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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, November, 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

- Patricia Fry in St. Louis

- Market Update

- Book Review

- 10 Publishing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

- Increasing Web Site Traffic with a Blog

- Ask the Book Doctor

- So You Don’t Believe in Luck?

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests and Awards

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

Shall We Shake on It?

By Wendy Dager

My husband is a telecommunications contractor. He installs business phone systems and computer cabling. Recently, he submitted a proposal for a very large job—one that would have paid a lot of bills for the Dager household. He and the customer shook hands on it. Then the customer bought a cheaper, used phone system from someone else.

Around the same time, I was working with a publisher on a proposal for a nonfiction book that would require photos. The editor liked my outline and asked me to submit 35mm slides for her review. I painstakingly took two-dozen slide photographs, had them developed and mailed them to the publisher. The editor sent me an e-mail version of a handshake, saying she liked the slides and that she’d send me a contract and further instructions. A few weeks later, I got a packet from the publisher. It included my slides and a rejection letter.

In our parallel universes, both my husband and I had high expectations based on incorrect assumptions. That neither of our prospects worked out was disappointing, but no surprise. Being a writer, artist or small publisher has the same rewards—and risks—as a tradesperson. As writers, artists and publishers, we are at the creative end of the career spectrum, but we are also, like my husband the contractor, businesspeople who understand that a handshake is always much nicer when accompanied by a signed contract.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Check out her blog, "Wendy Dager is Not Famous,"

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Patricia Fry Takes SPAWN to St. Louis

SPAWN president Patricia Fry went to St. Louis, Missouri on October 21-23 to attend the second annual Meet Me in St. Louis Book Festival and Craft Art Fair, presented by the St. Louis Publishers Association. She wanted our members to know that she took SPAWN catalogs with her to distribute at the event.

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Whether you're a freelance writer, author, scriptwriter, young writer, editor, artist, or poet, there is something for YOU in the November SPAWN Market Update. Here are some highlights:

  • Meg Weaver of Wooden Horse Publishing explains why Amazon can get away with selling our articles without our permission.
  • We provide a link to Jenna Glatzer's provocative commentary on PublishAmerica.
  • We've listed a dozen fabulous research and resource sites for writers and authors.
  • You'll find over three-dozen jobs and other opportunities for writers, editors, authors and artists.
  • Find a fulfillment house, distributor, agent, small publisher, grants, a contest, writing conferences and volumes of information.
  • Discover the pros and cons of soliciting a new publisher
  • Resources for finding an appropriate agent and what to expect from him
  • Fascinating bits and bites regarding publishing
  • Terrific resources for your project/career are just a click away!
  • Wanted: Artists to promote their art through SPAWNDiscuss and SPAWNews

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

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Book Review

By Patricia Fry

Poet Power, The Complete Guide to Getting Your Poetry Published

By Thomas A. Williams, Ph.D.

Sentient Publications, 2002

ISBN 1-59181-002-7

200 pages, $16.95

Every writer knows that poetry is hard to sell. Author Thomas Williams doesn’t dispute this. In fact, one of the first statements he makes in his book, "Poet Power," is, "Of all writers, poets have the most difficulty getting their words into print." Then he fills the next 180 pages telling you how to go about getting your poetry published.

To read the full review of "Poet Power, The Complete Guide to Geting Your Poetry Published," go to

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10 Publishing Mistakes

And How to Avoid Them

By Patricia Fry

It happened again at a writers’ conference this weekend. I met two disgruntled, disillusioned, almost bankrupt authors who admitted making most of the mistakes listed below. They both have wonderful books in hand, but little understanding of the publishing industry and even less marketing savvy.

They learned too late that the time to ask questions and study options is BEFORE you begin to make publishing decisions. In fact, some fee-based print-on-demand publishers (FB PODs) seem to prey on uninformed, hopeful authors. They make it so effortless to find their services and so attractive to use them that authors are easily swayed to enter into contracts that they don’t really understand.

Read about the 10 publishing mistakes and how to avoid them at:

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Increasing Web Site Traffic with a Blog

By Virginia Lawrence

We are reading about blogs everywhere, and publishers wonder whether a blog would have any effect on Web traffic and business. Well, an appropriate blog, updated frequently and marketed properly, can make a big difference in attracting the target market to a publisher’s Web site.

Read about how a blog can increase your web site traffic at:

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Ask The Book Doctor: Style Issue or Punctuation Rule?

