary of SPAWN

Ruth Hibbard


Frances Halpern

Author, Columnist, Talk-show Host

Marsha Karpeles

Executive Director, Manuscript Libraries

Richard F.X. O'Connor

Author, Publisher, Editor, Consultant


To provide education, information, resources and a supportive networking environment for artists, writers, and other creative people interested in the publishing process.




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