spawn spawn logo






Sign Up for the
SPAWNews Newsletter and
Get a FREE Report Too!



SPAWNews is packed with writing, editing, illustrating, and publishing information. Each month you receive market opportunities, events, and articles you can use now!
Not sure? Check out back issues of SPAWNews on our blog, or in the older SPAWNews archives)

SPAWNews, February, 2002

Archives Available

Join SPAWN or renew your membership now and you will receive a bonus of a signed first edition of the book The Author’s Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Book. This is a limited-time offer. The revised edition will be published by Allworth Press in 2003, at which time the first edition will no longer be available.

* * *



Member News

Book Review

Article: Are You Planning to Self-Publish? It’s Not That Hard to Do, by Mary Embree.

Explains how to set up a publishing company and all the forms you will need to complete, including where and how to get them.

Article: The Business of Writing, by Patricia Fry.

Tells how to keep an effective record-keeping system, including keeping track of business expenses and responses to query letters.

Special Offer for SPAWN Members from PMA

Organizations and News of Interest

Stories and Articles Wanted

* * *


Following are questions we have received and our answers. We publish them because we have found many people can benefit from this information. If you wish to ask a question, you may send an e-mail to Patty Fry (, Mary Embree ( or Virginia Lawrence ( Virginia, who is our Web master, is especially helpful for those who have technical questions.

* * *



How do I obtain an ISBN#? Can I self copyright (without applying to Copyright Office of the Library of Congress)? I have already formatted and printed my volume of poetry on my home computer but need ISBN# before going to a small press to print at a very competitive price a certain number of copies progessionally that I’m going to make available locally through area periodical advertising and local readings, one of which I have already done at a little grill that has a big reputation and am preparing to do another reading at a local coffee house etc. Would appreciate your comments.



Hello, Carolyn,

To get an ISBN, you sign up your publishing company with the US ISBN Agency. You’ll find info at:

Your work is considered legally copyrighted as soon as it is recorded in any form: audiotaped, videotaped, or put on paper either printed or handwritten, even if it is not registered with the copyright office. It is no longer a legal requirement to indicate that a work is copyrighted by using the symbol or the word "copyright" but it’s a good idea to do that, and you may do so whether or not it has been registered. I would, however, advise you to register your copyright because of the legal protections it gives you as the creator of the work. Until June 2002, the fee is $30.

I suggest that you read one of the classics on self-publishing: The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross or The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter.

I wish you great success!


Virginia Lawrence, Ph.D.

CogniText: Information Architecture, Print and Web,

* * *


Hello there.

I just recently moved to Chicago in search of the perfect job in publishing. I am interested in joining a writing/publishing organization, and yours seems interesting. I was wondering if there is a Chicago chapter, and if so, how I might find out more info. Since I don't know anyone here and have no contacts, I really would like to get involved with some sort of organization that has meetings, seminars, etc. Please write me back if you can help me out.




Dear Sarah,

Thanks for your interest in SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). While we do not have a Chapter in Chicago, we have members from throughout the U.S. who can network with one another via our website ( As a member, you can participate in a forum with other members and share ideas and information. You can post your own web page on our site. You can use our SPAWN MetaSearch for research. This is a unique feature where you can run a single search and get results from six of the top search engines. We offer member discounts for such things as POD services. There's an Event Calendar where you can post your events and review those of others. And there is a monthly Market Update which involves the latest news and trends in the publishing industry. Each month we feature an interview with an editor or publisher (or both) and we have just started a new column featuring a working or volunteer writer. This month, we wrote about a woman who answers Santa letters in MA. Next month, we'll star a couple of professional proofreaders. Doesn't it sound like we're having lots of fun here? Well, we're just getting started, but we anticipate a great interactive site where members can learn and grow and share. If you would like to subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, go to and click on "free newsletter." Or simply send an email to

I'd also like to suggest that, if you want to get involved in local writing organizations, that you check with your local library for any groups already in progress in your area. Watch the calendar section of your newspaper for meeting announcements. If you have an arts council or art center, they might have a writing division. A local college might have something going. You also may find postings about writing groups at local bookstores.

