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SPAWNews, February, 2008

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

- SPAWN at Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

- Market Update

- 7 Reasons Why Your Novel Needs a Book Proposal

- Author as Indexer

- Ask the Book Doctor

- Member News

- Opportunities

- Contests

- Events and More

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Editor’s Note

By Wendy Dager

Years ago, my primary writing income was from greeting card copy. Aside from the occasional essay or short story, greeting card writing was all I could do at the time, given that I was a young mom with young children. I’d come up with ideas while vacuuming and doing laundry and schlepping back and forth to preschool or play dates. I’d keep notepads in my car and on my nightstand, so I could scribble them down whenever my mommy-tired brain had its moments of inspiration. Then, I’d postally mail—this was before email—typewritten batches of ideas to greeting card companies, and hope that one or two would be selected, bringing me $25 or $50 or $100. I worked at it pretty steadily for a time. In fact, one company would even fax artwork to me and ask me to come up with the inside gag.

And now, my confession:

Some of those ideas were—uh—a little—shall we say—off-color.

OK, some of those ideas were a lot off-color.

It’s not that I’m ashamed of them—but I did hide those cards for many years, until I was no longer worried that my kids—now 19 and 16—would find them and ask what they meant. And, while it’s a fun tidbit to bring up at cocktail parties—"I used to write risqué greeting cards!"—I wondered if it diminished my credibility as a journalist and editor.

I thought about and finally decided it wouldn’t. For many of us, part of our evolution as writers, artists and publishers is to work in a medium that is a steppingstone to that in which we’ve found our niche, made the most income or have the most pride. And, hey, I know I’m not the only one who, on occasion, can be found chuckling in the supermarket’s greeting card aisle.

–Wendy Dager is editor of SPAWNews. Her email address is Her web site is

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Join SPAWN at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

SPAWN members: Display and sell your books from the SPAWN booth at the gigantic Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 26 and 27, 2007.

The Book Festival expects 133,000 visitors this year. SPAWN has purchased two booths for SPAWN members only. Act now, because space is limited.

Sign up for one day only at $200 or sign up for both days at $360.

Here's what you get: One-half booth, which gives you room to display and sell four titles, plus you’ll have space for one poster on the back wall. Every member will have front-of-the-booth access to visitors. If you want to reserve one booth and display eight titles, it's $400 for one day.

Don't miss this opportunity to sell lots of books, get that all-important exposure, make new contacts, network with other members, and have a really good time.

Sign up now at:

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Market Update

By Patricia Fry

Do SPAWN members benefit from the information, resources and opportunities reported in the monthly SPAWN Market Update? Absolutely! Just this month, we had two members share their successes. One member sold articles to two children's/teen's magazines that were listed in a recent Market Update, and another member successfully used a resource we suggested.

We know that our members' interests span all subjects, genres and media. So, in every issue of the SPAWN Market Update our goal is to provide as much information as possible. Sometimes we focus on a specific genre or medium. This month, we have a little something for everyone—freelance writers, children's book authors, artists who want to sell their work, authors with books to promote and those who want a pipeline to industry news—no matter how shocking.

Probably the most valuable aspects of the February 2008 SPAWN Market Update are the directory listings. There are directories for agents, libraries, newspapers and magazines. And this is just the tip of the iceberg of information and resources you'll find this month.

If you are not yet a member of SPAWN and would like to access Market Update and enjoy other benefits of membership, join SPAWN now.

Go to and click on the "Join SPAWN Now" button in the upper left corner of the page.

After you join, you'll be a full member and you'll receive the password for the private member area!

In this month's FEBRUARY 2008 Market Update:

  • Promotional clues that lie in unlikely places
  • Why you should never accept a publisher's 'no' as their final answer, and how to try again
  • Who's looking for your writing and publishing survival stories
  • The newly designed age-old publication you might not even recognize now
  • Who contacted SPAWN looking for authors to participate in their broadcast
  • Great sites for access to hundreds of magazines seeking art or photographs
  • Find out who's profiting from your review copies

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7 Reasons Why Your Novel Needs a Book Proposal

By Patricia L. Fry

Do you have a novel in the works or are you contemplating writing one? Wait! Before you finish that potential bestseller, you have a little business to take care of. You really must write a book proposal.

Why expend your precious energy writing a proposal for your amazing book? Many novelists resist writing a proposal because, well, it just isn’t a creative endeavor. Plus, they’ve been told that you don’t need one for a novel. One overzealous hopeful author told me this week that he wasn’t going to write a book proposal because his book is so good it will sell itself.

Why write a book proposal for a work of fiction? To read about the 7 reasons for writing a book proposal for your novel at

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Author as Indexer

By Madge Walls

It’s standard procedure these days for a publisher to require an author to provide the index for his nonfiction book. The author has two choices: create the index himself or hire a professional indexer.