By Bobbie Christmas

Before I get to our subject of the column, I want to take a moment to brag. In September, my book on creative writing, "Write In Style (Union Square Publishing)," was named a finalist in the Best Books 2005 Awards from, the third honor given the book. It also won First Place in Education in the Royal Palm Literary Awards and was named Best in Division in the Georgia Author of the Year Awards. I wish these accolades proved I am the authority on everything about writing, but in truth I often turn to other sources for my responses to your questions. Sometimes being an expert means you know where to go to get information.

To find out more about these and other topics go to

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So You Don’t Believe in Luck?

By Richard F.X. O’Connor

A couple of years back I was co-chairing an agents’ panel for a writers’ conference. A strong-minded young agent couple averred that there was no such thing as "luck" in the publishing process—that, in this day and age, you make your own luck.

In one way they were very correct—what we put out there as publicity, promotion, and buzz are the keys to success.

But what if no one is listening? Let’s assume the week your book breaks—with its well-thought through marketing plan and tour—it bumps into a small, snag—say for instance it’s the same release week Woodward and Bernstein actually name Deep Throat.

Oops, bad luck.

Still don't believe in luck? Read more how good luck plays a big part in your success at:

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Member News

Information about Rick Porrello’s new book, "Superthief," is on his Web site, Check it out for order information, upcoming book signings, reviews, and photos.

Sande Cropsey is offering a 25% discount on copies of her book "Tinker's Christmas" to SPAWN members and newsletter subscribers. Retail price before sales tax is $18.95. With discount, price is $13.74, and if you live in Georgia, with sales tax, price is $14.56. If you would like Sande to ship an autographed copy, add $2.00 to ship via Media Mail. "Tinker’s Christmas" is the story of Tinker, a clumsy young elf at the North Pole who is trying to find his place in the world. When the reindeer come down with the chickenpox a week before Christmas, it is Tinker to whom Santa turns for help. Last year, "Tinker’s Christmas" was added to the bibliography section of the "Character Counts" program as sponsored by the Josephson Institute, a resource for teachers, and is currently being considered for production as a play by several theater groups. For more information:

Tamara Dever of TLC Graphics announces the long-awaited fall issue of "The Slush Pile" newsletter. For more information:

Barbara Florio Graham,, had a bookselling tip published in the October 2005 Freelance Writer's Report. She tells readers how to create their own receipt form for book signings and workshops.

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

Fran Silverman, editor of Book Promotion Newsletter has posted a review of Patricia Fry's latest book, "How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less" at her site: And Dehanna Bailee, author of "The ABCs of POD" posted her review at as well as her Web site,

Member Richard Robinson announces publication of his latest book: "Eternity, Time & The Soul", by Richard Gotch Robinson. "A Synthesis of Views on the Nature of Death as Key to a Deeper Understanding of Life". Softcover, $9.95. ISBN 0-9764249-9-1. The Last Teller Press, POB 5685, Ventura, CA 93005-0685. Phone & FAX (805) 647 8920. "It is the soul which is seen as linking our lives in time with a reality beyond - with 'eternity' - a living reality from which it would seem that the meaning and purpose of our existence on Earth may be derived." (Available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble Ventura, etc, or direct from publisher.)

SPAWN founder Mary Embree is coordinating The Ventura Book Festival, "Celebrating Diversity," on Saturday, March 11, 2006. See Events for full details.

Last month you read that Katherine Poehlman was scheduled to do standup comedy at the Improv in Los Angeles. Well, she showed up, she did her show, and she wowed the crowd. We know of two SPAWN members who were there, and they had a great time. Next time Katherine announces a comedy appearance, you should be there too!

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

Jumpstart your writing career by taking a class at the Long Story Short School of Writing. Classes include beginning writing, how to write humor, how to pitch your novel to an agent, creating great characters, how to write essays, cracking the health market, promoting your book online, writing about movies, how to ghostwrite, write poetry and more. For information:

Barbara Florio Graham keeps her Canadian Libraries Database up to date by asking everyone who purchases it to let her know if they have any returns. Most are happy to comply because the cost of the database, which contains more than 90 Canadian libraries with purchasing power; only costs $25 and can be used over and over again. Details at:, under Resources.

The MSU GF Literary Guild today announced plans to publish an annual literary journal, beginning in January 2006. "MO: Writings from the River" will feature quality poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction and essays as well as original artwork and photography. For more information: Submission deadline for the first issue is November 30.

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.

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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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