Good luck,

Patricia Fry,

President SPAWN

* * *


Russell and Kathlynn Spencer will have a book signing of their book, Windshield Adventuring Along California’s Central Coast and Mojave Desert Windshield Adventures at Barnes & Noble’s Ventura store, 4360 East Main Street (corner of Telephone Road). They will be signing at 2:00 p.m. on February 9th. Windshield Adventuring Along California’s Central Coast was reviewed in the January issue of SPAWNews.

Virginia Lawrence and Mary Embree will be panelists at the DIY (Do It Yourself) Convention, Saturday, February 9 at the Wyndham Bel Age Hotel in West Hollywood. FMI or to register for the convention see their Web site:

* * *


True Stories of Old California by Gerald A. Schiller; Intercontinental Publishing; December 2001; paperback; 260 pages; $10.95.

Gerald Schiller, the author of mystery novels and books for young people, has mastered yet another genre with this book of true California stories that never made the history books. He has compiled and retold over sixty historical episodes including overviews of what was happening during the period each occurred (from before 1800 up to the twentieth century). He paints a vivid picture of what Route 101 was like in the late 1700s when it was “El Camino Real,” really no more than a narrow dirt road used mostly by settlers, plodding their way north toward San Francisco. He tells about John Stearns who built a 1900-foot wharf in Santa Barbara and the first ship to unload its cargo onto Stearns Wharf in 1872. He writes about San Diego County’s gold rush, the GOAPRR (Get Out and Push Railroad) that originated in what is now Long Beach, the oil boom in Los Angeles, and the luxurious steamships that carried passengers up and down the coast of California. Schiller also relates tales of romance, treachery, battles, earthquakes, and floods in his compilation of quirky, unusual historical events.

If you ever thought history was dull, True Stories of Old California will change your mind. There is something for everyone of all ages in this entertaining book of early California history.

The book is available from S-L Productions, P.O. Box 246, Newbury Park, CA 91319. Price is $10.95 plus $3 for tax and shipping.

* * *




by Mary Embree

Would you like to publish a chapbook of your poetry or short stories? Do you want to compile your recipes into a cookbook? Have you written your memoir, a novel or a how-to book and want to see it in print? Self-publishing isn’t all that complicated, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. The cost of getting your book ready to send to the printer depends on how much you can do yourself. If you can do the cover and page design and the typesetting yourself on computer, all that you will have to spend money on to this point will be the Adobe Acrobat program. You will need this program to convert your document to a Portable Document Format (PDF) and save it on a disk or CD to send to a printer.

Then you can choose a digital printer that will print and bind as few as 25 (or less) perfect bound (paperback) books. The fewer the number of books you have printed, the more the cost per book. But if you can’t sell 1,000 books, why to pay to have so many printed? You no longer have to use a traditional offset printer as in the past. A digital printer will probably be more cost effective for printing up to 500 copies of your book. They might charge about $1,500 to print 500 copies of a 200-page book while an offset printer would have to charge nearly $3,000. If you choose to have over 1,000 of your book printed, however, it will be less expensive to go to an offset printer and the quality will most likely be better. See the Forum in the SPAWN Member Area for recent discussions of good printers.

If you want to sell your books you will have to set up your own publishing company and get a seller’s permit. In California you must obtain a sales tax permit whether your business is commercial or home-based, sales or repair-oriented. This is probably the case in most other states. For more information, contact your state’s Board of Equalization. You will also need ISBNs, a PCIP, an LCCN, and a bar code. All those initials may be bewildering, but they are explained below. You should also get your copyright registered.

Setting up a publishing company, in the beginning, is not difficult and you do not have to consult an attorney to do it. After you have decided on a name for your publishing company you must file the Fictitious Business Name with your county, checking their records to be sure that the name is not already in use. They will require you to publish the FBN in a local newspaper for a period of time. You may also need to get a city business license. Call your city’s business license department for information on that requirement. Then you can start filling in the publishing forms and applications and sending them off to the various entities. They need to be done in a specific order. For example, before you can apply for your PCIP you will need your ISBN and LCCN.

Following is a list of the forms with a brief explanation of each one. For more detailed information on self-publishing, I recommend Dan Poynter’s book, The Self-Publishing Manual.

See the detailed list of where to apply for Copyright, ISBN, Advance Book Information, Bar Code, Library of Congress Card Number, Publisher's Cataloging in publication. The list with full details is availabe in the private SPAWN Member Area.