Why would an author opt to do the job himself? Money, perhaps. Even if a publisher pays half the cost, it’s still money out of the author’s pocket. But why would an author take the time and trouble to write a great book and then leave the all-important index to an amateur just to avoid one last expense? As my mother used to say: “Penny wise and pound foolish.”

Read about what to consider when making this important decision at:

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Ask the Book Doctor: About Viewpoints, Word Choices, and Creating Anthologies

By Bobbie Christmas

Q: My story is written in the third person omniscient viewpoint, but there are a few characters with dialogue that appear in the story only a few times. Could you please explain briefly how viewpoint problems can be avoided in this situation?

A: Point of view (or viewpoint) is the vantage point from which a story or a piece of information is presented. POV simply refers to the person or thing that observes the action or thinks about it. Dialogue itself does not affect point of view, except in the case of internal dialogue. Watch the narrative near the dialogue, though. Some writers trip up when they tell what the speakers are thinking when they talk. The following example slips into the viewpoint of the speaker of the dialogue: "I’ll be leaving now," John said, thinking he wasn’t wanted.

If the dialogue simply shows what John said ("I’ll be leaving now," John said.) and doesn’t go into the narrative of what he’s thinking, the viewpoint is not compromised.

To read about these and other interesting topics, go to:

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Member News

Tugson Press is proud to announce the release of its second publication: SOUL-FULL, a book of poetry published by Tugson Press and author/owner Leo Shelton. It is a follow-up to his debut release, RHYTHMS – Poetry and Muse. Shelton passionately articulates a love affair of words, between two poets, that is both is deep, articulate and intense. It is a love affair of spiritual connections, with a profound respect and admiration for words and flow; an emotionally charged dialogue that resonates deep and true through the movements of words, and where the muse and counter is obvious and present but not physically representative. Another journey of emotions, through reflections, insights, and a dance and flow, that is both uniquely his but shared by the reader. Leo Shelton is an author, poet, writer, educator, scholar, and a self-proclaimed lifelong learner and student of life. For further information, contact Leo Shelton at 301-651-2563, via email at, or through the web site at

Member Sheila Clapkin announces an affiliation with San Diego Jewish World. You can see her postings, including "Pilgramage to Uman: Searching for absolution at Rabbi Nachman’s grave" by going to

Leon Cooper, a veteran of the November 1943 battle for Tarawa, has been doing research for his book The War in the Pacific—A Retrospective and learned that garbage covers the beach where many of his comrades died. Learn more about his plans for a memorial by visiting Leon’s blogs at, and

Patricia Fry will present a 3-hour seminar called "Preparing a Killer Book Proposal" at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Saturday, March 29, 2008. The creator of the post-publication book proposal, Patricia will teach both published authors and unpublished authors how to write a book proposal that will result in success for their individual projects. Also there will be SPAWN member and Ask the Book Doctor columnist Bobbie Christmas, author of Write In Style, a triple-award-winning textbook on creative writing and owner of Zebra Communications, a book-editing firm based in metro Atlanta. In Bobbie’s seminar, “Write in Style and You Write to Win,” she will explain how to find ways to make your writing more creative and more marketable. Sign up at

Patricia Fry is now blogging daily. Check out her informative publishing blog at In addition, those of you who have received The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book (first edition) as your free book from SPAWN AND those who have purchased either the first or second edition of this book, can purchase the companion Author's Workbook for just $10.00. Go to and click on the last ordering option.

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

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SPAWN is looking for a newsletter editor! Duties include compiling and editing articles, press releases and announcements for inclusion in the monthly edition of SPAWNews. You will also write a monthly editor’s note about the worlds of publishing, writing and art. Other duties include maintenance of the SPAWN member database, for which you will keep records of SPAWN members and send out monthly renewal notices. For more information, email

The Authors Show is broadcast on, and is accessible through our various out of state stations. Selected webisodes will be made available for broadcast through RSS video feed. Authors interested in participating must register at, and email a request for guest appearance. This request must include complete contact information, book title and a short paragraph introducing the book topic.

Jenkins Group and Combined Book Exhibit have teamed up to bring authors 21 incredible book display opportunities from around the world. Click the link to learn about all 21 shows including London Book Fair, Book Expo America, Book Expo Canada and fifteen library specific shows!

Call for Papers: All Trails Lead to Santa Fe: An Anthology. Historically, the theme of "All Trails Lead to Santa Fe" chronicles the historical evolution of how Santa Fe became the great southwestern city that it is. Metaphorically, "All Trails Lead to Santa Fe" is about connecting historical and cultural values from prehistoric to modern times with the many stories about the people whose lives shaped the epical history of Santa Fe. 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:

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

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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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