If you have any questions, you may e-mail me at and I will do my best to answer them in the next issue of SPAWNews.

Mary Embree is a literary consultant, editor, speaker, and author of The Author’s Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Book and other nonfiction books.

* * *


By Patricia L. Fry

Tells how to keep an effective record-keeping system, including keeping track of business expenses and responses to query letters.

* * *


As an affiliate of PMA, we are able to offer SPAWN members a discount to membership in PMA. As a marketing resource for small publishers, PMA membership can be very beneficial. In addition to publishing a monthly newsletter, they offer direct mail programs, cooperative catalogs, and more. If you wish to join PMA, please send a note to that effect to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002 along with an SASE and we will send you a bonus check of $26, applicable to their membership fee which, without the discount, is $99 for publishers and $150 for non-publishers. For more information on PMA, go to their Web site:

* * *


Independent Writers of Southern California (IWOSC) helps Los Angeles-area writers improve their skills, enlarge their network, and run their business better. For advance notice about IWOSC events, send a “Subscribe” message to and you’ll start receiving the twice-monthly IWOSC eNews. Event information is also posted at

Children’s Educational Co-op publishes an on-line newsletter and offers memberships for $49/year or $89 for two years. FMI their Web site is

The American Public School Endowments and the Acadiana Educational Endowment will list books by self-published authors and small publishers on their on-line database, free of charge at: To list your books, click on “Register Your Book(s) Now” at the top of the front page. You can also list books if you are not self-published nor a small press, particularly if you are currently handling part or all of your sales and promotions. The APSE and the AEE are 501(c)3 non-profit organizations supporting education, culture, and general intellectual activity across the United States.

* * *


A Healthy Habit, a new California magazine, is looking for articles on current health-care trends and medical news. “Articles must be informative, useful, accurate and educational. Each story must be people-oriented.” 1,500 to 3,000 words with photos or illustrations; pays 5 to 10 cents per word for features, $50 for columns and departments, and $20 for fillers, on publication. Query by e-mail to FMI and guidelines see:

Marco Polo Magazine is another new publication. It is aimed at adventure travelers over 50. They are looking for articles that appeal to real-world travelers; survivor stories, middle-of-nowhere and well-covered cities with a new perspective. Pays an average of $200. E-mail queries/submissions preferred; Web site:

Shel Horowitz e-mailed us that she is looking for 600 to 800-word articles about book publishing and marketing. Rates are $200 for original articles and $50 for reprints. FMI, contact:

We also received an e-mail about an editor who is looking for stories for their series: “God Allows U-Turns.” Payment is $50 per story upon publication plus a copy of the book. The deadline is February 15. More information and guidelines are available at

There is additional information for writers in SPAWN’s monthly Market Updates.

Editor’s Notes

We encourage feedback from members regarding our articles. We would like to have articles from those of you who wish to contribute to SPAWNews. The articles should comply with our purpose and interests. We are especially looking for articles from graphic designers, illustrators, authors, and small publishers, but will consider all others.

We are also interested in member’s activities such as their newly published books or upcoming magazine articles, book signings, art shows, seminars they are presenting, or classes they are teaching.

SPAWNews reviews member’s books on any subject and nonmember’s books on writing, editing, art, illustration, publishing, book promotion, or any subject that would appeal to our readers. If you wish to send a book for review, mail it to SPAWN, P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002-2653.

Please e-mail all other information to

* * *

SPAWN membership dues are $45 per year. Please make checks payable to SPAWN and send to P.O. Box 2653, Ventura, CA 93002.

* * *

SPAWN is a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Donations are tax deductible.

Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network

P.O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653


Telephone & Fax: 805-646-3045

Mary Embree

Executive Director

Wendy Dager

Senior Editor, SPAWNews


Hal Ranzenhofer

Managing Editor, SPAWNews

Telephone: 805/984-3216


Virginia Lawrence

SPAWN Webmaster


Patricia Fry

Acting President


Ruth Hibbard



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

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 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, Senior Editor, SPAWNews, 3039 Country Lane, Simi Valley, CA 93063 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.

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

P. O. Box 2653

Ventura, CA 93002-2653



Popular Articles
on Writing, Editing
Publishing &


spawn spawn